President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo Wednesday commissioned the University of Environment and Sustainable Development (UESD) at Somanya in the Eastern Region.
The new university, funded through the Italian Export Credit Agency, SACE, and the German bank, Deutsche Bank, will providing holistic training for environmental and sustainable development professionals in Ghana.
It will offer general and specialized degree programmes and research in climate change, water resources development, energy sustainability, energy economics and policy, urban architecture, natural resources and environmental economics, environmental policy and environmental science.
The facilities commissioned in the first Phase of the construction of the UESD include 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 for School of Agriculture and Agro-Entrepreneurship Development; Vice Chancellor's residency; Pro-Vice Chancellors' residency; and key officers' residencies.
At a ceremony at the ultra-modern campus of the UESD, President Akufo-Addo noted, the establishment of the institution was yet another example of the nation’s commitment to providing quality education and skills training for the Ghanaian people.
“Indeed, 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,” he said.
The President further noted that with the country confronted with issues of deforestation, coastal and marine resource degradation, biodiversity destruction, climate change, pollution, sanitation, and the phenomenon of illegal mining, the establishment of the UESD could not have come at a more opportune moment in the nation’s history.
He was hopeful that university "will 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 beyond”.
President Akufo-Addo, who also broke the ground for the commencement of construction of the second phase of the University, disclosed that government spent an amount of €45,575,000.00 for the execution of the first phase of construction of the institution.
He indicated that the Ghana Education Trust Fund had released money for the payment of compensation to the original land owners, and that this had set the stage for the start of Phase Two of the university, which would cost some €49,891,098.00.
Scheduled to be completed within thirty 30 months, the second phase of the construction would involve the provision of lecture halls, a main library, laboratory and a sporting complex.
The President announced that Government had granted financial clearance to the University to recruit an initial 300 staff to enable its smooth take-off.
He said the Education Ministry, through the National Council for Tertiary Education, was in the process of providing vital financial and logistical support to this university, to enable it meet some of its most urgent operational needs.
The Preaident also disclosed that the Interim Council of the UESD would soon 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,” he said.
The President urged the project contractor, Messrs Contracta Costruzioni, to deliver on the set time for the second phase of the project, just as it did for the first stage, to enable the University have the full complement of facilities to deliver quality teaching and learning.
“Enhancing our nation’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,” he said.