Develop human, natural resource in tandem for economic dev’t – Cuban Ambassador

Pedro Luis Despaigne González, the Cuban Ambassador to Ghana

For Ghana to sustain its economic growth, it needs to focus on the development of its human resources or capital alongside the development of its natural resources, Pedro Luis Despaigne González, the Cuban Ambassador to Ghana, has said.

“The development of both natural and human resource together is the best for any country. Natural resources are something that life has given to every country, but human resources have also been given to countries and so both have to be very well connected,” he said in an exclusive interview with the B&FT ahead of the 2019 edition of the Sustainability and Social Investment Awards.

“Once you have integrated these two aspects, institutions of the country will develop and the country will see growth. Everything is a comprehensive task every country must embark on. I do not believe we have to put one above the other; but we cannot forget, and there are a lot of examples across the world, that when you have your resources capable and prepared, everything can be done.

“You cannot start talking about capacity building when people are 20 or 30 years old. You start building their capacity when they are very young and in kindergarten. This is how you prepare for the future,” Mr. González added.

The 2019 edition of the Sustainability and Social Investment (SSI) seeks to create awareness and encourage companies in delivering high impact CSI/CSR projects that align with government’s focus on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

This year’s edition is themed Celebrating impact brands and their sustainable legacies’, and will be bigger and better as organisers unveil their Sustainability Plaque. It will also reward businesses that creatively approach CSR and those who are creating new standards, committing their organisation to making social responsibility an integral part of their business.

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Mr. González noted that the Sustainability and Social Investment Awards are a step in the right direction for rewarding socially-focused institutions.

“To me, it is good to know that what they are doing is very important and they are recognised for that. Once you encourage people, it pushes them on – but winners must see the award as the basis to work harder,” he added.

Touching on the theme Celebrating impact brands and their sustainable legacies, he noted that the Cuban government, in partnership with the Ghanaian government, is working to help eradicate Malaria through the establishment of a company that will manufacture products to kill mosquitoes at the larvae stage.

“In Cuba we eradicated malaria in 1972, and as part of our social investment we are sharing this technology with other developing countries – in Africa especially – that are fighting malaria,” he said.

More on SSI 2019

The Sustainability & Social Investment Awards is an initiative endorsed by the Ministry of Education, National Road Safety Commission among others, and it is aimed at identifying and publicly recognising the impact made by companies, CSI/CSR foundations, NGO’s, individuals and other implementing agencies through exemplary success in voluntarily improving the quality of life of people and communities.

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The award categories include Best Company in Charity Giving; Clean Water Provision Project; Climate Change Education & Mitigation Project; Community Development & Infrastructure Project; Community Support Project; Disability Support Project; Disability Employment, Economic Empowerment, Educational Sponsorship Projects; Educational Sustainability Programme; Employee Volunteering Initiatives; Environment Sustainability Project; Financial Inclusion Project; Girl Child Education and Empowerment Project;  and Good Governance & Transparency in Sustainability Reporting.

Others include Best Company in Livelihood Empowerment Projects, Partnership for Community Development Project, Post-Disaster Rehabilitation Support Programme, Eradicating Streetism, Promoting Arts & Culture, Promoting Road Safety, Supporting Local Content, Promoting Agriculture and Agribusiness, Promoting Gender Equality, Promoting Good Health and Wellness, Promoting Good Sanitation & Hygiene Practices, Promoting Good Waste Management Practices, Promoting Voluntary Blood Donation, Promoting Workplace Diversity & Inclusion, Providing Educational Facilities, and Providing Health Facilities.

Some include Best Company in Providing Sanitation Facilities; Recycling Education & Practices; Skills Development Project, Social Enterprising Project, Specialty Healthcare Support Project, Stakeholder Engagement Programme, Supporting Agribusiness, Supporting Educational Institutions, Supporting Educational Projects, Supporting Government Institutions, Supporting Health Institutions and Facilities, Supporting SMEs & Start-ups, Supporting Sports Development, Sustainable Development Project, Women Empowerment Project, Youth Empowerment Project, and Best Health Awareness Education Programme of the Year.

The rest include SSI Foundation of the Year, SSI Project of the Year (Education), SSI Project of the Year (Environment), SSI Project of the year (Health), SSI Project of the Year (Socio-economic), SSI Team of the Year, SSI Innovative Project of the Year, and SSI Health Advocate of the Year.

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