Rwanda and Ghana have resolved to tighten bilateral relations with a broad, varied economic agenda at the core.
This week, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Republic of Rwanda, Dr. Vincent Biruta travelled from Rwanda to Ghana to take part in a series of events that will help to strengthen and consolidate diplomatic and economic cooperation between two countries that have expressed commitment to see increased trade volumes among Africans.
Towards this end, the President of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo has met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Republic of Rwanda, Dr. Vincent Biruta at the seat of Ghana’s government in the capital Accra, during which the two governments pledged their commitment to make the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement (AfCFTA) work.
The commitment of the two governments comes as a major boost to intra-Africa trade prospects ahead of the implementation of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area agreement, set to come into force on January 1, 2021. It is expected that the coming into practice of AfCFTA agreement will increase the share of intra-Africa trade by 50% between 2020 and 2040 and bring together over 1.2 billion people and a combined economy in excess of US$3.4 trillion.
Earlier, Dr. Vincent Biruta and Ghana’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Mrs Shirley Ayorkor Botchway signed a General Cooperation (GCA) agreement that will see the two countries deepen cooperation on a wide range of sectors including trade and industry, tourism, and education.
Besides the GCA, Minister Biruta shared details of other agreements currently underway to further streamline relations between the two countries.
“We are also working to conclude bilateral agreements in the justice sector as well as in the areas of finance and trade that I am convinced will be finalized soon.
The agreements in finance and trade will unlock an incredible number of potential business opportunities between our two countries. Ghana, with the headquarters of the AfCFTA Secretariat, understands the importance of intra-Africa trade, especially as we try to rebuild our economies following the socio-economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic”.
While in Ghana, Dr. Vincent Biruta also met with the private sector operators of Ghana at a business luncheon that revealed the significant interest of Ghanaian businesses in trading with Rwanda.
The climax of the visit of Dr. Biruta to Ghana was to join his Ghanaian counterpart, Ayorkor Botchway at a high-level ribbon-cutting ceremony to inaugurate the High Commission of the Republic of Rwanda in Ghana. The event was attended by heads of various diplomatic missions in Ghana, business executives, the Rwandan Community in Ghana and the media.
The opening of chancery in Ghana’s capital, Accra is a further indication of the commitment of the government of Rwanda to deepen bilateral cooperation with Ghana and contribute to the greater development and improvement of the lives of both the Rwandans and Ghanaians.
Dr. Biruta at the official inauguration event said: “Our well-established diplomatic relations have been materialized by the continued engagement between the leadership of the two countries at the highest level. The Rwanda Resident Mission in Accra further comes to cement these existing relations.
“This decision to make an investment in the future of our relationship is based on a firm conviction that there is a huge potential to strengthen the many links and interests that we share for the benefit of our respective people.
“We are also working to conclude bilateral agreements in the justice sector as well as in the areas of finance and trade that I am convinced will be finalized soon now that we have a High Commission in Accra…Ghana, with the headquarters of the AfCFTA Secretariat, understands the importance of intra-Africa trade, especially as we try to rebuild our economies following the socio-economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our Multilateral cooperation will also be enhanced with the presence of a Mission here, and we look forward to continuing to support each other’s country on the international scene where we often share the same African agenda including the reforms of the African Union and the Sustainable Development Goals.”
Dr. Vincent Biruta also met the Secretary-General of the AfCFTA Wamkele Keabetswe Mene who expressed optimism that strengthened relations between Ghana and Rwanda in trade set a practical example that African countries, given the right support and political will, can trade together for the betterment of the continent.
Currently, trade between African countries is low, hovering below 20 percent and the increased relations between Rwanda and Ghana is an upliftment to the continental-wide agenda to increase trade volumes among countries on the continent.