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General News of Monday, 20 June 2011

Source: GNA

USAID, World Bank pledge US$100 million for agriculture

Accra, June 20, GNA - The Office of the Vice President on Monday explained that the US Agency for International Development (USAID) commitment to the Savanna Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) amounted to US$60 million and would focus on the development of commercial agriculture in the SADA regions.

A statement signed by John Abdulai Jinapor, Spokesperson for the Vice President said the USAID and World Bank confirmed a total of US$100 million in commitments to financing agricultural expansion during a meeting with Vice President John Mahama. US$40million of the amount will be dedicated to the Accra Plains Irrigation Project. While apologizing for the mix-up in the figures, Mr Jinapor noted that government expected the support for the agriculture sector, especially in the SADA regions, to help boost the planned focus on agribusiness in the area.

The Vice President noted during the meeting that the success of government's SADA initiative could see a reversal of the current rural-ur= ban migration in favour of the northern regions of Ghana. In a meeting with the Administrator of USAID, Dr Rajiv Shah, in Washington DC, Mr Mahama explained that SADA was aimed at positioning the Savanna regions of Ghana as potential investment destinations by improving on infrastructure and offering other incentives necessary for business growth. On the financing of some major roads described as the 93gang of four= ", the statement explained that the World Bank had agreed to government's pl= ans to prioritize its infrastructural projects and will be sending a team this week to discuss financing options for the Legon- Adenta; Achimota- Ofankor; Nsawam bypass-Apedwa; and Kumasi Sofoline road projects. The Vice President of the Africa Region of the World Bank, Oby Ezekwesili, expressed the willingness of the Bank to work with the Government of Ghana to raise the required amount of between US$250million and US$350million to complete the projects. The statement explained that the $400million mentioned in media report= s was in reference to funds already committed to the Transport Sector Improvement Project. Oby Ezekwesili requested the assistance of the Vice President to speed up disbursements under the project.