The UK’s International Development Secretary, Andrew Mitchell threatens to impose further aid ‘fines’ against Ghana and Uganda for hardline anti-gay and lesbian measures, the Daily Mail of the UK reported October 8, 2011.
According the Daily Mail, the policy was disclosed after Mr Cameron defended his decision to legalise gay weddings when he addressed last week’s Conservative Party conference. Cameron wants to persuade countries such as Ghana and Uganda where homosexuality is still a taboo to follow his lead – and he is ready to reduce aid to some of the world’s poorest people to do so, the report said.
Already the UK government has cut aid to Malawi by £19 million after two gay men were sentenced to 14 years hard labour.
During a visit to Ghana earlier this year, the publication said “Stephen O’Brien – Mr Mitchell’s deputy – told President John Evans Atta Mills that Britain would cut its aid unless he stopped persecuting gays.”
Due to this, the UK has decided to allocate funds to the country every three months instead of every year. The Daily Mail cited a spokesman for Mr Mitchell saying “The Government is committed to combating violence and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in all circumstances, in this country and abroad. We take action where we have concerns…We now allocate funds every three months, rather than every year, so that we can review a country’s performance, for example on human rights, and take swift action when governments fall short. We only provide aid directly to governments when we are satisfied that they share our commitments to reduce poverty and respect human rights.”
It is on record that President Mills has publicly condemned the act of homosexuality.
The Western Regional Minister Mr Paul Evans Aidoo called for the arrest of all homosexuals in the region.
Civil society groups such as the Ghana Christian Council and Muslim groups have also condemned the act.
The UK government has disclosed its intention to increase its development assistance to Ghana in the next four years (2011-2015) to an amount of £375 million, according to a fact-sheet made available to journalists during a Media Open Day at the British High Commission in Accra March 29, 2011.
The aid will be focused on education, economic growth, health and governance as well as other relevant sectors of the economy, said Sally Taylor, Department for International Development (DFID) Country Director.
The fact-sheet indicates that between 2011/2012, aid from UK to Ghana will be £85 million, 2012/2013 Ghana will receive £90 million and 2013-2014 it will receive £100 million.
Between 2014-2015, the sheet says Ghana shall get £100 million assistance from the UK all totalling up to £375 million.
Danny Graymone, DFID Deputy Country Director, told ghanabusinessnews.com that the increase in assistance to Ghana by the UK government will create 144,000 new jobs.
Between 2009-2010, UK aid to Ghana was £89.9 million.
Ton Crowards, an official at DFID, said the agency wants to attract a £15 million private sector investment to the North through the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) by 2015 to bridge the gap between the North and the South.
Bilateral trade between the two countries was £579 million in 2010.
The UK government gives Ghana £36 million as support to the country’s budget.
By Ekow Quandzie