The United Kingdom (UK), has expressed delight to partner Ghana to ensure that the natural resources are used to strengthen the country’s development and mitigate the risks and threat associated with extractives.


Mr Jon Benjamin, British High Commissioner stated this at the launch of the   Western Region Coastal Foundation (WRCF) in Takoradi.


Jomoro, Ellembelle, Nzema East, Ahanta West, Sekondi-Takoradi and Shama are the six districts coastal districts of the Western Region.


He said Britain was committed to global development and poverty alleviation and the WRCF was one way which the government, private sector, traditional authorities and communities could collaborate effectively to ensure stability and inclusive growth.


He indicated that since the signing of the UK/Ghana G8 partnership agreement on extractives in 2013, the UK had committed approximately 27 million pounds for the set up and implementation of two related programmes.


It includes the Ghana oil and gas for Inclusive Growth (GOGIG), which is aimed at strengthening key state institutions for effective management of the petroleum sector and the WRCF.


The High Commissioner encouraged stakeholders to join hands with the government to work together to further advance growth and development in the coastal areas.


This approach, he said, if successful could be replicated across Ghana as the industry grows and has the potential also to be a global case study of partnership in order to make a difference for vulnerable populations directly affected by the changes that the discovery of natural resources could bring.


He said the oil, gas and power industry must benefit all and not few individuals.


Dr George Sipa Yankey, Chief Executive Officer (GEO) of Ghana National Gas Company said the foundation would go a long way to promote socio-economic activities in the region, which has the potential to transform it into industrial hub.


He expressed his company’s preparedness to partner the project to ensure success to fully benefit the region and the nation as a whole, while avoiding the mistakes by other countries.


Osagyefo Kwamina Enimil, President of the Regional House of Chiefs, pledged the commitment of the chiefs to collaborate with the related companies and the government to ensure that the oil, gas and power discovery progresses to change the development landscape of the region.


“It is for these reasons that I am particularly excited that the portfolio of the Western Region Coastal Foundation includes a multi-stakeholder dialogue platform, which creates opportunities and gives voice to the people to express their concerns and anxieties about the activities and impact of  oil and gas companies within their communities,” he said.


Osagyefo Enimil noted that the mistakes by other oil producing countries could be avoided only when the government, stakeholders, and oil/gas companies provided resources towards addressing the concerns raised by the communities.


Mr Paul Evans Aidoo, Regional Minister said the Regional Coordinating Council was monitoring the activities of foundations and non-governmental organisations in the region and would ban those with selfish interests.


He said the region  was endowed with rich natural   resources like mineral resources, agriculture,  but have not benefitted the region fully and prayed that the management of the foundation would tap the resources to address the concerns.


The chairman of the Advisory Council, Awulae Attibrukusu, Paramount Chief of Lower Axim  gave the assurance that members would bring their experience to bear to achieve the desired development for the region.


The WRCF aims among others to serve as a focal point for stakeholders in the region to work together to maximise the economic, social and environmental benefits presented by the oil, gas and power industry and help manage any negative impacts which might arise from the industry’s activities.


Source: GNA