- Ghana and United Kingdom (UK) yesterday signed an agreement under which UK will deliver a 250 million pounds grant to the east African country between 2008 and 2010.
Grant formed part of 10-year partnership arrangement which resulted from discussions between president John Agyekum Kufuor and British prime minister, Gordon Brown, during Mr Kufuor's recent visit to UK.
Ghanaian minister of finance and economic planning, Kwadwo Baah Wiredu and UK secretary of state for international development, Douglas Alexander sealed deal for their respective countries.
This was at the on-going third high-level forum (HLF3) on aid effectiveness in Accra.
According to Mr Baah Wiredu, 250 million pounds assistance may take form of financial aid, high quality technical cooperation for capacity development, support through international organizations or civil society organizations and other innovative forms of development assistance to Ghana.
"At least 95 per cent of this assistance will be directly aligned to and in support of government budget," he said.
The finance minister stated that it was good news for Ghana as it meant that 95 percent of amount would be untied aid and could therefore be applied into sectors of government's own choice, without usual unfavourable donor conditions.
Mr Baah Wiredu acknowledged that uniqueness of UK's assistance to Ghana was that it provided only grants with multi-year disbursement, adding that 80 per cent of such grants were channelled through budget under multi-donor budget support (MDBS) mechanism, which committed donors to align aid flows to Ghana poverty reduction strategy (GPRS).
"UK championed MDBS during its inception and showed its commitment to it by providing Ghana with 110 million pounds between 2003 and 2006 and an additional 120 million pounds from 2006 to 2008," he said.
He further noted that UK was Ghana's biggest development partner in terms of volume and spread of assistance across various sectors of economy.
He added that main thrust of UK's assistance to Ghana had been poverty reduction and achievement of MDG's, which was in line with principles of Paris declaration on aid effectiveness.
He assured UK that Ghana would continue to pursue prudent macro-economic policies, ensure sound financial management, increase transparency and public accountability, provide good governance and respect for human rights.
"I can also assure you of peaceful, free and fair elections this year," he said.
Mr Alexander praised Ghana for prudent management of economy, adding that was attraction for increased aid from UK to Ghana.
"We believe we have a credible development partner in present government and for that we will only keep increasing our aid to Ghana," he said.
On issue of donors focusing mostly on sectors like education and health, Mr Alexander noted that rationale for that was human capacity building, education and health were major channels for achieving that purpose.
"However we believe that as we focus on those two areas, it would free your own national resources, which could be invested in other equally important sectors," he said.
He expressed hope that discovery of oil and gas would offer exciting prospects and bright future in terms of opportunities and better living standards for people of Ghana.
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