Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, Ghana’s Senior Minister Yaw Osafo-Maafo and Eni’s CEO Claudio Descalzi have inaugurated the Okuafo Pa Agricultural Training Center in Dormaa East, Bono Region on Thursday.

The centre is a pilot initiative of the Africa Project which aims to support economic diversification in the agricultural sector through skill transfer and business support, in particular by means of self-sustaining agricultural consortia.

During the event, Eni and Cassa Depositi e Prestiti, in its capacity as a financial institution for international cooperation for development, signed a Cooperation Agreement for the definition of sustainable development initiatives in the agri-business sector. The agreement also provides for a joint definition of mechanisms to facilitate access to credit in favour of local communities and to use available international funds to promote sustainable development initiatives.

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The Okuafo Pa campus extends over an area of 40 hectares and includes experimental laboratories and farming areas; it will provide theoretical and practical vocational training to 800 students per year in the agricultural, agri-food and zootechnical fields. The training courses are developed in collaboration with local universities, and trainees can focus either on farming courses or agri-business courses.

“Professional training and skill acquisition is a precondition for social and economic development. Eni intends to play an active role in defining virtuous paths for sustainable growth in the countries in which it operates, and this project is a concrete example of what we can do if we pool our resources and those of our partners,” said Claudio Descalzi.

The project, developed by Eni in collaboration with the Government of Ghana, is now enhanced by the collaboration with Cassa Depositi e Prestiti which will ensure the

identification of the most appropriate mechanisms to access credit, as well as Coldiretti and  Bonifiche Ferraresi, which will guarantee support in the start-up of agricultural activities.

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The initiative is aimed at achieving the United Nations 2030 Agenda’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), in particular SDG 1: no poverty; SDG 4 quality education; SDG 5: gender equality; SDG 6: clean water and sanitation; SDG 8: decent work and economic growth; SDG 12: responsible consumption and production; SDG 17: private-public partnerships.