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General News
Ghana, five others to establish Volta Basin Authority 1/20/2007
From Kwaku Osei Bonsu, GNA Special Correspondent Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso

Ouagadougou, Jan. 20, GNA - Ghana and five other neighbouring West African countries have signed an agreement on the establishment of a Volta Basin Authority, a body to coordinate policies on the proper use and to oversee the management of the water resources of the Volta River. Additionally, a 1.2 million euro Observatory Post would be set up to study the trends of the Basin, which covers an area of about 400,000 kilometres.

President John Agyekum Kufuor signed the agreement with his other five colleague Heads of State, President Blaise Campaore of Burkina Faso, Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo, President Faure Gnassingbe of Togo, Malian President Amadou Toumane Toure, and President Thomas Yayi Boni of Benin, on the sidelines of a day''s ECOWAS ordinary Summit held in Ouagadougou.

Ghana and Burkina Faso, between them use about 85 per cent of the resources of the Volta River, Togo accounts for eight per cent with Mali, Cote d'' Ivoire and Benin taking up the remaining seven per cent. ECOWAS was the driving force behind the setting up of the Authority to be based in the Burkina Faso capital, Ouagadougou. Nana Addo Dankwah Akufo-Addo, Ghana''s Foreign Minister, said the agreement, which was carefully negotiated was important to the country as it was the main beneficiary of the water resources of the Volta.

"We have been thinking about this for a long time", he added. Dr Mohammed Ibn Chambas, President of the ECOWAS Commission, said a study conducted showed that future conflicts in the region were likely to come from the struggle for land for agriculture and the sharing of water resources.

He said it was in this regard that the framework agreement for managing and conserving the resources of the river was important. The Authority, he said, would ensure that any activity in the basin was properly monitored to serve as an early warning system. President Campaore observed that, there were about 20 million people in the Volta Basin and said, to promote the well management of the river''s resources, called for an integrated approach.

Mr Francois Goldblatt, the French Ambassador to Burkina Faso, said his country together with Denmark, African Development Bank and the International Union of Conservation of Nature would provide the funding for the establishment of the Observatory Post. 20 Jan. 07Source:
GNA

 
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