Background on Commissioner Piebalgs’ visit to Ghana and EU energy cooperation with West Africa

Brussels, 29-10-2012 — / — Background on Commissioner Piebalgs’ visit to Ghana and EU energy cooperation with West Africa

EU cooperation with Ghana

Ghana receives a total of €455.34 million under the 10th European Development Fund (EDF) 2008-13. Funding focuses on transport, governance and general budget support for poverty reduction. 70% of EU funds are channelled through budget support.

Ghana is one of five countries for the upcoming 11th EDF for which EU Member States and the Commission will jointly programme their support under what is called a Compact for “Leveraging Partnership for Shared Growth and Development” over a ten year period (2012-2022). Joint programming will help to better serve to the needs of the country and increase the coherence and efficiency of the combined support.

Examples of the EU’s work in Ghana:

Fighting illegal logging: The Voluntary Partnership Agreement on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade

Illegal logging can have not only serious environmental consequences, but also economic and social ones too. Europe’s response to the problem is the FLEGT (Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade) Action Plan. It provides a number of measures to exclude illegal timber from markets, to improve the supply of legal timber and to increase the demand for responsible wood products.

A central element of the EU’s strategy are trade agreements with timber exporting countries, known as Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPA), to ensure legal timber trade and support good forest governance in the partner countries. Ghana was the first country that signed such an agreement in September 2008. The forest sector has long been at the heart of Ghana’s economy: 43% of the total value and 33% of total volume of Ghana’s timber exports go to the EU. Ghana has been a positive example which has been followed by other countries in Africa, who have signed VPAs.

The overall agreement with the EU will provide a legal framework and compliance monitoring system to ensure that all timber imports into the EU from Ghana have been legally acquired, harvested, transported and exported.

Ghana expects that the VPA will further help its governance reforms in the forestry sector, contribute to sustainable forest management and encourage investment in forest restoration. This is expected to pave the way for the sustainable economic use of forests and help alleviate poverty: adding value to the products along the production and trading chain will generate higher incomes, from which communities, companies and the government will benefit.

The implementation of the VPA in Ghana is funded through multi-donor budget support, which covers forestry and wildlife, mining and environmental protection. Donors are the the European Commission, the United Kingdom, France, the Netherlands and the World Bank.

The country is currently working on a Wood Tracking System which will enable traders and consumers to trace timber back from its source. Ghana is also working towards being the first country to export licensed products to the EU market.

Water supply and sanitation: worm eradication in Northern Ghana (€15 million)

Until recently, Ghana was one of the few remaining countries where the guinea worm disease – a parasitic illness contracted through drinking contaminated water – still affected parts of the population. Access to clean drinking water and proper sanitation has been a continuing challenge for many people living in Ghana. Lack of access to improved drinking water can result in water-borne diseases, but also has a specific impact on women who spend hours every day fetching water and on children who miss school due to illness or because they need to help their mother.

Over the period of 2007-2011, this project, implemented by the government of Ghana and UNICEF, helped increase sanitation coverage by 35%. It created 250 new water schemes (boreholes and simple mechanized systems of water provision), built 30 water facilities (in the locations where drinking water was not accessible) and repaired 200 facilities, serving a total population of 267,000 people.

In addition to access to safe water, the project constructed 4,600 latrines in households. It also carried out intensive campaigns on improved hygiene practices with a focus on hand washing in schools and communities. This contributed to a 90% reduction of guinea worm cases and a 40% reduction in the reported cases of diarrhoeal disease among children under five years old. EU support helped to massively reduce guinea worm in Ghana, which in 2007 still reported 3358 cases: in 2011, the authorities of Ghana reported that the country had been free of reported cases for over a year.

The “EU Maternal Health Support Programme” (€52 million) will help the Ministry of Health to overcome bottlenecks in health services for women around the time of giving birth. 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 helping Ghana to reach its goal of reducing deaths during childbirth to 185 per 100,000 live births (2008: 451 per 100,000 ).

Some of the results that are expected from the Ministry of Health’s programme, with EU support:

• At least 2000 Community Health Nurses and midwives will be trained to meet demand.

• 150 district hospitals will be refurbished to meet the requirements of focused pre-birth care, with 540 staff trained

• Equipment to monitor pregnancy, labour, newborn and postnatal care will be improved (e.g. with procurement of 130 electronic foetal monitors (CTGs) and 57 ultrasound machines) and staff trained

• In the area of emergency obstetric care, approximately 4100 midwives will be trained in live-saving-skills, including assisted delivery

• Equipment such as generators, and solar power installations will be provided, operating theatres will be constructed

• Overall, the government programme is expected to save the lives of 13,870 mothers and babies during the project duration (2012-2015) alone.

EU cooperation on energy in West Africa

In West Africa only 30% of the population have access to modern energy, with less than 10% in rural areas. Power supply is often unreliable; overall, not enough energy is available to fuel economic growth, and the current energy sources (fossil fuels, fire wood etc) are harmful to the environment.

The EU institutions have contributed more than €450 million to energy programmes in West Africa in the last five years. Examples include:

In Burkina Faso (Zagtouli), EU is helping to fund the construction of the biggest solar power station in sub-Saharan Africa (EU grant €25 million). This will increase the share of the population that has access to electricity (currently 15%, with 3% in rural areas). It will also make the country less dependent on energy imports and on the use of fossil fuels. The new power station will have a capacity of 22MW, which corresponds to 10% of the country’s current annual production capacity.

Cross-border supply of electricity to rural communities in Togo from Ghana. Thanks to a contribution from the ACP-EU Energy Facility, this project has provided access to electricity to 60.000 people, to businesses and social services in Togo.

The European Commission’s Joint Research Centre: Research into the potential of renewable energy in Africa

As part of the Africa-EU energy partnership, the Joint Research Centre (JRC) has evaluated the potential of renewable energies in Africa. The work has been carried out in close cooperation with ministries, universities and research organisations from 40 African countries. Results have been published in a report entitled “Renewable Energies in Africa: current knowledge”. The conclusions highlight that rural communities on the African continent could benefit the most from the establishment of renewable energy systems.

As a next step, the JRC has launched a mapping initiative and has created a map of Africa’s competitive solar electricity potential. It shows 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).

Currently, the JRC and its African partners are working on similar maps which show the economic potential of on-grid solar, wind, mini-hydro and biomass energy. These maps are intended to serve as a tool for creating business concepts to accelerate the uptake of renewable energies in Africa, encouraging local entrepreneurship.

For further information

IP/12/1161: Visit of Commissioner Piebalgs to Ghana: “Ghana is a model of development”

JRC Report “Renewable Energies in Africa: current knowledge”:

JRC Map on photovoltaic solar electricity potential in Africa:



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