Chris Koney’s column: Ghana-Germany relations – a conversation with Ambassador Daniel Krull

Ghana-Germany relations – a conversation with Ambassador Daniel Krull

In July 2021, Ambassador Daniel Krull assumed a new role as Head of the German Embassy in Accra, Ghana after serving as the Coordinator for German Personnel in International Organizations, GFO Berlin from 2020 to 2021. Prior to that, he was the Regional-Coordinator for Migration and Refugee Policies at the German Embassy in Ankara, Turkey between 2018 and 2020.

Ambassador Krull served as the ‘Head of Mission ad interim’ of the German Embassies in Iceland and Venezuela and was previously deployed in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the United Nations in New York, USA and Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. In the German Foreign Office Headquarters, he has managed the Office of State Secretary G. Boomgarden, worked in the departments for Economic and European Affairs and as speechwriter for the German Minister of Economic Affairs, Günther Rexrodt.

A couple of weeks ago, I was privileged to interact with Ambassador Krull at the German Embassy in Accra. Calm and collected, he is a man poised for the task ahead and possesses a compelling passion to learn about the new world he finds himself in to enable him deepen the relations between the two countries and make a remarkable impact. This became obvious when we commenced our conversation on the state of bilateral relations between Ghana and Germany.

Over the years, Ghana and Germany have had a great relationship and collaborated in several fields. Ghana has since become an important partner to Germany and a trusted friend within the West African sub region. This is evident with Ghana’s inclusion in the G20 Compact with Africa under Germany’s G20 Presidency in 2017 as well as the conclusion of a bilateral reform and investment partnership the same year.

In addition, the signing of agreements between the two countries for the establishment of an automobile assembly plant, the supply of technologies for the construction of a hybrid solar/hydro power plant and the supply of technologies for the construction of a vaccine factory in Ghana proves the great relations between the two countries. Germany remains a key trading partner for Ghana, which imports vehicles, machinery and chemical products from Germany. On the other hand, Germany imports cocoa and crude oil products from Ghana.

“Before arriving in Ghana, I was absolutely thrilled when I learned about the diversity of relations between Germany and Ghana. I was surprised to hear so many good stories and experiences from people in Germany whenever I mentioned my Ghana posting. I was very impressed with the non-governmental relations just as Ghana’s important role and significance to Germany on the governmental level in the region and beyond. It is important to assist Ghana to become a success story in a region where insecurity is on the rise,” Ambassador Krull revealed.

Ghana has emerged as one of Germany’s most important trading partners in sub-Saharan Africa with bilateral trade between the two counties estimated at 628 million euros in 2018. I enquired about plans by the German government and the German embassy in Accra to introduce key initiatives aimed at increasing the trade volume between the two countries on both sides.

“The trade volumes are surprisingly positive despite the coronavirus pandemic which is a good sign and an indication of growth. We have seen a slight slowdown in the numbers in July, but certainly, the volumes stay more or less the same. I have seen the figures for this year and they are pointing in the same direction so that is a positive sign.

There is certainly room for improvement and my government has put a lot of emphasis in encouraging private investments to grow. There are some initiatives in the Compact with Africa to ensure that this materializes by helping small and medium size companies to grow to a level where they become capable to cooperate with German companies on eye level. We have a natural interest to support our partners to grow, develop and become a relevant partner for our industries,” he added.

There are currently multiple bilateral partnerships between Ghanaian universities and their German counterparts. The University of Education, Winneba, and the Ghana Institute of Languages, at its campuses in Accra and Kumasi, offer programs in German as a Foreign Language as well as in German Studies and Translation. On education, the Ambassador spoke about deepening partnerships between these institutions and the possibility of more Ghanaian students studying in Germany.

“There is a focus on Ghanaians going to Germany to study in the fields of natural science, informatics, mathematics and studies related to agricultural development and engineering. There is a big demand for that and I am positive when these students are able to go to Germany for their studies, it will become very important to the development of our bilateral relations in the future,” he indicated.

Around the world, inequalities are not only driven and measured by income, but are determined by other factors such as gender, age, origin, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, class, and religion. These factors determine inequalities of opportunity and continue to persist, within and between countries. With the prevalence of gender discrimination, social norms and practices, women and girls become exposed to the possibility of child marriage, teenage pregnancy, child domestic work, poor education and health, sexual abuse, exploitation and violence.

Ambassador Krull highlighted the basic principle of Germany’s cooperation including equal rights, equal obligations, equal opportunities and equal power for women and men and further stated what they are doing for women in Ghana.

“We are currently putting emphasis on empowering women when it comes to access to the internet and the digital space because we believe it is a key feature for future empowerment.

We just signed a memorandum of understanding with the Ministry of Communications to run training for women and young girls particularly in rural areas in order to access the internet and take advantage of it to better their own lives. There is also the digitalization bit for small and medium scale enterprises alongside some financial support to help them to become successful,” he explained.

Commenting on the government of Ghana’s ‘Ghana Beyond Aid’ agenda, Ambassador Krull said, “I think it’s the right ambition you will need when you want to move your country forward. It is about setting out some priorities and working on them. The president if I understood him right, is not looking at where he is going to get money from as aid but rather setting the right goals based on the areas for growth and then look at those interested in supporting that to materialize. Certainly there are German companies in the areas of construction, automobile and energy working on having their presence in the Ghanaian market.”

Ambassador Krull urged the Government of Ghana to create an enabling environment for businesses to thrive, as it will naturally attract investments into the country. “It is important for government to help to minimize the cost of doing business in the country and most of the German companies in Ghana have called for an equal playing field. When you look at import duties, some companies are following all the rules which makes imports from Germany into Ghana relatively expensive and now they need to compete in the market with products coming from illegal channels through other countries into Ghana,” he further stated.

Under his leadership as the Head of the German mission in Ghana, Ambassador Krull hopes to take Ghana – Germany relations to the next level. By the time he ends his duty tour, he hopes the volume of the development cooperation money needed will decrease and the volume of foreign direct investment available from German companies for Ghana will significantly increase.

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