The Chinese Hanergy Group is investing one billion U.S. dollars to construct a 400-megawatt (MW) solar power plant to help boost Ghana’s energy needs, Zhou Youbin, Charge d’Affaires at the Chinese Embassy, said here Thursday.
Zhou, who was speaking at a day’s natural resource conference, said: “China, as a traditional friend and an important development partner over the years, has spared no efforts in supporting the development and construction of Ghana.”
The conference was on the theme “Natural Resource Governance and Management in Ghana: The Stride Towards an Efficient use of our Natural Resources”.
Zhou listed numerous projects the Chinese government had undertaken in Ghana such as the western corridor gas infrastructure development project, construction of the 400- megawatts Bui Dam, and the Kpong Water Supply Expansion Project.
He emphasized that the Chinese government would continue to build on the capacities of local people in the area of natural resources management.
To this end, he said some 30, 0000 African professionals were being trained under the African Talents Program in various sectors.
China, he noted, became the biggest investor in the past year in the cocoa, gold oil producing West African country’s economy.
“In 2014, statistics about China-Ghana cooperation is inspiring. Ghana’s export to China and Chinese Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows to Ghana has both surpassed one billion dollars, making China the biggest investor of Ghana in the past year,” he said.
The Chinese envoy mentioned problems facing foreigners in the natural resource governance of the country as including the acquisition of land and rising resource nationalism, which had plagued many resource-rich countries and their development partners.
He further called on the Ghanaian authorities to streamline and boost the vitality of small-scale mining since the sector contributed about one-third of the total gold production and 100 percent of the country’s diamond in 2013.
“The most important thing is to balance the interests of the stakeholders, mainly the government, mining communities and the investors. Policies to ensure the healthy and sustainable development of the mining sector should be designed as soon as possible,” Zhou appealed.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Institute of Green Growth, Dr. Eric Twum, organizers of the conference, said the synergy between Ghana’s resource availability, management and associated resource use benefits had over the years and in most cases not been fully met.
“Our institutions are not the best despite the numerous efforts. We are saddled with inefficiencies, uncertainty and difficulties in management, among others when natural resources come to mind,” Twum said.
Ghana, Dr. Twum said, lost about 90 million dollars and 70 million dollars due to stability agreements in the mining and oil and gas sectors in 2011 and 2012 respectively.
He therefore appealed to political leaders to desist from politicizing issues of natural resource governance and management.