The Minister for Trade and Industry, Dr Spio-Garbrah, has called on the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) to provide more robust assistance to Ghana to enable it transform its economy through value-added manufacturing and an export-led economy.
Dr Spio-Garbrah was addressing the member states of UNIDO at the 42nd Session of the Industrial Development Board and the Special Session of the General Conference of UNIDO at its headquarters in Vienna, Austria today.
He pledged the commitment and desire of Ghana to strengthen its collaboration with UNIDO, inviting the organization to intervene in several sectors to promote the “Made-in-Ghana” policies of the country, including the country’s global branding. He specifically sought the assistance of UNIDO for Ghana in areas such as Improving value chains in the agro and food processing industry; technical assistance to build a model food processing plant in Ghana; value addition in the production of coconut fibre and related by-products; training in implementing renewable energy technologies for decentralized power generation to support manufacturing for productive activities enterprises; manufacture of briquettes from agro residues, such as bagasse (sugarcane waste) to substitute wood charcoal; the manufacture of energy efficient stoves, local manufacture of LED lamps to substitute kerosene lamps.
In a statement to members of the 171-member nation organization, the Trade and Industry Minister urge UNIDO to facilitate the integration of developing countries into the global economy and help reduce the shocks of economic crisis. ‘In furtherance of this, Ghana would like UNIDO to continue to enhance its support to countries in the implementation of projects aimed at reducing poverty and improving the living standards of the rural poor’ , he said.
The Trade and Industry Minister said he was optimistic that the issues for discussions during the session currently under way were crucial for the developing countries to enable them address current developmental challenges and work towards the achievement of inclusive and sustainable development.
Dr Ekwow Spio-Garbrah revealed that Ghana has endorsed the new mandate adopted at the last UNIDO General Conference held in Lima, Peru, in December 2013, where the member states of UNIDO directed the organization to focus its activities towards “inclusive and sustainable industrial development.” To this end, he noted that Ghana recognizes UNIDO’s valued services as a specialized agency of the United Nations that promotes industrial development for poverty reduction, inclusive globalization and environmental sustainability.
The Trade and Industry Minister emphasized that Ghana’s own economic development agenda was very well aligned to UNIDO’s current thematic priorities of: Poverty reduction through productive activities; trade capacity-building; energy development and environmental protection. ‘These fall in line with the essential pillars for Ghana’s industrialization and are in line with the industrial transformation agenda of Ghana as enshrined in our industrial policy’, he said.
Dr Spio-Garbrah assured UNIDO’s member states that Ghana will continue to welcome partnership with UNIDO in order to benefit from the organization’s expertise in the fields of agri-business and agro-industries; value addition to solid minerals Industries; the petrochemical Industry; and the services industry, all being sectors in which the country has attracted, and has the potentials to attract even more foreign direct investment.
Trade and Industry Minister expressed appreciation for the recent visit to Ghana earlier this year by the Director General of UNIDO, Mr. Li Yong, during which the importance of inclusive and sustainable industrial development in realizing economic growth and employment, was highlighted, at a meeting with President John Dramani Mahama. In that meeting, it became clear that there was the need for multilateral partnerships, such as South-South cooperation in fostering inclusive and sustainable industrial development. ‘I further recall the Director-General’s commendation of the Government of Ghana for its ambition to implement transformational policies, and his expectation that Ghana would develop policies and strategies that would safeguard the environment and enhance green growth in the country’, the Minister said.
The Minister intimated that as a member of UNIDO for over four decades, Ghana appreciates the long partnership and the significant contributions UNIDO has made towards Ghana’s efforts in achieving sustainable industrial development.
Dr Spio-Garbrah assured UNIDO of Ghana’s continued collaboration in the implementation of projects that UNIDO was undertaking in Ghana, to enable the projects achieve their objectives.
Given the importance of UNIDO to developing countries in general, the Minister indicated Ghana is committed to the successful outcome of the discussions of this session of the IDB and on the future of UNIDO. ‘Permit me therefore to urge UNIDO to facilitate the integration of developing countries into the global economy and help reduce the shocks of economic crisis. In furtherance of this, Ghana would like UNIDO to continue to enhance its support to countries in the implementation of projects aimed at reducing poverty and improving the living standards of the rural poor’ , he said.
The Trade and Industry Minister said he was optimistic that the issues for discussions at this session would stimulate active and constructive debate on current developmental challenges and would lead to the achievement of inclusive and sustainable development.
Dr Spio-Garbrah, lauded Mr. Li Yong for his successful tenure so far as the Director-General of UNIDO and commended him on his accomplishment since his assumption of office.