To ask Her Majesty’s Government what discussions they have had with the Government of Ghana concerning the Presidential elections there in December.
The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government and Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): The UK has an ongoing dialogue with the Government of Ghana about the upcoming presidential elections. Most recently, in his visit in October, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, my honourable friend the Member for Boston and Skegness (Mr Simmonds), discussed the elections with Vice-President, Kwesi Amissah-Arthur, Deputy Foreign Minister, Chris Kpodo, and Trade Minister, Hannah Tetteh, as well as the opposition under Nana Akufo-Addo.
The UK will continue to engage with the Government of Ghana on this issue in the run-up to, and following, the elections in December.
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have given any guidance to the Government of Ghana about the implementation of the proposed freedom of information law; and, if so, what that guidance was.
Baroness Warsi: Our high commission in Accra ran a project funded in financial year 2009-10 to bring two freedom of information experts to Ghana to engage with relevant stakeholders as the Ghanaian Government were developing a Right to Information (RTI) bill.
In partnership with local civil society organisations they ran a fact-finding mission to identify Ghana’s requirements and then ran a two-day workshop with senior public servants to draw together ideas for the implementation process.
The key outcome of the workshop was the development of an action plan outlining major activities necessary to work towards the successful implementation of RTI in Ghana, should it be adopted into law.
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they have taken through the Commonwealth to support economic growth in Ghana.
Baroness Warsi: The Commonwealth has the potential to contribute significantly to the prosperity of its members given we share the core values, of democracy, rule of law, good governance, human rights and similar legal systems.
In financial year 2012-13, UK contributions to Commonwealth organisations will amount to approximately £40 million, which includes £16 million in funding to the Commonwealth Secretariat. The Commonwealth Secretariat’s Economic Division aims to strengthen policies and systems that support economic growth in Commonwealth member countries. This is achieved through helping countries take advantage of opportunities, and improve their ability to manage long-term economic development.
In 2012, the secretariat helped train 220 national facilitators from both Ghana and Kenya in implementing programmes in financial literacy, and supported a conference in Accra on private equity for African institutional investors. In September, the secretariat co-hosted a workshop on venture capital for Ghanaian policy-makers and regulators to help unlock local capital for private sector investment in Ghana.
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assistance they have given to the Government of Ghana to help it meet the United Nations’ millennium development goals.
Baroness Northover: The UK Government provide financial and technical support to the Government of Ghana in a range of areas to help Ghana accelerate its progress towards the millennium development goals. Examples include assistance to the Ghanaian Government’s national malaria campaign; malaria is the biggest cause of deaths of children under five and a major cause of the death of pregnant women. Last year, UK aid distributed 2.35 million bednets to protect against malaria and help achieve universal national coverage. This year UK aid is providing an additional two million bednets.
UK aid’s programme up to 2015, including the results we will achieve, is outlined in the DfID Ghana Operational Plan 2011-15. These results includes supporting 70,000 girls to stay in school with assistance through both the Ghanaian Government and NGOs, helping the Ghanaian Government to extend their cash grant programme to 100,000 of the poorest people, which will help tackle hunger and malnutrition among other things, and helping 50,000 people to grow their businesses through access to better support and services.
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they have taken to boost trade between Ghana and Britain.
Baroness Garden of Frognal: UK Trade and Investment’s (UKTI) teams in London and Accra offer potential exporters a range of services and support, including market research, the identification of local agents and distributors, participation in trade missions, and product launches. In recent months, UKTI has given particular support to companies in the oil and gas, education and construction sectors. During a recent visit to Accra, FCO Minister for Africa, Mark Simmonds, hosted a breakfast meeting with UK investors and visited a hospital being built by a UK company, which won the contract with High Commission support.
Between 2010 and 2011 bilateral trade between the UK and Ghana increased by 32%, to nearly £1.2 billion.