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Ghana Given €7m For Elections   
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The European Union (EU) has donated a €7million grant to Ghana towards this year’s presidential and parliamentary elections to be held on December 7.

The amount is to support independent government institutions involved in the electoral process towards democratic governance and development.

These institutions are the Electoral Commission (EC), National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) and National Media Commission (NMC).

The support was based on recommendations from the EU Electoral Observation Mission to Ghana for the 2008 general elections on the need to further deepen and consolidate Ghana’s democracy, in line with the nation’s objectives for good governance.

Speaking at the presentation, Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, Chairman of EC, said after the signing of the grant contract in May/June 2011, beneficiary institutions received the first tranche of their grants and had either implemented planned 2012 activities or were in the process of implementing activities for 2012.

He said €1.5million had been committed specifically to the operations of NCCE towards the 2012 general elections, adding that the NMC had €1million to support its activities in monitoring the media effectively, while the EU provided the EC with €3.8million, with the left-over earmarked for other related programmes.

According to him, the EC would use its share of the support to build human resource and institutional capacity over the electoral cycle 2010 to 2013.

He said part of the money would also be used to organize training courses for election administrators and training programmes for registration and polling staff.

“We will also use some of the money to engage the services of security agencies, civil society and the public during elections,” he added.

Dr. Afari-Gyan said the focus on medium term capacity development of EC and the promotion of civic and voter education under the support would enhance the EC’s ability to organize future elections and also increase public awareness of the electoral and democratic process.

The Head of EU Delegation to Ghana, Ambassador Claude Maerten, said the EU attached high importance to the development and consolidation of democracy and the rule of law, respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms worldwide.

He said supporting democracy was a crucial endeavor for the international donor community, because of the intrinsic value of democracy as a political system that helped foster human dignity and the contributions that democratic governance made towards better development outcomes for individuals.

Mr. Maerten said Ghana recorded outstanding democratic achievements and had solid democratic institutions and processes even though it had gone through numerous challenges in recent years.

He said, “The 2008 presidential and parliamentary elections were considered by all the observer missions deployed to Ghana as very well-organized and transparent”.

Maerten said these grants would enable the EC, NCCE and NMC to further strengthen their constitutional mandate and to increase their overall operational capacity.

He said the EU programme would also provide support to the EC training school in Kumasi, which serves as a main training facility and center of excellence of the Association of African Election Authorities (AAEA).
Source: Cephas Larbi

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