Business News of Sunday, 22 July 2001

Source: Ghana Cyber Group

Ayittey Delivers For Ghana Cyber Group

While in New York for President Kufuor's visit, Dr. George Ayittey, Distinguished Professor of Economics at American University in Washington and Free Africa Foundation, spoke to the director of J.M. Kaplan Fund about Ghana Cyber Group and its plan to invest in Ghana. Mary Kaplan, the Director of New York-based Kaplan Fund, a grant-providing foundation, is very much impressed with what GCG seeks to do. GCG has opened bank accounts in Accra, Johannesburg, South Africa and Michigan, USA, as part of its project of building a $1 million investment fund to invest in Ghana.

Mary Kaplan has promised that her foundation (the Kaplan Fund) will match the first $50,000 that GCG raises in funds for a specific project. In other words, if GCG raised $5,000, the Kaplan Fund will add another $50,000 for a total of $100,000. And if that project is successful and GCG raises $100,000 for its next project, the Kaplan Fund will match it with another $100,000 for a total of $200,000.

Thus, for a project estimated to cost $100,000, all GCG has to do is to raise $50,000 and the Kaplan Fund will provide the rest. Similarly for a $200,000 project.

The J.M. Kaplan Fund (New York) had assets of $99.6 Million and made grants totaling $5.1 Million in the year ending December 31, 1995. Dr. Ayittey is yet to work out the details with J.K. Kaplan, including:

1. How the money is to be routed.

2. What type of "Projects" they will be willing to support with matching funds. When Dr. Ayittey spoke with her, she was thinking of SIMPLE projects that directly benefit the people; that have maximum impact on the local community. In fact, she mentioned ADOBE -- refined MUD bricks that are used to build houses in New Mexico. She asked: "Why doesn't GCG send some investigators to find our how homes are built in Ghana, design a modern home from local building materials, such as adobe, which is used in New Mexico?"

Ms. Kaplan said the project must be "specific," with a clearly defined goal; must have a timeline (how much is to be raised by say October 2001), must have a "feasibility plan," etc. etc.

Dr. Ayittey is scheduled to leave the United States for Ghana on August 2, to try and identify some potential projects for GCG. Mary Kaplan got very excited and is providing the Free Africa Foundation with a $15,000 grant. Upon receipt, Dr. Ayittey plans to wire $1,000 of this grant to GCG as "seed money" from the Free Africa Foundation.