Ghana has been given the nod to chair the African-Asian Rural Development Organisation (AARDO) for the year 2021-2023 and for the extended year 2024.
AARDO, a non-political body was set up to promote co-ordinated efforts, exchange of experiences and co-operative action for furthering the objectives of development of the rural areas and also promote collaboration with various international organisations for the economic and social welfare of such areas.
The Minister of Local Government, Decentralisation and Rural Development, Daniel Botwe, would therefore preside over the organisation during the period.
The Minister was unanimously endorsed during the 20th general session of the AARDO Conference and 73rd and 74th sessions of the Executive Committee held virtually in Ghana.
Opening the session on behalf of Mr Botwe, Deputy Minister of Local Government, Rural Development and Decentralisation, Augustine Ntim, said the outbreak of the pandemic has thrown the spotlight on robust rural development strategies especially for developing countries.
He reiterated the need for member countries to intensify collaboration to be able to build resilient and supportive economies.
Since joining AARDO in 1965, he noted that Ghana has benefitted enormously and consistently in the area of capacity building for public sector officials through a wide range of training programmes and master’s degree programmes under AARDO sponsorship.
Additionally, AARDO, he said, has supported rural development strategies throughout the past decades through the decentralised structures of our governance system and covered direct financing of projects.
Further to that, AARDO through the Ministry of Local Government, Decentralisation and Rural Development has over the years provided funds for micro financing of rural enterprises in selected districts in Ghana.
“The objective is to promote new initiatives to strengthen local capacities, entrepreneurial skills and generate employment and incomes as key ingredients to poverty reduction and sustainable rural development,” Mr Ntim added.
As part of efforts to promote rural development, food security and job creation, he said the government introduced farming initiatives including the Planting for Food and Jobs, Planting for Export and Rural Development, Rearing for Food and Jobs and the One District One Warehouse system.
These programmes, the Deputy Minister said, was an entrepreneurial drive to modernise agriculture and to position it as a tool for rural development.
Ghana, he said, was ready to support neighbouring countries, by sharing the gains made and challenges faced in the modernisation of agriculture as well as efforts to improve yields, agriculture value chain and agribusiness on the whole.
“We are committed to assist member countries who are looking to invest in the value addition and agribusiness in Ghana and providing technical support in the improvement of agriculture in their respective countries,” he stated.
The Head of the Office of the Local Government Service, Dr Nana Ato Arthur, called on member countries to intensify partnership to ensure the objectives of AARDO in ensuring rural development would be realised.
BY CLAUDE NYARKO ADAMS
& CECILIA LAGBA