Photo: President Akufo-Addo introduces his pick for Western regional minister Dr. Kwaku Afriyie

“Our roads are the worse in this country”, he said explaining that because the region has the highest rainfall in the country, roads deteriorate much faster than in others.

He said governments have often used the heavy rains the region experiences as an “excuse” to explain away the poor state of roads.

He said at the peak of the spread of HIV/AIDS, the prevalence rate recorded in the mining areas was one of the worst in the country.

Touching on the disruptive effect of illegal mining in the region, Dr. Kwaku Afriyie said he would need “24 hours to give you a whole lecture on environment degradation”.

The Western regional minister-designate said the call for development to match the region’s resource contributions is not a “jingoistic” demand.

“If government does not invest in Western Region, Ghana will forever remain poor” he warned. Dr. Kwaku Afriyie who is also a cocoa farmer said although Western region uses 1.6 hectares of land for cocoa farming, Ivory Coast which uses the same land size, exported more than 1.7 million tonnes of cocoa. Ghana did about 700,000 tonnes.

He found this disparity regrettable noting that Ghana has all that it takes to do two or three times more than it currently exports for cocoa if the right investments are made in the Western region.

With the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government plan to establish a factory in each of Ghana, 216 district’s, the regional minister-designate wants to suggest a cocoa waste processing factory in Sefwi area.

He said as a regional minister he will work to influence policies that affect his region.

“I will not be a static minister” he vowed to get involved in tackling the region’s problems.