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General News of Friday, 3 May 2002


President Kufuor appeals for more IMF assistance

President John Agyekum Kufuor on Thursday appealed to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to continue its assistance to Ghana, to enable it show the right way for development in the West Africa Sub-region. He said Ghana was destined to become the gateway to the sub-region, and his government was determined to accelerate economic growth.

President Kufuor welcoming Mr. Horst Kohler, Managing Director of the IMF accompanied by his wife, Eva and a seven-member delegation to the Castle, Osu, said the visit to Ghana by the IMF delegation would be a landmark one because" most Ghanaians had perceived the IMF as a remote institution, which had no human feelings.

“But with the presence of Mr. Kohler and the delegation in the country, the people would now realise that it has a human face." Mr. Kohler, who arrived in Ghana on Thursday from Burkina Faso, is on the last leg of his tour of five African countries. The delegation has already visited the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania and Cote D'Ivoire.

He expressed appreciation to the IMF for its goodwill towards the government, especially, last year, when it opted for the HIPC Initiative and for its assistance for Ghana to reach the decision point within a year.

Mr. Kohler said the IMF took into consideration the interest of member countries when offering assistance. He said sometime last year in Mali, discussions he had with President Kufuor created the impression on his (Kohler's) mind about the required assistance to Ghana and Africa. Mr. Kohler would participate in the inauguration and first meeting of the Ghana Investors' Advisory Council (GIAC) to be held in Accra from 2 to 3 May.

The council, a small, high level and informal advisory group, which would be chaired by President Kufuor, would comprise other top level corporate executives who would have the duty to increase understanding between the government and companies driving investments.

It would include a 26-member group of top-level executives of foreign and Ghanaian businesses such as CMS Energy Company, Ecobank, Heineken, Ashanti Goldfields and individuals from the private sector.

The idea of an advisory council was mooted by Mr. Kohler and the World Bank Managing Director, Mr. James Wolfensen following a meeting with President Kufuor in Mali, last year. The council, which will be an ongoing process with two-year commitments of participation from members, will always convene once or twice a year for a day's meeting.