USAID hopes to improve capacity building in democracy and governance, economy, health, education and agriculture, Mr David Atteberry, Deputy Mission Director of the USAID-Ghana said this known when he led a four-member team to call on the Western Regional Minister, Mr Paul Evans Aidoo.
The team was on a fact finding mission to explore areas to provide support, especially with the oil and gas exploration in the region.
Mr Atteberry said the enabling environment in the country had encouraged USAID to continue expanding its assistance to the nation, recalling that in 2009 Ghana enjoyed approximately 147 million dollars assistance from the USAID representing 100 percent increase over 2008.
He said “with a vision to empower Ghanaians through partnership to build a prosperous nation, the USAID is supporting Ghana to strengthen local governance, expand trade opportunities, improve basic health care, to enhance access to and completion of quality basic education as well as increase food security to benefit all Ghanaians”.
In the area of democracy and governance in the region, the USAID has made an estimated budget of nine million dollars to focus on building the capacity of local government to plan, budget, and implement activities effectively to enable them to deliver improved services to the their citizens.
He said to ensure economic growth USAID is investing about 10 million dollars to help address depletion of fish stock along the western coast to promote community participation in managing and conserving coastal resources.
It also aims at increasing social and economic benefits to over 150 fishing communities, he said, adding “the programme also aims at attracting petroleum industry investment to create alternative livelihood besides fishing which conflicts with drilling operations”.
In health, its intervention emphasizes malaria control and prevention, family planning, improving access to quality and use of maternal and child care as well as education on HIV/AIDS.
The project would support communities in the region to prepare for and maximize benefits with their manageable interest and reduce risks associated with oil, gas and other extractive industries.
Mr Atteberry said to enhance quality education in the region, USAID plans to build the capacity of the districts to manage the schools and mentioned Sefwi-Wiawso, Amenfi East, Amenfi West, Aowin-Suaman, Bia, Juaboso, Sefwi Akontomra and Mpohor-Wassa East as districts that would serve as pilot districts for the project.
Nationwide, Mr Atteberry said, USAID is partnering MTN to connect all Senior High Schools in the country to the internet to enhance the information technology among students while it intends building 250 schools throughout the country.
The Regional Minister, Mr Aidoo, lauded the move by the USAID to focus its developmental activities in the region and expressed regret that despite the region’s rich natural resources it had been neglected over the years.