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Ghana receives €44.7 million grant to build irrigation infrastructure in northern Ghana



Ghana has received a €44.7 million grant as part of the Agriculture Water Management Project (AWMP) to build and rehabilitate a total of 35 irrigation schemes in northern Ghana.

The project would support the expansion of irrigated agriculture in northern Ghana, covering 11 districts in the Upper West Region, and one district in the North East Region.

It would be implemented by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) and the Ghana Irrigation Development Authority (GIDA) to stimulate green and inclusive growth, reduce inequalities and improve Ghana’s food security.

It is being funded by the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) and the European Union (EU)

The agreement was signed by Ken Ofori-Atta, the Minister of Finance, on behalf of the Government, Mr Christophe Cottet, Country Director for AFD and co-signed by Ms Jutta Urpilainen, the European Commissioner for International Partnerships.

Madam Anne-Sophie Ave’, the French Ambassador to Ghana, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, the Minister of Agriculture and Mr Irchad Razaaly, the EU Ambassador to Ghana all witnessed the signing.

Mr Ofori-Atta, who commended all the partners, said the project would support the expansion of irrigated agriculture in northern Ghana, covering 11 Districts in the Upper West Region, and one District in the North East Region.

He said the project was consistent with the government’s priorities as it addressed the key issues faced by smallholder farmers and farming systems in the Northern Region.

“The AWMP programme dovetails perfectly into our Planting-For-Food and Jobs Programme as it would help address food insecurity issues and improve the income of farmers and promote poverty eradication,” the Minister said.

Mr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, Minister of Food and Agriculture, said the project would help develop the untapped irrigation potential in Northern Ghana

He said the construction of the 35 small irrigation schemes would cover an area of 1,000 hectares, adding that 15 irrigation schemes would be fed from earth dams, nine schemes fed by pumping from Black Volta River and 11 schemes fed by pumping from holes.

Ms Jutta Urpilainen, the European Union Commissioner for Internal Partnerships, reiterated the EU’s commitment to supporting Ghana’s agriculture sector.

She said the sector was essential for the country’s economic development that would boost socio-economic development and stability of regions in northern Ghana.

She said the project was an ambitious and important investment that would support smallholder farmers to make their yields more predictable and increase their income.

Madam Anne Sophie Ave’, the Ambassador of France to Ghana, said, investing in agriculture was investing in the future.

She said the project aimed at planting for peace and security and planting for sustainability and it would enable better jobs and revenues, environment-friendly agriculture, all-year-round production and ensure food provision for all.

“The construction of irrigation systems is essential to increase yields in the targeted regions of Upper West, Savannah and North East Regions,” she added.

The project will provide an additional and reliable source of income for more than 6000 smallholder farmers, who currently rely on unpredictable rain-fed agriculture and are increasingly exposed to extreme climatic events such as droughts and floods.

Signatories of the Project have agreed to join forces to support irrigation in northern Ghana, where 85 per cent of the population makes a living from agriculture.

In all the European Union is committing €39,7 million and the French is committing €5 million, which would be managed by AFD with the MoFA and GIDA as implementing partners. 

The projects will finance the rehabilitation and construction of 15 dams, 11 boreholes and 9 pumping stations on the Black Volta River and their associated 1300 hectares of irrigated perimeters. 

It will accompany farmers to move from rain-fed to irrigated agriculture, support the Water Users Associations to run the irrigation scheme and build GIDA’s capacity to supervise these schemes.

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Akufo-Addo urges African countries to work together and fully utilise AfCFTA



President Nana Akufo-Addo has urged African countries to integrate more closely through competitive business, political cooperation, and investment to establish an African Beyond Aid agenda. According to him, African countries should make the most of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) by adding value to their resources before exporting them, in order to accrue more revenue.

Speaking at the Academy of African Business and Development’s 22nd Annual Conference, President Akufo Addo said African economies can be transformed through value added industrialisation.

“African countries need to work more closely, deeply and competitively through trade to enhance initiatives. Together, we need to build our continent and hold each other up.”

“That’s the only way we can grow organically”, he added.

He also called on African countries to double their efforts to develop in a sustainable manner and take responsibility for its sustainable growth.

He claimed that while Africa was the richest continent in the planet, the vast majority of its people were the poorest.

The president commended the University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA), through the agency of OPSA for hosting the annual Academy of African Business and Development conference.

Simon Sigue, President of the Academy of African Business and Development, argued that Africa’s intra-trade activity should be expanded to improve economies.

“Africa’s economy is growing. When you look at it you could see, but we need to have a connection to build each other together”, he stated

The AABD annual conferences aim at facilitating multi-disciplinary research by stimulating collaborations between Africa based researchers and professionals and their counterparts around the world.

This is done by broadening and deepening global understanding of various issues relevant to Africa’s business and development, as well as advancing solutions to some of her challenges.

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Businesses should reduce cost, not cut cost – Financial expert



Managing Partner of Trust Consult, Charles Mensah, says businesses should be engaged in cost reduction against cost cutting.

According to him, cost reduction is finding innovative solutions to doing business during the current economic downturn.

“So you’re going to look at the innovative way of delivering certain service that you’re providing, innovative ways of doing things. So this is time for us to start thinking the best way without affecting the quality of the things. Because it’s a phase we’ll pass, but if you rush and cut cost , by the time the phase is gone, it’ll be difficult for you to come back,” he said on JoyNews’ PM Express Business Edition.

He added that “I think most companies have started negotiating with their employees to have a freeze on salary increase, and then also accruing the expenses and telling them that we don’t have cash but we recognize the expenditure so when the cash flow improves they’ll pay.

“I know some companies that have taken some restrictive measures where they’re paying only 50% of their salary now, and they’re accruing the next 50 for future when things improve.”

He thus cautioned employers to hasten slowly in taking certain decisions that may poorly affect their businesses when the economic downturn finally passes.

“Because as we speak right now, if you rush to cut cost and things improve it will be difficult for you to turn on the machine. Because once the machine is in motion you don’t rush to take certain decisions. It’s a reasonable period for you to have a discussion with your employees, for you to have a discussion with suppliers and then your customers. So there’s a bit of negotiation as we speak,” he said. 

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Restore benchmark value, extend tax amnesty – Dr. Ayim-Darke to government



The President of the Association of Ghana Indsutries, Dr. Humphrey Ayim-Darke, has suggested some four measures the government could employ to reduce the financial constraint on business as they battle the current economic downturn.

According to him, businesses are suffering and it is up to the government to take drastic measures to see to it that businesses survive this phase in Ghana’s economic history.

Speaking on JoyNews’ PM Express Business Edition, he among other things called for the restoration of the benchmark value as well as an extension of the tax amnesty which is supposed to end in June of this year.

He said, “One, restore the benchmark value as we requested … a number of issues have led to this.  

“Two, the raw material bit that industry is using let us discount it zero for industries to import and increase productivity. Granted that this inflation is being driven by productivity we’ll not find ourselves in this space.

“Thirdly, I said peg the exchange rate at the port, instead of every two weeks possibly start with a quarter and let’s see the effect.

“Fourthly, the tax amnesty that government granted industry and the economy kindly extend it, you know it was extended to June, we pray that within the difficulty we are battling with our taxes, Mr. Minister please extend the tax amnesty possibly for a year so that we can get a breather to readjust and plow in some of the funds back into the system.”

He believes these measures if implemented would allow businesses thrive and bounce back better in the near future.

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