Eni and the government of Ghana have cut the sod for establishment of a new training centre for diversified agricultural development and entrepreneurship at Kyeremasu, Dormaa East, Bono Region.
The training centre is part of the Okuafo Pa Project, aimed at supporting Ghana’s sustainable development by promoting socio-economic growth. The centre consists of a campus for up to 800 students, with classrooms, workshops, offices and related storage spaces and utilities.
Photovoltaic panels will power the campus, which will be energy self-sufficient and highly efficient. Educational programmes focusing on agricultural activities, poultry breeding and greenhouse cultivation will be defined with the support of Ghanaian and European universities. Besides training activities, the Okuafo Pa Project will facilitate access to micro-credit and to the labour market. Opening of educational activities is expected by end of the year.
Eni and the government of Ghana, represented by the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI), developed the Okuafo Pa Project. The project is aligned to the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the government of Ghana programme ‘Ghana beyond Aid’.
According to the Minister of Planning, Prof. Gyan Baffour who cut the sod on behalf of the president, government considers this Akuafo Pa project a facilitator and flagship initiative for economic growth and employment in the district.
“The implementation of this diversified agricultural project guarantees that a significant contribution will be made to achieving goals 1, 2, 7, 8, 10 and 17 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Most importantly, the country will make strides in attaining our economic aspirations to build a prosperous Ghana,” he said.
The Minister for Planning also disclosed that among interventions government has initiated to provide jobs and boost economic development are: Planting for Export and Rural Development Programme, Rearing for Food and Jobs Campaign, and the mechanisation of agriculture.
Guido Brusco, Eni Executive Vice-President for sub-Saharan Africa said: “One of Eni’s core values is supporting sustainable development of the countries we operate in. Wherever we are, we establish a strong dialogue with institutions and communities to identify needs and develop joint solutions. This is what we call the dual-flag model: we are Italian and we are Ghanaian. We grow if Ghana also grows with us”.
He continued: “We believe in Public Private Partnerships, a tool that the United Nations identified as fundamental to trigger sustainable development. We therefore respond to a call from the Ghanaian government for private companies to support local institutions in skills development and capacity building”.
The Campus is the first step of the Okuafo Pa project, aimed at defining a sustainable model to be replicated in other regions of Ghana, as well as in other countries of sub-Saharan Africa, to positively impact on productive activities and occupation opportunities. The Campus will leverage local employment, generate revenue from agricultural activities, and develop a cooperative model on the overall supply-chain of each product.
The Krontihene of Dormaa, Barimah Ansu Agyei, the Minister of Health Kwaku Agyemang-Manu, and the Italian Ambassador to Ghana, Giovanni Favilli, also attended the ceremony.