Koenders honoured with Ghanaian decoration

Development minister Bert Koenders was yesterday awarded a Ghanaian decoration, making him a Companion of the Order of the Volta. The decoration is conferred on non-Ghanaians for their dedication to Ghana and the international community.

Today, Mr Koenders attended the official reception of President Kufuor of Ghana by HM Queen Beatrix at Noordeinde Palace in The Hague. President Kufuor is in the Netherlands for a three-day State visit.

The Netherlands and Ghana have strong cultural and historical links and close economic relations. They have also long had a close development relationship. Since 1998, Ghana has been one of the Netherlands' partner countries for development cooperation. The Netherlands assists Ghana in areas including health care, the environment, water, good governance, and gender. The Dutch business community is also very active in Ghana. In recent years, Ghana has been the biggest recipient of the Private Sector Development Programme.

Ghana has made rapid progress in fighting poverty. From 1992 to 2006, Ghana halved – from 36.5% to 18.2% – the proportion of its population living in extreme poverty, making it the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to achieve Millennium Development Goal number one: to eradicate extreme hunger and poverty.