Brussels, 29 October 2012
Visit of Commissioner Piebalgs to Ghana: "Ghana is a model of development"
Tomorrow, EU Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs will begin a two-day visit to Ghana. He will meet with the Vice President Paa Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur, and acknowledge the smooth political transition after the passing of the late President Atta Mills.
During his visit he will announce EU additional support to Ghana's efforts in tackling maternal health and further improve the role of local authorities, notably to accelerate the achievement of MDGs. He will also take part in a High Level Forum "Towards "Towards Sustainable Energy for All in West-Africa". This event is expected to result in the adoption of a regional renewable energy policy and an energy efficiency policy, and is one of the first steps towards the implementation of the UN initiative to promote sustainable energy for all by 2050. During the forum, a new Call for proposals of the ACP-EU Energy Facility for €75 million will be announced.
Prior to his departure, Commissioner Piebalgs said: "Ghana is a democratic and economic role model in the region. I am looking forward to discussing how we can deepen our political dialogue and ensure the country's sustainable and solid development. We will be a steadfast partner in this endeavour. I'm happy to sign these funding agreements, which will help Ghana to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and consolidate governance."
He added: "One of my priorities is to promote the development of sustainable energy in Africa; Ghana is one of our most committed partners. The EU has already mobilised more than €500 million this year for the UN initiative for Sustainable Energy for All. We will also support West Africa, firmly in line with the EU’s objective to provide access to energy to 500 million people in developing countries by 2030."
Aid programmes on Maternal Health and Decentralisation
The two EU programmes that will be launched during this visit provide budget support to the government of Ghana. The "EU Maternal Health Support Programme" (€52 million) will help to save mothers' lives through improving skills in maternal care, increasing emergency obstetric and new-born care and through measures of family planning.
The EU funding is designed to help to ensure that by 2015, 80% of mothers are attended by a trained health worker while giving birth; and to improve the overall support during pregnancy and in the postnatal period.
It also aims to increase the knowledge and use of family planning methods. Finally, it will help to increase access to basic emergency obstetric and neonatal care in the country to 60% by 2015. Through these programmes, the EU is supporting Ghana to reach its goal of reducing maternal mortality to 185 per 100,000 live births (2008: 451 per 100,000 ).
The second programme (€45 million) will help to strengthen decentralised authorities in providing services such as water, sanitation and roads. The EU "Ghana Decentralisation Support Programme" particularly focuses on basic services that are already decentralised, like sanitation and infrastructure of rural access roads. In addition, it will support the government's decentralisation policy in two other core sectors: education and health.
The High Level Energy Forum "Towards Sustainable Energy for All in West Africa"
This event, entitled "Paving the Way through Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency" takes place in the context of the UN Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) Initiative. It is expected to adopt a regional renewable energy policy and an energy efficiency policy. Topics on the agenda also cover concrete initiatives on standards and labelling, lighting, electricity distribution and efficient cooking.
At the Forum, the European Commission's Joint Research Centre will present a mapping initiative and a map of Africa's competitive solar electricity potential that it has developed. It shows, for instance, that in many parts of Africa, off-grid photovoltaic systems (such as solar panels) produce electricity that is cheaper than conventional diesel-generated electricity (see link below).
For further information
MEMO/12/814: Background on Commissioner Piebalgs' visit to Ghana and EU energy cooperation with West Africa
Website of the European Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs:
Website of EuropeAid Development and Cooperation DG:
Map on photovoltaic solar electricity potential in Africa: