Accra, Oct.21, GNA - Dr. Kandeh Yumkella, the Director General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), on Thursday said Ghana would become a model and training hub for the West African sub region.
He said the stable democracy coupled with the oil find should propel the country into industrialisation not forgetting agriculture which was the critical engine of economic growth and development." Ghana should take a cue from Dubai, Malaysia and others to generate wealth, Mr Yumkella said and noted that there were positive initiatives already underway aimed at transforming the continent's economy to become more prosperous, competitive and sustainable.
The UNIDO boss advised that Ghana should use its rich human and natural resources to tackle poverty through the development of agricultural businesses and called for the diversification of the country's economy beyond oil and gas.
According to him the oil find should not be affected with the 'Dutch Disease Syndrome' but should drive the country into a middle income country saying "don't only export raw material but rather add value to petroleum products to generate more wealth increases trade opportunities through larger markets, provide more opportunities for large investments, and strengthen the bargaining power."
In economics, the Dutch disease is a concept that purportedly explains the apparent relationship between the increase in exploitation of natural resources and a decline in the manufacturing sector.
He said UNIDO aspired to reduce poverty through sustainable industrial development and was committed to assisting countries such as Ghana to have the opportunity to grow a flourishing productive sector, to increase the participation in international trade and to safeguard their environment.
"Ghana has a friend and brother in UNIDO to guide and assist the country to be transformed into a middle income country. The Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration Minister, Alhaji Muhammad Mumuni, said it was the expectation of the government that the oil find became a blessing and not a curse as had been the case in some countries.
He said Ghana was a credible member of UN and all it agencies and would need the support of UNIDO to build it capacity. The Minister called for UNIDO's support to enable the country realise its full potential.
He acknowledged UNIDO's contribution to over 90 projects in Ghana valued at about 30 million dollars to enhance capacity of local industries and reduce poverty for the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
The foreign Minister noted that government would use the oil revenue judiciously to aid development and make Ghana a transformed nation. Alhaji Mumuni said though 60 per cent of the nation's workforce was into agriculture they were all into subsistence farming and expressed the commitment of government to modernise the sector and build a strong competitive economy. 21 Oct. 10