Mr William Hanna, the European Union (EU) Ambassador to Ghana, has said the EU is committed to supporting Ghana in her development agenda.
He said the EU’s new focus was in line with the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Agenda.
Mr Hanna was addressing heads and diplomats of EU member states in Accra at a reception as part of activities marking “Europe Day” in Ghana.
He said over the past year, the EU had prepared new grant programmes in key areas of the country which include social protection, employment and skills development to support job creation through small and medium enterprises and to protect the most vulnerable in Ghana.
“We also started new programmes in the area of anti-corruption, rule of law, accountability and support to the election process, and this year, together with the Government of Ghana, we will conclude the preparation of a large programme to support infrastructure investments for agriculture in the north of Ghana,’’ he said.
Mr Hanna said the EU would provide new funding for local economic development by the local authorities and civil society organisations.
He said the co-operation between Ghana and the EU was moving towards a stronger focus on trade, investment and private sector support because of Ghana’s new status as a lower middle income country.
“Europe is Ghana’s main export destination. In 2014, 35 per cent of all Ghanaian exports, worth EUR 2.5 billion, went to the European market, creating many jobs and sources of income for the Ghanaian economy,” he said.
Mr Rashid Pelpuo, the Minister of State at the Office of the President in charge of Private Sector Development and Public Private Partnership, acknowledged the EU’s role as Ghana’s largest multilateral development and trade partner.
He said currently about half of all Official Development Assistance received by Ghana was financed by the European Union and its key partners.
Mr Pelpuo said Ghana was committed to the development co-operation with the EU towards the achievement of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and would not relent in her efforts to implement programmes to impact the lives of Ghanaians.
The partnership between Ghana and the European Union is 40 years old. It is a partnership which has been evolving over the years with impact on the lives of many Ghanaians through projects focusing on safe water and health services at the local level among other things.