A Ghanaian government agency is channeling funds for targeted
development projects. Ghana’s
Millennium Development Authority (MIDA) is rebuilding schools and other
buildings destroyed by floods with money from an independent agency of the US
Government, the Millennium Challenge Corporation. The US agency has so far provided Accra with $547 million in grants for
poverty reduction programs. The funds have mostly been channeled into
agriculture and infrastructure. Martin Esson-Benjamin is the chief executive officer of the MIDA. He told Voice of America English to Africa
Service reporter, Joana Mantey, in Accra, Ghana, that under the program, credits
have also been given to smallholder farmers in an effort to enhance their
“Before we can give them credit,” he said, “they should have gone
through training and we should have linked them to a bank which is going to
give them the loan. Then we have to have access to their farms by providing
feeder roads and trunk roads.”
Ghana was selected to receive MCC funds based on its private sector
growth and its commitment to democratic governance. The government then came up
with its own plan on how to use the funds for development projects.
Improving the sector involves putting structures in place to increase
the profit of farmers as well as bring improvements in their daily lives.
“There are places which are not accessible by road and therefore you
need a ferry. We are adding a ferry between Adorso and Achiaman located between
the northern and southern shores of Volta Lake. We also want to bring some rural development activities to them.
[Sometimes] there is no access to sanitation activities -- no toilets, no
drinking water, no electricity, and no schools for the kids. These are what we
are providing for these farming communities,” Esson-Benjamin said.
“The schools are overpopulated,” he said, “but they are under trees and
they have not got adequate classrooms. We are refurbishing them and bringing
furniture into the classrooms and ensuring that we have tanks that will bring
water to the kids.”
Ghana will receive MCA funds for five years. Esson-Benjamin said beneficiary communities are being taught how to continue after Ghana is weaned off the MCA funds.
“We are teaching them how they can have access to good markets and make
money; how they can improve their own livelihoods, giving them the
infrastructure they need. And with the banks supporting them and their
knowledge base increased, they will now look at farming as a business and make
it more sustainable. We have to ensure that the seeds that we have sown, grow and germinate."