EU commits €200m to support growth, jobs, other projects

EU commits €200m to support growth, jobs, other projects
EU Ambassador to Ghana, Irchad Razaaly

The European Union (EU) has committed €203million to be spread across seven years to undertake projects that will support government in job creation and growth efforts, smart and sustainable cities projects, and good governance and security, the EU Ambassador to Ghana, Irchad Razaaly, has disclosed.

In an engagement with the press in Accra, Mr. Razaaly said the EU is committed to deepening relations with the country, focusing on sectors that will address the major challenges facing the country; namely unemployment, pollution, among others.

“We are focusing on growth stimulation and job creation, and so we are supporting Ghanaian policies which are aimed at creating job opportunities for the youth; socio-economic inclusion for youth, women and everyone left behind in the development of the country. So based on that, we have just adopted a new programme for the next seven years between the EU and Ghana which are focusing on three main areas.

“We have what we call Green Growth Jobs, which are programmes to support and stimulate growth in a more sustainable manner but with the objective of creating jobs. The second area is what we call Smart Cities, wherein we can make contributions in design of the cities to make them more smart in terms of transportation, management of waste, access to water, etc. The third area of interest will focus on governance and security, which will ensure that the country is safe and stable from the recent disturbances coming from the region,” he said.

As part of the project, Mr. Razaaly said the EU will also infuse digitalisation in the three focal areas, as this will speed up the process and progress of the programmes.

“There are plenty of examples in digital transformation whereby advantages for the individual also mean advantages for the community, and ultimately the country as a whole. For this very reason, the European Union has decided to cooperate with Ghana on this topic, supporting the country on its path toward a more digital and resilient future,” he said.

Exports to EU market increasing after iEPA deal

According to Mr. Razaaly, the interim Economic Partnership Agreement (iEPA) – a comprehensive trade deal between the EU and Ghana, has granted the country a bigger opportunity to deepen trade with Europe; making Ghana the largest source of imports for the European Union (EU).

“The EPA confirms Ghana’s access to the European market in the best possible conditions because if you are a less-developed country and you have quota-free, duty-free access to the EU market; you are in a better situation because the EU is the largest market for Africa.

“The EU was Ghana’s largest source of imports – accounting for 17.3 percent of Ghana’s imports ahead of China and the UK; and the second-largest export destination for Ghana with 16.3 percent. So the relations are thriving; volumes are thriving, and this is good news on both sides,” he said during an engagement with the press in Accra.

The interim Economic Partnership Agreement (iEPA) took effect from July 1, 2021 and will guarantee duty-free quota-free access to the EU market for products made in Ghana, giving the country access to the European market for 80 percent of the total volume of exports to the bloc.

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