The $498.2 million secured from the Millennium Challenge Corporation of the United States of America will mark a positive turn-around in the country’s power generation and distribution mix, the President, John Mahama, has said.
He noted that the multi-million dollar investment from private American and global energy firms which the power compact was expected to catalyse, would help position Ghana as an efficient producer of power on the African continent.
President Mahama said this when the out-going US Ambassador to Ghana, Gene Cretz, called on him at the Flagstaff House, Accra, yesterday, to bid farewell after a three-year duty tour in Ghana.
The five-year Ghana Power Compact, which was signed on August 5 last year during the US-Africa Leaders’ Summit in Washington, D.C., would address challenges in distribution, generation and access to energy in Ghana.
Ghana is to invest $37.4million of its own funds in the initiative making the compact a total investment of up to $535.6million.
More importantly, the power compact is expected to catalyse more than $4 billion in private energy investment and activity from American and global energy firms in the coming years.
One such intended investment is General Electric’s plans to construct a 1,000MW thermal power plant in Ghana.
President Mahama said that the signing of an agreement with the project consultant, IFC, signaled a significant step towards achieving the objectives of the MCC power compact.
He welcomed President Obama’s ‘Power Africa’ initiative to increase Africa’s electricity generation.
“We in Ghana know more probably than anybody else that what effects the shortage of power can create in terms of economic growth,” he said, adding that the government was working with several American firms to position Ghana as an efficient power producer.
Mr. Mahama lauded the American government for its tremendous support in fighting the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, especially the deployment of 3,000 troops in Liberia which helped that country to record a zero outbreak of the epidemic.
He described the support as one of the best international collaborations, saying that it would go down in history as a good example in joint efforts in fighting diseases and epidemic.
He also commended Mr. Cretz for the support he received from him during his tenure as Chair of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS, especially the consultations on security challenges of the sub-region.
President Mahama described the relationship between Ghana and America as solid, as it was based on shared values, expressing the hope that the two countries would be able to build on the legacy left by the out-going envoy to bring relations even closer.
The President urged the envoy to be an advocate of Ghana concerning the renewal of the African Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA) in September, to enable Ghanaian exporters to take advantage of the US market.
“We want to take new dimensions of AGOA and see how we can increase Ghanaian exports into the United States and take better advantage of the opportunities that are provided,” he stressed.
On his part, Mr. Cretz noted that his three-year stint in the country enabled him to work together with government functionaries in several fields including education, health and military cooperation.
He disclosed that his outfit had just signed a five-year $71 million agreement with the Ministry of Education towards early childhood development programmes in the country.
“We have not only changed many Ghanaian lives but we have saved many,” said Mr. Cretz and intimated that his time in Ghana had been satisfying and gratifying.
“I and my wife will always have positive memories of Ghana,” he said.
By Samuel Nuamah