President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has commissioned the University of Environment and Sustainable Development, in Somanya, in the Eastern Region, and cut the sod for the commencement of construction of Phase Two of the University.
At the ceremony, on Wednesday, 5th August 2020, at Somanya, President Akufo-Addo stated that the University of Environment and Sustainable Development (UESD), funded through the Italian Export Credit Agency, SACE, and the German bank, Deutsche Bank, is yet another example of the nationâ€™s commitment to providing quality education and skills training for the Ghanaian people.
â€œIndeed, this is the first university in the country with the mandate to provide higher education, research and disseminate knowledge on matters of sustainable development, the protection of the environment, and a focus on developing agri-business,â€ he added.
He continued, â€œAt a time when the worldâ€™s attention is focused on the attainment of the seventeen (17) United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, for which I currently serve as co-Chair of the Eminent Group of Advocates, the establishment of UESD could not have come at a more opportune moment in our nationâ€™s historyâ€.
With the country confronted with issues of deforestation, coastal and marine resource degradation, destruction of our biodiversity, climate change, pollution, sanitation, and the phenomenon of illegal mining, the President was hopeful that UESD â€œwill provide strategic leadership on environmental and sustainability issues, and grow quickly to become a centre of excellence in teaching and research in this very important niche area, not only in the country, but also on the continent and beyondâ€.
Execution of Phase One cost the nation forty-five million, five hundred and seventy-five thousand euros (â‚¬45,575,000.00), with the following facilities commissioned: lecture Hall for School of Natural and Environmental Science; multi-purpose auditorium for School of Natural and Environmental Science; laboratory building for School of Agriculture and Agro-Entrepreneurship Development; faculty offices (administration block) for School of Agriculture and Agro-Entrepreneurship Development; Vice Chancellor’s residency; Pro-Vice Chancellors’ residency; and key officers’ residencies
Furthermore, the President indicated that GETFund has released money, through the National Council for Tertiary Education (NCTE), for the payment of compensation to the original land owners, adding that â€œI have been assured that the outstanding amounts will be settled within the next two weeksâ€.
Following the completion of this process, President Akufo-Addo noted that the stage is now set for the rollout of Phase Two of the University, which will involve the provision of the following facilities: lecture halls; main library; laboratory; football pitch; handball/basketball court; badminton court; tennis court; and a tartan track.
â€œThe contract for Phase Two was signed on 6th May, 2020. It is a turnkey contract agreement with M/S Contracta, valued at forty-nine million, eight hundred and ninety-one thousand, ninety-eight euros (â‚¬49,891,098.00), to be completed within thirty (30) months of signature of the agreement,â€ he stressed.
The President was also pleased to announce that Government, through the Ministry of Finance, has granted financial clearance to the University to recruit an initial three hundred (300) staff to enable its smooth take-off.
â€œThe Interim Council is, moreover, expected to begin recruitment of its first batch of undergraduate students for the 2020/2021 academic year. I assure you that Government will continue to do all it can to help this University discharge its mandate, and grow to become a centre of excellence,â€ he said.
Indeed, the Ministry of Education, acting through the National Council for Tertiary Education, is currently in the process of providing vital logistical support to this University, because of Governmentâ€™s commitment to provide seed money to allow the University meet some of its most urgent operational needs.
Whilst thanking the contractor for this project, Messrs Contracta Costruzioni, for their commitment to the assignment, the President was confident that the next phase of the project will be carried out on time and on budget, so the University can have the full complement of facilities to help it maximise its potential to deliver quality teaching and learning, as well as cutting-edge research.
â€œEnhancing our nationâ€™s human resource is key to the development and transformation of our nation. An education that will produce dedicated, determined and disciplined graduates, who will be eager and willing to participate in developing our beloved Ghana, and to become her patriotic future citizens, remains our objective,â€ he added.