-As Vice Prez calls for new areas of cooperation
Trade between Ghana and the Peoples Republic of China is now estimated at US$7.5billion, recorded in 2019, as the latter also tops as the country’s largest investor by registered projects, Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia has revealed.
According to Dr. Bawumia, while economic cooperation between the two countries continues to progress, there is also a need to consider new areas of collaboration that contribute to accelerating economic growth for Ghana, and also to “replicate the spectacular success of China over the last 40 years”.
To achieve this, he said, Ghana is leveraging its status as host of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat. He therefore welcomed Chinese investors to take advantage of this development and the conducive business environment offered by the country as a springboard to access the continental market.
“The African Continental Free Trade Area Secretariat has positioned Ghana to become a major trading hub of the West African Region,” he added.
He equally also noted that the ‘Belt and Roads Initiative’ – a global infrastructure development strategy adopted by the Chinese government – also presents new diplomatic and economic opportunities for Ghana. This, he said, can transform the financial, manufacturing, and technology sectors by connecting Ghana to new markets across the globe.
Dr. Bawumia was addressing a virtual symposium organised to commemorate the 60th anniversary of establishing Ghana-China diplomatic relations, and acknowledged that China’s emphasis on intensive infrastructure development, especially in the transport sector, is being adopted locally.
This, he said, is being used in government’s transformational initiatives such as the One District, One Factory (1D1F) programme by opening up important transport routes for marketing domestic products.
The Vice President indicated that the outbreak of COVID-19 is leading to a significant shift from the way business and political engagement will be conducted across the globe.
He therefore anticipates Ghana-China relations “to ride on the back of the ‘new normal’ to create a viable political, economic, social and cultural partnership that will define our future in the post-COVID-19 era”.
He said Ghana-China’s relations post-COVID-19 have the potential of becoming a blueprint for other bilateral and multilateral relations on the African continent.
Dr. Bawumia early in his address mentioned that, over the years, relations between the countries have been nurtured and strengthened by successive Ghanaian and Chinese leaders, as well as by the people of both countries. However, he stated that under the current leadership, relations have become more robust and diverse.
Ghana established diplomatic relations with China shortly after becoming a republic in July 1960 and was one of the first sub-Saharan African countries to do so.
At the multilateral level, the two countries have recorded significant achievements – including Ghana’s backing of China’s re-admission to the UN in 1971 among others. China, on the other hand, has also been an ardent supporter of the Common African Position (CAP) for the proposed reform of the United Nations (UN).
The Vice, while commending efforts which have helped to sustain the strong relations between the two countries over the years, noted that: “This symposium is a measure of the depth of our relations”.
The event was held under the theme ‘60 years of Ghana – China Diplomatic Relations: a journey worth celebrating and pondering’. It was organised by the Centre for African Studies – Beijing University, and the Centre for West African Studies at the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China.
The president of the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC) said traditional relations between the two countries which date back to the 1960s are firmly cherished, and have thus been sustained.
He said the frequent engagements between leadership of the two countries have played a significant role in achievements realized so far.
On the back of phenomenally-growing trade value recorded in recent times, he noted that the Chinese government has been actively encouraging enterprises to invest in Ghana, supporting Ghana’s infrastructure development, manufacturing and education sectors.
He said this, among others, is aimed at enhancing Ghana’s capacity for self-sustainable development.
The Minister of Foreign and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, giving brief remarks during the virtual symposium’s virtual symposium opening ceremony, commended the feat attained by the two countries.
She noted that Ghana and China continue to cooperate at many levels in the relations between the two countries, emphasising that relations between the two Ministries of Foreign Affairs have especially been deepened over the years.
The Minister of Foreign and Regional Integration also acknowledged China’s support during the outbreak of COVID-19 in the country, while pledging Ghana’s continuous support in the fight against COVID-19.