The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has officially handed over the oversight responsibility of a US$2-million endowment fund to the Ghana Heritage Conservation Trust (GHCT).
The endowment fund is to help the GHCT preserve and maintain Ghana’s forest reserve.
It is also to assist the trust in the preservation and conservation of Ghana’s heritage, particularly the development of tourism in the Central Region.
Ghana US ties
At the handover ceremony in Accra, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the GHCT, Mr Kojo Yankah, said the exercise was a very significant milestone in the historical links between Ghana and the United States of America.
As part of its commitment, Mr Yankah said the USAID was also providing funds for the preservation, conservation, protection and maintenance of the Cape Coast and the Elmina castles, Fort St Jago at Elmina, the Kakum National Park and the Assin Atandanso Resource Reserve, in collaboration with the Board of Trustees of the GHCT.
Since 1997, Mr Yankah noted, the trust had judiciously pursued its mandate, in collaboration with organisations such as the Wildlife Division of the Forestry Commission, and also applied interest on the endowment fund received earlier, together with its own internally generated revenue, to support a number of community projects.
He mentioned the construction of classroom blocks, a 50-seater Information and Communications Technology centre, as well as the maintenance of the Kakum National Park area as some of the projects embarked on by the GHCT.
Mr Yankah indicated that in the next couple of weeks, the board of trustees would make public its five-year strategic plan which was yet to be crafted with technical support from USAID Ghana.
“It will be clear from the plan how much time and effort we have invested in ensuring that the deed we signed with the USAID is implemented to the letter,” he added.
The USAID Ghana Economic Growth Office Director, Mr Peter Trenchard, said Ghana had been an important partner of the US in Africa for the past 50 years.
He said the USAID had also been committed to the vision of empowering Ghanaians to build a prosperous nation through programmes of good governance and economic growth.
He stated that with the kind of work done so far by the board of trustees, he was hopeful that the management would utilise the endowment fund appropriately.