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Opinions of Thursday, 9 February 2012

Columnist: Abdul-Razak, Issah

Millennium Challenge Account, the Hard work of Ndoum

The Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) was proposed by President George Bush in 2002 as a new compact to channel development assistance to developing countries. The goal of the Millennium Challenge Account is “poverty reduction through growth”.

Unlike other traditional development assistance programmes where the donor proposes how funds are used, countries selected under the Millennium Challenge Account allows developing countries like Ghana to take ownership and responsibility for funds provided by the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC).

Countries are selected for the program based on three fundamental principles. Happily the principles are the priority areas in the Ghana’s Growth & Poverty Reduction Strategy:

* Governing justly;

* Investing in people; and

* Encouraging economic freedom.

As a result of the technical and managerial leadership Dr. Nduom provided to the Ghana MCA Project Team, the Compact was signed on August 1, 2006 at an impressive ceremony at the State Department in Washington, DC and is worth $547,009,000. It is strong testimony to the mutual respect and great relationship between the government and people of Ghana on the one hand, and the government and the people of the United States of America on the other.

This great relationship goes back several years. Over forty years ago, President Dwight Eisenhower and our first President Kwame Nkrumah signed the agreement that made possible, the Volta River Project. It is this project that gave birth to the Akosombo Hydroelectric Dam that formed the basis for production of aluminium in Ghana.

The funds from the Compact between the Government of Ghana and the Millennium Challenge Corporation are being used to help reduce poverty by transforming our rural economy through the modernization of agriculture. The agriculture project will include the improvement of social infrastructure in three specific agricultural areas in Ghana: the Southern Horticultural Area, the Afram Basin and the Northern Agricultural Belt. Twenty-three (23) districts are included in the project. More than 1000 kilometers of feeder roads and trunk roads in the participating districts areas will be rehabilitated and improved.

Economic analysis shows that the proposed MCA program will have a strong impact on the economy. Apart from increasing the incomes of rural food crop farmers and their families, the net contribution to the economy annually is expected to be about $160 million in today’s prices. Employment will be created for over 700,000 people including farmers, farm-workers, employees and entrepreneurs in the supplying industries. In all more than two (2) million people will benefit directly from the Compact.

In terms of poverty, it is expected that the program will reduce the incidence of poverty by about 5 percentage points over the first ten years from the beginning of the programme. Over the first ten years, more that one million people will move out of poverty.

Through an Act of Parliament, the Millennium Development Authority (MiDA) has been put in place to be responsible for the supervision, management and implementation of the Compact. MiDA has a Board of Directors and a Chief Executive who will report to the Board and be responsible for the day to day administration of the Authority and a team of Directors who will be responsible for the various units that make up the Authority. The entity will use the Public Private Partnership concept as a vehicle for development so that the end result will be the promotion of growth through the private sector.

Dr. Nduom has the responsibility as Chairman of the MiDA Board to ensure that goals and objectives of the Ghana MCA program are met. Dr. Nduom made and broke new grounds once again by initiating and hosting the first meeting of MCA eligible countries in Africa in Accra on June 11-12 2007 to promote country ownership and accountability. He did this to promote the idea that African countries will not gain much from the MCA initiative if they do not take control over the programs through their own transparent and diligent technical expertise and management.

He personally include the Mallam Tetteh Quashi road project into the compact so as to link pineapple farmers in the central region to the Kotoka International Airport All these goes to show who Dr Paa Kwesi Ndoum is and the calibre of person he is,a true servant of the State. Long live Paa Kwesi Ndoum,long live Progressive Peoples Party and Long live our dear nation Ghana.

Issah Abdul-Razak