Accra, March 3 (IANS) Twenty-five more Ghanaians will be beneficiaries of the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation Programme (ITEC) this year and will broaden their knowledge base. Last year 125 slots were offered to Ghana.
India spends over $12 million annually on ITEC. Since its inception in 1964, the programme has benefitted thousands of students and professionals from Africa as part of India's contribution in technical assistance to developing countries. The programme trains professionals in projects and related activities, deputation of experts abroad, study tours, donation of equipment and aid for disaster relief.
Indian High Commissioner Rajinder Bhagat said the number of slots was raised to 150 following increasing demand from people in the West African country.
One of the recipients, Regina Esi Tetteh, a purchasing officer of the ministry of education, told IANS: "My work has greatly improved with the knowledge I got from the training in India."
Tetteh, who studied database administration under the programme in 2011, said: "l was introduced to e-commerce, which has helped to boost my understanding of keeping data of all our suppliers, and their products, thus enhancing the way we used to source goods in the past."
Another person who studied in India under the programme is Samuel Kitcher. Currently a recruitment officer at the ministry of finance, Kitcher said: "My studies in India have greatly improved my work because it enabled me to bring changes into the way things were done in the past and thus enhance productivity."
Kitcher said India has advanced its economy and Ghana has a lot to learn from that country.
"We have observed that more Ghanaians are taking advantage of the ITEC programme and making use of the slots that are allocated to the country," said Bhagat. "During the 2012-13 financial year, Ghanaian professionals and students have been able to utilise all the ITEC slots earmarked for Ghana."
It is not just highly trained professionals who have been trained under the programme. Olivia Marfo and Victoria Noi, who are secretaries at the ministry of education, said that they have seen improvement in their work on their return to Ghana from India.
"There were a lot of packages that I never knew how to use which as a secretary was necessary to make me more productive, but thanks to the ITEC programme, I have been able to get trained and can now say that I am a better secretary than I used to be," Marfo said.
Noi said: "The use of Excel as part of the packages that I learned to use during my training in India has been very beneficial to me. It has been able to add more value to my work because the office where I work does not have to look for people to prepare very simple documents in excel since l can now do that. It may sound very simple but it is indeed something that I so much cherish."
For other participants who studied non-technical programmes under ITEC, they got an opportunity to see what has been able to move India into a very fast-growing economy.
Gabriel Amegatsey, who works with the social welfare department, said he studied poverty reduction in India.
"It has helped me to get a better understanding of what poverty reduction really is. My programme enabled me to take a good look at India and see how it has been able to tackle the issue of poverty reduction. Ghana can learn from India because poverty reduction needs good infrastructure and institutions that helps the poor," Amegatsey explained.
Amegatsey hopes to make some suggestions to put in place a "solid strategic plan which is very important to help address poverty in Ghana." He is very passionate about the issue, saying: "If one country has done it, it means that we can also follow in its footsteps by putting in place what is necessary to achieve results."
Under the ITEC and its corollary, Commonwealth Assistance Proramme for African Countries (SCAAP), 158 developing countries are invited to share in the Indian development experience acquired over six decades of its existence as a free nation.
(Francis Kokutse can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)