UK to help Ghana tackle economic challenges – Envoy

seth-terkper1British High Commissioner to Ghana, Mr Jon Benjamin says his country is ready to work constructively with the Government of Ghana to tackle current economic challenges.

According to him, Britain is recovering from economic challenges and has relevant experience to share with Ghana.

Mr Benjamin, who presented his Letters of Credence to President John Dramani Mahama on June 18, was speaking at a ceremony to celebrate the official birthday of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, which falls on June 19. This year, Her Majesty celebrates 62 years since acceding to the throne.

He said assistance to be offered by Britain to address the current economic challenges would depend on programmes and policies presented by the Government of Ghana.

Mr Benjamin stated that “the United Kingdom’s overseas development programme in Ghana, delivered under the auspices of our Department for International Development, remains substantial and highly regarded for the real benefits it brings, in closing development gaps in health and education, building better systems of governance with greater accountability, and supporting vulnerable women and children.

“Our support includes finding ways to bring new private investment to Ghana to support new power plants and commercial agriculture, working with buyers and processors so that agricultural markets work better for poor farmers.

“The United Kingdom is proud of its commitment to help Ghana close the development gap; to support Ghana’s growth and help the private sector thrive as the main motor for creating more jobs and higher incomes for Ghanaians. It is our long-term ambition to help Ghana reach a point of development and prosperity that means it no longer needs financial flows from donors,” he said.

On flourishing commercial relations, Mr Benjamin said Ghana is the UK’s third largest market in Sub-Sahara Africa, and British companies winning important contracts, such as Tullow’s involvement in the TEN oil project and Lonrho’s in Atuabo Freeport, should create real opportunities to stimulate growth in Ghana’s SME sector, create jobs for Ghanaians and help develop Ghana’s potential as an oil and gas hub for West Africa while supporting communities in the Western Region and elsewhere that are at the centre of these developments.

He explained that for such projects to succeed, it is vital that the investment climate remains attractive, even in a temporarily very difficult macro-economic period, in the interests of Ghana as well as the UK.

He added that foreign investment and freer trade bring with them new jobs, skills, infrastructure and technology, and so contribute to development.

The British High Commissioner stated that UK companies were ready to work with local partners and government on shared initiatives such as our Business Club of Excellence, which promotes the UK’s high standards of doing business, complementing the Government of Ghana’s own commitment to tackle corruption.

“We share the same universal values of democracy, human rights and an open society. We have stood together during times of conflict; we stand together during times of peace. So much of our culture, and our humour, are shared; there are so many writers, artists, musicians who in every sense are both British and Ghanaian.

“Our bilateral relationship is, at its heart, about individual people and the contribution they each make,” he said.

Mr Benjamin highlighted the strong relationship that binds the UK and Ghana.

He stressed the fact that he is highly honoured to be entrusted with the role as the British High Commissioner to Ghana, and added that he is looking forward to further strengthening the many ties that bind the United Kingdom and Ghana.

“United Kingdom and Ghana are weaker when we are apart, stronger when we are together. It is an honour to be entrusted as the British High Commissioner to Ghana and I look forward to further strengthening our so valuable relationship.”

He paid glowing tribute to Rosalind Nana Emela KAINYAH, Founder and Director of Kina Advisory Limited, who has been awarded an MBE by Queen Elizabeth.

Outgoing Lands and Natural Resources, Minister Alhaji Inusah Fuseini expressed the hope that Mr Benjamin would consolidate the gains made.

He said the two countries exchange views through high-level visits and this reflects in the common positions taken at international fora and would continue to collaborate.

He said UK remains Ghana’s key bilateral partner, and expressed appreciation to the UK’s contributions to the multilateral donor budgetary support.

Alhaji Fuseini was grateful to the UK for proving €105 million to make education accessible to all by 2015.

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