Ghanaian ports join UNCTAD Training Programme

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The Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) and the port communities of Tema and Takoradi are to join UNCTAD’s Port Training Programme (PTP). Mr. Ben Owusu-Mensah, Director General of GPHA, announced the decision during a fact finding mission by an UNCTAD team of port experts 14-18 April. The Port Training Programme is part of UNCTAD’s TrainForTrade, which helps developing countries acquire the skills needed to participate more effectively in the global economy. Working with key players such as government officials, business groups, NGOs and regional authorities, TrainForTrade focuses on teaching the intricacies of international trade, investment and trade-related services. It aims to give developing countries the ability to pass on the necessary skills, knowledge and judgement domestically, so that they can develop autonomously. TrainForTrade projects asses training needs in individual countries and then establish programmes to meet these needs.
Given the importance of maritime transport in the international trade of goods, ports play a key role in providing developing countries with access to international markets as well as promoting local and regional trade. The increasingly sophisticated nature of global port operations makes training essential. The Port Training Programme, which has been in operation for the past 10 years, helps port communities in developing countries to respond to the training requirements of middle managers.
Ghana is a maritime hub for the West African region, and its two main ports have seen growing volumes of cargo during recent years. Tema – the most recent and largest of the two – handles 80% of the nation’s import and export cargo, while Takoradi handles large volumes of transit cargos for inland countries, such as Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger. The two ports are a vital economic link for Ghana and its neighbours. The inclusion of Ghana in the Port Training Programme was first discussed at an international coordination meeting for English-speaking port communities in Dublin, Ireland in June 2007, which launched the English-speaking Port Training Network. Following the conference, UNCTAD conducted several missions in Asia and Africa to assess needs of local ports in the areas of human resources development, training and capacity building as part of the drive to implement the English-speaking network. These activities are funded by Irish Aid, the Irish development agency, and carried out in cooperation with the Dublin Port Company.

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