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Environmental sustainability is key initiative

Article - September 13, 2012
Heavily reliant on agriculture, the country's Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology ventures to address climate-related issues and develop innovative solutions
In the West African country of Ghana, 55% of its economy is dependent on agriculture, with the cocoa industry considered to be a key driving force. With the recent worldwide droughts – from which Ghana has not been immune – the Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology has shown vision and commitment to ensure solutions to climate-related issues, not only in agriculture, but also in housing, water and infrastructure. Additionally, the Ministry is advocating for the use of local building materials as well as corporate responsibility within local communities.

“The government is [coming] up with policies oriented to developing a green economy with a low carbon footprint.”

Sherry Ayittey, Minister of Environment Science and Technology

“The government is now bringing all of the policymakers together to see how best we can come up with policies oriented to support our national climate change policies, and develop a green economy with a low carbon footprint,” explains Sherry Ayittey, Ghana’s Minister of Environment, Science and Technology. She adds that along with the government’s renewable energy initiative to have 10% of its energy consumption provided by green sources by 2020, her department is dedicated to R&D to support sustainability in the agricultural sector, trying to develop measures such as drought-resistant crops and innovative irrigation measures to ensure sustainability and food stability for Ghanaians. 

This economic stability is further enhanced by the ministry’s initiative to use more local building materials for government infrastructure projects and housing. With a current housing deficit of 1.5 to 2.5 million units, the subsequent building will not only provide employment for the local workforce but also save the country $200 million annually in importing materials.

According to Ms. Ayittey, Ghana has three clay depositories that can last for 3,000 years and are an integral part of brick production.

The country is also rich in minerals and relies heavily on mining. Ms. Ayittey indicates that the government monitors mining companies to ensure they are positively contributing to their communities. “We want people to know that when a mining company enters a community, the community must benefit directly.”