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General News
Ghana, Saudi Arabia hold talks on cooperation 3/19/2007
Accra, March 18, GNA - Ghana and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have held discussions in the areas of energy, economic development, roads, health and housing and promised to further explore specific means of the latter assisting Ghana to meet some of her requirements.

The talks were between Mr Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning and Mr Sameer Mahmoud Aggad, the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia over the weekend. Also present was Professor George Gyan Baffour, Deputy Minister in-charge of Planning, Mr Kwesi Poku Kyei, Special Assistant in-charge of cocoa schedule and other officials of the Ministry and Embassy.

Mr Aggad, who has been at his posting for only three months, said there were several areas of economic difficulty and that Saudi Arabia was ready to help Ghana to overcome.

He explained that the Saudi Kingdom has a unique strategy of ensuring a full cost recovery in energy production and offered to help Ghana meet some of her production inefficiencies.

Mr Baah-Wiredu urged the Saudi government to use its strong influence as an important shareholder in the World Bank and a major participant in the International Development Association (IDA) to help Ghana towards the replenishment of the upcoming IDA 15, which is more or less in recognition of the debt forgiveness under the multilateral debt relief programme.

"You need to help in the discussion of IDA 15 and support the move towards an increased replenishment process, especially when talking with the American and the Europeans."

The Finance Minister said government intends to transform the Bolgatanga Regional Hospital into a Teaching Hospital for the use of the University of Development Studies, adding th at it is one of the most populated regions that must be supported.

Government in October last year submitted proposals to the Saudi Fund for Development in assisting funding for the rehabilitation of the Bolgatanga Hospital to increase the capacity and efficiency of the hospital to provide proper health care to the people of the town. He urged the early completion of the Madina/Pantang section of the Tetteh-Quarshie- Mamfe Road which the Saudi Fund for Development is co-funding together with BADEA, a Saudi consultancy.

Mr Baah-Wiredu also told Mr Aggad of some projects being undertaken by individual Saudi businessmen such as the Ambassador Hotel and other projects and urged them to work at its early completion. "We know that you are good in providing housing and this is another area that we could collaborate to increase the pace of discussion towards raising the housing stock in this country," the Minister added.

Ghana and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia established diplomatic relations at Ambassadorial level in March 1960. Bilateral economic relations between the two countries started in 1960 with the Saudi support increasing significantly after the oil boom of 1973.

A memo on trade relations between Ghana and Saudi Arabia called for an improved trade relation indicating that Ghana''s imports from Saudi Arabia kept increasing in value from 1.89 million dollars in 1989 to 69.1 million dollars in 2005 as opposed to the export value which has increased considerably from 7.90 million dollars in 1999 to 6.38 million in 2005.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia funded Ghana in the construction of the Kpong Hydroelectric dam, the grains storage project, college of science in Accra, Tema and the Takoradi ports rehabilitation and the northern electricity power grid as well as the phase one and two of the rural health centres projects valued at more than 80 million dollars. 18 March 07Source:

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