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Henry Kerali, World Bank Country Director, Ghana
Henry Kerali, World Bank Country Director, Ghana

Natural resources critical for Ghana’s economic growth

Ghana’s economic growth and development could be propelled by a prudent management of its natural resource endowment, Mr Henry Kerali, World Bank Country Director has observed.

Mr Kerali stated, that the country is endowed with abundant natural resources that could provide the basis for its economic transformation. Thus, there is the need to harness the revenues from these natural resources to be invested in the development of much-needed infrastructure, such as energy, transport, housing, ICT among others.

He pointed out that “Natural resources are critical for Ghana’s economic growth, jobs and poverty alleviation. Activities based on land, water, forest and fisheries resources contribute more than 20 percent of GDP and 60 percent of jobs, including 53 percent of women’s jobs. Thus, good natural resource management is necessary for inclusive growth.

“We believe this would generate further employment and improve livelihoods, and also yield significant returns and benefits to future generations.”

According to Mr Kerali, many industrialized and developed countries including Australia, Canada, Sweden, Norway, United States, South Africa and Botswana have depended on the exploration and extraction of minerals as the basis for their economic development.

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The World Bank Country Director bemoaned however that Ghana is depleting its natural resource wealth whilst missing opportunities for economic transformation.

That, he said, is reflected through poor land and water management practices which have led to accelerated erosion, and siltation of water bodies, land degradation and increasing desertification. Deforestation which is highest in the cocoa-forest landscape of the High Forest Zone.

He said Ghana’s fish resources are heavily overexploited.  While lack of effective management of the resources has resulted in depletion of the fish stock, with little returns for investment in management and value addition.

He added, “We all know about “galamsey” – Artisanal gold mining has significant negative impacts on the environment and human health due to destructive mining methods and rampant use of mercury.

Mr Kerali was speaking in Accra at the launch of the 5th IFEJ-Flamingo Awards for Business and Financial Journalism held on the theme, ‘Towards Better Management of Natural Resources for Inclusive Growth and Development.

In order to improve the management of natural resources in the country, Mr Kerali proposed the need to strengthen coordination among environment and natural resource management institutions to improve efficiency and translate national development plans into focused actions.

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He said there should also be the need to improve governance of forests and landscapes, protect standing forests and address pressures from agricultural expansion of cocoa farms and artisanal mining, among others.

He also called for improving understanding of pollution and Environmental Health issues, design better solutions and better inform the public.

Regarding the IFEJ Flamingo awards, Mr Kerali assured that, “going forward, we intend to continue supporting IFEJ and the media to report better on issues of environment and natural resources and other sectors of the economy in a bid to empower the media and all stakeholders to help Ghana achieve tangible development results.”

He further commended IFEJ for the pursuit of excellence in journalism, particularly in focusing on topical issues every year and encouraging its members to inform, educate and promote dialogue to advance Ghana’s development. We are proud to have been part of efforts that established IFEJ in 1990.

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Mr Emmanuel Kuyole, Executive Director of the Centre for Extractive and Development in Africa (CEDA) who chaired lauded the executive of IFEJ for providing support to the media especially in the area of finance and the economy.

Mr Kuyole, indicated that the natural resource sector provide opportunity for revenue mobilization and thus stakeholders must focus on prudent management of resources from the sector for inclusive growth and development.

The President of IFEJ, Mr Raymond Bulley announced that stories or scripts written from June 2017 to July this year by fully paid up members would be accepted. The submission of entries begun on July 18, 2018 till the end of August 2018.

The categories include Best Business/Manufacturing Feature/News story, Best Finance Feature/ News story; Best Business of Health feature/News; Best in Local Economy feature/News; Best Development Feature/News story and Best Tourism Feature/News story. Other categories include Best Agribusiness Feature/News story; Best Natural Resource Feature/ News story and Best Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Feature/News Story.

 

By Mohammed Suleman

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