The minister-designate for the Western region has called for more support for women who are engaged in small-scale businesses to boost the country’s wealth.
Outlining his vision for one of Ghana’s resource endowed regions Dr Kwaku Afriyie said rural, women and youth advocacy top his list of priorities of translating the President’s change agenda.
Answering a question on how he would transform the region if his appointment is approved by Parliament’s Appointment Committee Tuesday, he said that he would ensure that the bad road network would also be improved.
The former minister of Lands, Mines and Forestry under erstwhile President John Kufuor’s government said he would engage in a lot of rural advocacy and champion maternal and child health.
He believes as a nation women should be encouraged to enhance their potentials.
“Women own more businesses in Ghana than anywhere in the world, although they transact their business in the very small scale sector, we have to get them up.
“Unfortunately, they have been neglected as they don’t have access to capital, credit…we have to do something about it…we have a unique opportunity to promote the cause of women,” he said calling for a concerted effort towards achieving that.
The Member of Parliament for Sefw Wiaso stated that women are the yardstick to measure a country’s progress, assuring the women of the Western region that their interest would be prioritised.
The country’s latest natural resource discovery- oil- was also found in the Western region. Ghana, per the region’s Jubilee partners, struck oil in commercial quantities in 2007 in the Western Region.
But three years after this discovery, the chiefs in the region decried what they say is the marginalisation in the development of the country and complained that the region has nothing to show for, despite its resource contribution.
In a move which the regional House of Chiefs described as “act of desperation”, the chiefs petitioned parliament for 10 percent of oil revenue to be dedicated to the region.
Although the demand was later withdrawn, it re-surfaced barely six years later with a call for 20 percent allocation.
But Dr Afriyie said he would also engage in youth advocacy to ensure that their interest is represented by working closely with them.
“Our roads are the worse in this country”, he said explaining that because the region has the highest rainfall in the country, roads deteriorate much faster than in others.
He said governments have often used the heavy rains the region experiences as an “excuse” to explain away the poor state of roads.
He assured the indigenes of the region that when he is given the green light, he would ensure that good roads are constructed to justify the region’s contribution to the economy.
“Western region in the next decade would be the primus inter pares of regions in this country,” he assured.