The Editor of the Daily Graphic, Mr Kobby Asmah, has entreated the European Union (EU) to increase its person-to-person and institutional relationship in the country to deepen collaboration.
While acknowledging the EU’s impact at the governmental level, he said there was the need for the union to also turn its attention to the micro level to affect the lives of ordinary people at the grass roots.
As part of such engagements, the editor suggested that the EU expanded its assistance to the education sector by offering scholarships to brilliant, needy students to pursue their education in EU countries, saying “if this is done, it will go a long way to increase the EU’s scope in the country, as well as give opportunities to individuals to pursue higher education”.
Mr Asmah made the appeal when the Head of the Political Section and Deputy Head of Mission of the EU Delegation to Ghana, Mr Pieter Smidt Van Gelder, called on him and the Editorial team of the paper at the head office of the Graphic Communications Group Limited (GCGL) in Accra yesterday.
The visit was to enable Mr Van Gelder, who assumed duty in September this year, to introduce himself and to interact with members of the editorial team as he also familiarised himself with activities in the Graphic newsroom.
The Deputy Head of Mission sat in the morning editorial conference of the Daily Graphic during which members critique their work and also strategise for the week ahead.
Mr Asmah expressed the commitment of the Daily Graphic to continue to serve the nation by maintaining their leading role as the voice of the voiceless, saying it was always important for stakeholders such as the EU to collaborate with the GCGL and share ideas on how to work together to better the lot of the people.
“For us at Graphic, our doors are always open because we are here to serve the people, so get us busy by engaging us more,” he added.
He commended the EU for its continuous support for Ghana and other countries in Africa.
For his part, Mr Van Gelder said the EU had earmarked some priority areas for support in the country and mentioned agriculture, climate change, education and sanitation as some of the beneficiary sectors.
He added that it also recently organised an EU-Ghana business summit, an EU platform created for business partnerships between Ghana and the European Union.
In May every year, the delegation also holds an EU Week to foster relationships between EU citizens living in the country and Ghanaians.
Mr Van Gelder further said the delegation had extended its Erasmus Mundi scholarship scheme for international students to include Ghanaians.
He, therefore, asked interested persons to take advantage of a workshop it planned to organise at the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ) in Accra for the students and their counterparts from the Accra Technical University and the Regional Maritime University.
On elections, Mr Gelder expressed the EU’s commitment to support Ghana’s 2020 general election, saying “we will be monitoring the upcoming District Assembly and Unit Committee elections”.
He commended Graphic for its major role in the media space in Ghana and the sub-region.
Over the years, the EU has collaborated with Ghana on a wide range of issues including politics, economics and trade.
Ghana signed a €323 million National Indicative Programme agreement under the EU Development Fund which spans 2014 to 2020.
The programme will support three priority areas of governance, agriculture, employment and social protection to enhance Ghana’s human capacity and also make local businesses and the economy competitive in the face of expected open trade between Ghana and the EU.
From 2008 to 2013, the EU also allocated about GH¢1 billion to support Ghana’s budget.