Accra, Jan. 26, GNA – The Australian High Commissioner to Ghana on Wednesday congratulated Ghana on it economic performance and progress towards the Millennium Development Goals which Australia is committed to supporting.
Speaking at the Australian National Day in Accra, Ambassador William Williams said "Indeed, Ghana’s economic achievements have been recognized by its graduation to a middle income country in the World Bank’s 2011 ranking. This progress is underpinned because of a strong commitment to democracy, enhancing regional peace and security and a deep respect for the rule of law and freedom of expression".
Mr Williams said the year 2011 was also an important year for Australian development cooperation programme with Ghana. More scholarships were awarded to Ghanaians to undertake Masters’ degrees and professional short courses in Australia, he stated.
He said the total number of awardees now totaled 59, and there will be more each and every year in the future.
"Australia is also sharing its expertise in sectors where we have experience to share, especially in the sustainable management of natural resources, in agriculture to strengthen farmer-based organizations and through crop and livestock research, and in child and maternal health services in the Western Region.
"I’m also very proud of our efforts in building community engagements in all of Ghana’s 10 regions. Over the past seven years, the Australian High Commission has provided more than one million cedis to grassroots community development projects, from water and sanitation to solar power and vocation skills development."
He said, "I saw a great example of this in Nadowli in the Upper West last year where a women’s cooperative has developed a shea butter processing factory, generating incomes that have provided economic independence and have transformed a community of over 2,000. This is what a partnership with a local community has achieved. And it does not need to involve large six figure dollar amounts".
Mr Williams said Australian investment and commercial engagement in Ghana continued to expand and that four new Australian-owned mines had opened or were about to start production in Ghana which was a reflection of the demand for precious metals, but also the great confidence Australian companies had in doing business in the country.
He said there were also many other Australian mining and service companies working Ghana – some for 20 years, adding, "I’m pleased to say Australian companies have earned a well deserved reputation as good employers, building a skilled workforce and adopting the highest environmental and safety standards.
"The scale of Australian investment in the African resources sector is now estimated to be at least 50 billion dollars in actual and prospective projects in more than 40 countries, he adding that Ghana and Australia had a strong friendship that had continued to grow in line with very many common interests.
Mr Williams congratulated Ghana on its many achievements in economic and social progress wished her a successful general election to demonstrate once again the democratic maturity and respect for a free and fair poll cherished by its citizens.