Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Germany increases support to Ghana by 60%

The German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development has made a commitment to Ghana of 130 million Euros (approximately GH¢275million ) for financial and technical cooperation for the period from 2009 to 2011. This new pledge represents an increase of more than 60%.

In making this increase, the German government is realising its aim of giving particular support to partner countries that succeed in practising good governance. The new commitment raises the total German development cooperation support to Ghana since independence to more than GH¢ 2400 million (1180 million Euro).

This was agreed at the governmental negotiations between the Republic of Ghana and the Federal Republic of Germany on 17 and 18 December 2009 in Bonn (Germany).
The intergovernmental dialogue highlighted the strong commitment of the Republic of Ghana to achieving the Millennium Development Goals and to promoting broad-based growth. The German delegation acknowledged the successes in reducing poverty as well as Ghana’s leading role in regional stability and democratisation. Both delegations stressed the importance of oil and gas for Ghana’s sustainable growth and the consideration of international best practice for the processes.

The Ghanaian-German bilateral development cooperation is based on Ghanaian strategies and implemented within the framework of the “Ghana - Joint Assistance Strategy”, signed by all principal development partners. In this context it was agreed to continue the German assistance in the existing focal areas of sustainable economic and financial development, agriculture and decentralization. Additionally, Germany scaled-up its commitment for direct budget support in the framework of the Multi Donor Budget Support (MDBS); new commitments were already made in September at 55 Million Euro (more that 130 Million Ghana Cedis) and reconfirmed at the negotiations.

At a meeting with the participants at the negotiations, Gudrun Kopp, the Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, emphasized: “We will continue to direct German-Ghanaian cooperation towards future-oriented areas. By strengthening market orientation and performance-based incentive systems, we will continue to contribute to sustainable economic growth that will benefit large sections of the population.”

SOURCE :Ruth Mensah- German Embassy,Accra

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

FBI in Ghana for investigations probe botched US plane attack

Agents of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation are in Ghana to find out about the sojourn in the country of a Nigerian man accused of trying to blow up a US airliner, a Ghanaian minister said Monday.

"The investigation will allow the FBI agents to gather more information on the suspect's stay in Ghana," Deputy Information Minister James Agyenin-Boateng told AFP.

He did not say when the FBI team arrived in Ghana and how long the agents plan to stay in the west African country.

It is Ghana's first known official comment on the allegations by Nigerian authorities that the suspect, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, 23, arrived in Lagos on December 24 on a Virgin Nigeria flight from Ghana.

Nigerian Information Minister Dora Akunyili had said on Thursday that the suspect, after arriving from Ghana, spent less than 30 minutes at the Lagos airport before boarding his next flight for Amsterdam.

Abdulmutallab allegedly bought the ticket for the bomb targeted flight in Ghana where his journey began.

The director general of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Harold Demuren, had explained on December 26 that Abdulmutallab "boarded KLM flight out of Lagos on the 24th December, enroute Detroit, Michigan, USA, via Amsterdam." "The e-ticket was purchased from the KLM airport office in Accra on 16th December 2009," he said.

The suspect personally checked in at 20:35 pm (1935 GMT) and he went "through a normal checking process. His passport was scanned, his US visa was scanned and the APIS (Advance Passenger Information System) returned with no objection," he said.

His multiple US entry visa, issued in London on June 16 last year, was not due to expire until June 12 next year, he added.

Agyenin-Boateng said Ghana was unhappy about not being informed of concerns about Abdulmutallab whose father had reported the young man's radical views to the United States and other foreign security agencies.

"Fighting terrorism is a collective responsibility of every country and it is therefore important that we share security information of this nature if we are to fight terrorism," Agyenin-Boateng said.

"If we have heard this information (given to the US embassy in Nigeria) from our Nigerian counterparts, the suspect would have been subjected to a more thorough screening," he said.

Nigeria and Ghana are both members of the 15-nation regional bloc, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

Agyenin-Boateng also said that Ghana has purchased a full body scanner to be installed at the Kotoka International Airport in Accra, the nation's biggest airport, where security has been beefed up.

"The scanner, when installed, would ensure that travellers go through full body scanning and find out if they are carrying any weapons or drugs," he said. US authorities have accused the Nigerian suspect of trying to trigger an explosion on a Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Detroit on Christmas Day with chemicals that had been stitched into his underwear. He is currently being held in a Michigan prison.

Washington said Monday stricter measures will be compulsory on flights from 14 nations, including Nigeria, while random "enhanced" checks will be carried out on all planes landing at a US airport.

All travellers from the targeted countries would be subjected to extra body pat-downs and advanced screening of baggage, a US official said. Imaging and explosive detection technology might also be used.

Source: AFP