By Edmund Mingle
Wednesday, 06 February 2008
The Millennium Development Authority (MiDA) is committing over 106 million dollars from the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) to development projects throughout the country this year.
The projects include the construction of roads, extension of electricity to rural areas and building of infrastructure for agricultural development.
Martin Eson-Benjamin, Chief Executive Officer of MiDA, said this at a briefing at the International Press Centre on the progress of the implementation of projects under the MCA which is a foreign assistance pro-gramme developed by the United States government in 2004 to reduce poverty through sustainable growth in some developing countries.
He said since the beginning of the implementing year in 2007, the Authority has received 20.1million dollars for disbursement.
The MiDA has also signed various agreements with government, ministries, departments and agencies under whose authority the projects fall.
In Ghana’s MCA compact, the country is expected to receive 547 million dollars from the MCA during a five year implementation period to undertake private sector-led agribusiness development projects towards reducing poverty.
The interventions, which are designed to increase agricultural production and earning for farmers, are expected to help to directly alleviate over 230,000 Ghanaians from poverty as well as to enhance the livelihood of over a million people.
The overall economic return rate of the project is estimated at 20 per cent.
Mr Eson-Benjamin, said the projects are safeguarded against financial shocks because the funds have already been committed.
He said that although Ghana’s MCA compact focused on development of agriculture for poverty reduction, other sectors which complement agriculture such as road infrastructure and electricity as well as food storage facilities, have been included in the project.
The projects, are being undertaken in 23 districts in the North, Affram Basin and the southern sector, under which 230 kilometres of tarred road would be constructed in the Affram plains area and 950 kilometres of feeder roads in the north.
James Bednar, Country Director of the Millennium Challenge Corporation that is tasked with the administration of the MCA, commended Ghana for showing high level of ownership for the MCA programme.
He said such commitment would ensure that the projects were sustained even after the completion of the funding period.
He described 2008 as "a year of implementation" and hoped that the desired results would be achieved.