Vice President John Mahama on Wednesday held discussions at the Castle, Osu, with the management of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), on how government can work with the firm to help reduce poverty in Ghana through the promotion of sustainable economic growth.
The MCC, which is a United States Government backed project, is currently supporting Ghana with 547 million dollars aimed at reducing poverty by raising farmer incomes through private sector led agribusiness development.
Welcoming the team, Vice President Mahama reiterated the determination of government to build a stable economy using agriculture as a basis and thanked the US government for her commitment in helping augment rural development in the country.
He identified poor farming practices and the lack of irrigation facilities as responsible for the poor performance of agriculture sector in the country and expressed satisfaction that a component of the MCC was helping address those concerns.
Vice President Mahama also lauded the aspect of the compact that would help improve ferry services in the Afram Basin area of the Eastern region to facilitate the growth of agriculture between the Afram areas to the rest of the country and the establishment of a number of retention ponds and wells for farmers whom access to water is critical to the success of their businesses.
Mr Darius Mans, leader of the delegation commended Ghana for her strong leadership which, he said, was producing tremendous results in addressing the problem of poverty in the country.
He mentioned Ghana as leading the pack of other African countries that are also benefiting from the project, but demanded for further commitment on the part of government to ensure that the remaining aspects of the project are fully implemented.
Mr Mans re-affirmed the support of the US to help Ghana meet her developmental challenges through the implementation of programmes that help uplift the standard of living of the people.
Mr Mans also used the meeting to invite the Vice President to participate in a meeting of the MCC currently underway in Ghana to brainstorm with other partners how to augment the programme to achieve further successes.
Mr Martin Eson-Benjamin, Chief Executive Officer of the Millennium Development Authority, the implementation agency of the MCC in Ghana briefed the Vice President on the status of a number of projects being implemented under the MCC.
He said the program was being implemented in 30 Districts in the Northern Zone, the Afram Basin and the Southern Zone, where poverty rates are above 40 percent.
The project, he said, attempted a diversification of agriculture in the selected areas through improved farming practices, and the construction of new roads to link the farming centres to urban communities.
The development aspect of the project, he explained, focuses on the construction and rehabilitation of educational, and sanitation facilities, as well as the extension of electrification to rural areas
The MDA CEO said 950 kilometres of feeder roads in eight districts in the intervention zones would be improved to reduce transportation costs and to increase access to major domestic and international markets.
In addition, the MDA would seek to automate and interconnect rural banks and provide other improvements in the national payments systems that will draw a large number of people currently not served or under-served into the financial system.
Among those present at the meeting was the US Ambassador, Mr Donald Gene Teitelbaum.