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The World Bank Country Director for Ghana, Mr Henry Kerali has launched the fifth IFEJ-Flamingo Awards for business and financial journalism with a call on financial journalists to continue to pursue excellence in the area of financial and business journalism.

He therefore urged the members of the Institute to focus on topical issues that are likely to bring change and development.

The Theme for this year is “Towards better management of natural resources for inclusive growth and development”.

This year’s launch was sponsored by the World Bank and Accra Brewery Ltd producers of Club Beer and other soft drinks

Mr Kerali said the World Bank recognises the strenuous efforts financial make throughout the to take business and financial journalism to higher levels

Below is the full speech of the country director

The World Bank is once again very happy to partner with the Institute for Finance and Economic Journalists to Launch the 5th IFEJ-Flamingo Awards on the theme: “Towards better management of natural resources for inclusive growth and development”.

We commend IFEJ for the pursuit of excellence in journalism, particularly in focusing on topical issues every year and encouraging its members to inform, educate and promote dialogue to advance Ghana’s development. We are proud to have been part of efforts that established IFEJ in 1990.

We recognize the strenuous efforts you have been making throughout the years to take business and financial journalism to higher levels.

The World Bank is happy to be a major sponsor of the Flamingo Awards since its inception in December 2014. The World Bank has since sponsored the ultimate award with a package that enables the winner to participate in the World Bank Group Spring Meetings in Washington.

The World Bank Group mission is to end extreme poverty and promote shared prosperity in a sustainable way. This recognizes the role of the media to support efforts to improve management of natural resources for inclusive growth and development.

Ghana is endowed with abundant natural resources that could provide the basis for its economic transformation

We will continue supporting Ghana among others to harness the revenues from natural resources to be invested in the development of much-needed infrastructure, such as energy, transport, housing, ICT, etc. We believe this would generate further employment and improve livelihoods, and also yield significant returns and benefits to future generations.

Natural resources are critical for Ghana’s economic growth, jobs and poverty alleviation. Activities based on land, water, forest and fisheries resources contribute more than 20 percent of GDP and 60 percent of jobs, including 53 percent of women’s jobs. Thus, good natural resource management is necessary for inclusive growth. Many industrialized and developed countries (including Australia, Canada, Sweden, Norway, United States, South Africa and Botswana) have depended on the exploration and extraction of minerals as the basis for their economic development.

However, Ghana is depleting its natural resource wealth whilst missing opportunities for economic transformation. This is reflected through:

• Poor land and water management practices which have led to accelerated erosion, and siltation of water bodies, land degradation and increasing desertification.
• Deforestation which is highest in the cocoa-forest landscape of the High Forest Zone.
• Ghana’s fish resources are heavily overexploited. Lack of effective management of the resources has resulted in depletion of the fish stock, with little returns for investment in management and value addition.
• We all know about “galamsey” – Artisanal gold mining has significant negative impacts on the environment and human health due to destructive mining methods and rampant use of mercury.
• Air pollution contributes to nearly 27,000 premature deaths each year.
• Poor coastal area management is a serious challenge in Ghana.

Since 2000, per capita economic losses due to natural resource degradation doubled from US$100 to US$200 per person per year today. In 2006, analysts put the cost of these environmental degradations at more than 10 percent of GDP.

Key elements for improving the management of natural resources include:

• Strengthening coordination among environment and natural resource management institutions to improve efficiency and translate national development plans into focused actions.
• Improving governance of forests and landscapes, protect standing forests and address pressures from agricultural expansion of cocoa farms and artisanal mining, among others.
• Encouraging natural resource stewardship and stakeholder consensus by supporting communities at the grass root level to manage natural resources.
• Addressing severe land degradation and water pollution from mining by enforcing existing policies at national and local level.
• Improving understanding of Pollution and Environmental Health issues, design better solutions and better inform the public.
• Addressing coastal development and the blue economy in a sustainable manner.
• Managing its fish resources in a sustainable manner by Implementing the Fisheries Management Plan (FMP) for 2015-2019 to rebuild the resource.

The World Bank Group will continue to support Ghana under its Country Partnership Framework to help achieve its long-term development aspirations, through sustainable management of its environment and natural resources.

Going forward, we intend to continue supporting IFEJ and the media to report better on issues of environment and natural resources and other sectors of the economy in a bid to empower the media and all stakeholders to help Ghana achieve tangible development results.

A Ghana Beyond Aid, calls for an independent media which is empowered and energized to inform and educate the public to make informed choices to help propel the growth of Ghana.

Finally, allow let me take this opportunity formally to Launch the 5TH IFEJ-Flamingo Awards for Business and Financial Journalism, to open the process of receiving published stories and articles that meet the criteria under the nine selected categories, in addition to the Overall Best Business and Financial Journalist Award,

Best Business/Manufacturing Feature/News story,
Best Finance Feature/ News story,
Best Business of Health feature/News,
Best in Local Economy feature/News,
Best Development Feature/News story,
Best Tourism Feature/News story,
Best Agribusiness Feature/News story,
Best Natural Resource Feature/ News story and
Best Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Feature/News Story.
Download the Full IFEJ-Flamingo Awards 2018 Doc here
Thank you for your kind attention and best wishes to all the participants.

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