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Ghana, UNIDO sign MOU to boost industrial drive

The government and the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) on Friday signed a new country programme (CP) to boost Ghana’s industrialisation drive.

The four-year programme (2019-2022) expected to be implemented alongside the West African Competitiveness Programme (WACP) of the European Union (EU), would leverage on value addition and private sector partnerships to create jobs as well as increase the country’s competitiveness on the international market.

Estimated at the cost of 35 million Euros, both projects are anchored on agribusiness through the development of value chains and market access, increase in investments and industrial productivity, improve competitiveness of medium and small scale enterprises and promote quality and safety of produce for export.

The Director General of UNIDO, Li Yong, EU Ambassador to Ghana, Ms Diana Acconcia and Minister for Trade and Industry, Alan Kwadwo Kyeremanten signed the agreements at a brief ceremony in Accra on Friday.

Mr Kyeremanten in a remark alluded to the timeliness of the CP in addressing the daunting challenge of unemployment in the country, saying that inclusive and sustainable job creation could only be achieved through “an aggressive industrialisation agenda” which the government was determined to follow through to the latter.

The Minister expressed optimism that the implementation of a single trade market for Africa would be a major boost for industrialisation on the continent and promote inclusive prosperity.

“As of now, about 21 countries have ratified the agreement and hopefully by June this year we expect the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) to come into full force. This means that countries like Ghana who appreciate the value of industrialisation and are ready will have the advantage to do so and we are happy that the country’s framework to create jobs and push industrialisation comes at a time like this,” he stated.

Expressing appreciation to the delegation, Mr Kyeremanten made reference to previous support received from the EU and UNIDO under similar arrangement noting that, “this new one in line with government’s 10-point industrialisation agenda will help us integrate more into the global market depending on the value chains and inure to inclusive prosperity.”

The Director General of UNIDO, Li Yong, expressed the hope that Ghana would increase its competitiveness on the global market through the CP and improve its economic performance.

He commended the government for embarking on a rigorous industrialisation agenda indicating that “countries that have developed have done so through industrialisation.”

Mr Yong, however, cautioned that the right and innovative strategies were put in place to achieve desired results in the sector in line with Goal Nine of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“We are going to look at each industry and place values on each of them whether cocoa, cassava, shea butter etc. Small and medium enterprise jobs would be created and training of human resource will be critical,” he noted.

Ms Acconcia who was impressed with the job creation agenda of the government in line with building a “Ghana beyond aid” said “this project is a concrete possibility for industries to become a competitor and to be an exporter to the world and foremost, to create good and sustainable jobs for the young people and women in Ghana.”

 She observed that Ghana still had the advantage through the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) to access EU markets but exporters must ensure they work within best standards and practices.

By Abigail Annoh

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