President Mills: G-8 Is Sincere

President John Evans Atta Mills on Monday returned home from the 2012 G-8 Summit in the US, convinced of the sincerity of the Group’s commitment to partner Africa in addressing food and nutrition issues of the continent. He observed that the G-8 nations were happy with the programmes Ghana had drawn and progress made for agricultural development, including the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA), which aimed at improving food security and poverty reduction in Ghana’s three Northern Regions. Consequently, “we are sure to see more and more people coming to invest in agriculture,” President Mills said in an interview with journalists on arrival at the Kotoka International Airport. President Mills, together with the African Union Chairperson and Thomas Yaya Boni, who is also the President of Benin, Ethiopian Prime Minister Ato Meles Zenawi and Tanzania President Jakaya Kikwete, participated in the Summit, at the invitation of US President Barack Obama. The summit addressed the global food security. From the Summit, Ghana is expected to get a minimum of 600 million dollars, out of the three billion dollars announced by President Barrack Obama to implement the New Alliance For Food Security and Nutrition, being championed by the G8 nations. The Group of eight advanced economies are Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States. Ghana’s share of the fund would be a major boost to the government in the implementation of the Medium Term Agriculture Sector Investment Plan (METASIP), expected to enhance agriculture production and pull out over 1.3 million Ghanaians out of poverty. Under the Alliance, the other beneficiary countries in Africa would partner with the G8 countries to generate greater private investment in agriculture development and scale up innovation towards achieving sustainable food security and poverty reduction in Africa. The G8 leaders, at the meeting, approved the five-year METASIP and agreed to advance their contributions. Out of the amount for Ghana, the USA is expected to provide 225 million dollars, while Canada, France and Germany will be contributing 71 million dollars, 76 million dollars and 69 million dollars respectively. Japan will provide 34 million dollars, with Russia making available 9 million dollars, and the United Kingdom and the European Union providing 25 million and 37 million dollars respectively. Apart from the funding from G8 countries, some 15 private international firms had declared their intention to sign on the implementation of the Alliance’s plan in Ghana, by investing in the agricultural sector. They include Amarjaro Trading Limited, Rabobank, Unilever, Yara International, AGCO, World Cocoa Foundation, SABmiller, Africa Cashew Initiative Partners, AgriServ, Ecobank Group, Finatrade Group, Ghana Nuts, Premium Foods and Savanna Farmers Marketing Company. President Mills gave thumbs up to the organization of the summit, saying “it was a well-organised session,” adding that, food and nutrition security must be considered the most important requirement on which national development stood. He referred to the progress made by Ghana and the recognition of the country in addressing food security in the last two decades, as well as achieving the MDG One, which is the eradication of extreme hunger and poverty. President Mills, who was accompanied by Mr Kwesi Ahwoi, Food and Agriculture Minister was met on arrival by the Vice President, John Dramani Mahama; Mr Paul Quaye, the Inspector General of Police and some Ministers of State.