President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, says Ghana stands ready to renew and deepen the ties of co-operation and friendship with France, for the progress and prosperity of their respective countries and peoples.
To this end, President Akufo-Addo has stressed that “we want our relations with France to be characterised by an increase in trade and investment co-operation, not aid.”
This, according to the President “is the way to develop healthy relations between our two countries, and put Ghana at the high end of the value chain in the global market place, and create jobs for the teeming masses of Ghanaians, particularly the youth. Our vision is to build a free, prosperous, independent country, a Ghana Beyond Aid.”
President Akufo-Addo made this known on Thursday, 30th November, 2017, when the President of France, His Excellency Emmanuel Macron, paid a day’s working visit to Ghana.
The President noted that Ghana, under his leadership, has decided to turn her back on the old economy, which is dependent on the production and export of raw materials, stressing that “we want to build a value-added, industrialised economy with a modernised agriculture, which is neither victim nor pawn of the world economic order.”
Recounting the bonds of friendship that exist between the two countries, President Akufo-Addo indicated that Ghana and France have strong ties in trade, investments, civil and security co-operation, amongst others, with statistics indicating that French investments in Ghana totalled €1.5 billion in 2015, making Ghana the seventh-biggest destination of French investments in sub-Saharan Africa.
Nonetheless, the President believes that “we can improve on this. To this end, my government has put in place measures to make Ghana the most business-friendly economy in Africa. These measures are aimed at attracting investment into Ghana, as well as stimulating growth of the private sector.” With Ghana bordered to the north, east and west by French speaking countries, President Akufo-Addo stated that “we recognise the strategic importance of our immediate neighbours, and of France, to the development of our country.”
It is for this reason, he said, that, during his time as Minister for Foreign Affairs in the government of the former President of the Republic, His Excellency John Agyekum Kufuor, he was privileged, on 28th September, 2006, to lead the negotiations at the Francophonie Summit in Budapest, Romania, presided over by the then French President, His Excellency M. Jacques Chirac, which resulted in Ghana becoming an Associate Member of La Francophonie, without first having to be made an Observer Member.
Again, with the French language set to become one of the world’s most commonly spoken languages, by 2050, President Akufo-Addo noted that “our lives, therefore, as Ghanaians, are intimately linked with the francophone world, and this strategic association should serve as a big boost to addressing some of our mutual concerns.”
He added that, “Ghana’s strategic interest requires that we actively promote regional integration of the countries of West Africa, grouped in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).We have to play a central role in hastening the process of creating a genuine regional market out of ECOWAS, which is dominated by francophone countries.”
The President explained that the integration of West Africa will provide a ready market for the free movement of our goods and services, critical in Ghana’s quest to transforming and modernising our economy.
President Akufo-Addo assured President Macron that Ghana stands shoulder to shoulder with France in the promotion of human rights on the African continent, the rejection of terrorism as a legitimate means of resolving political issues, and “in attempting to develop our economies to provide opportunities for its citizens to fulfil their aspirations, especially the youth.”
He also expressed the appreciation of the Ghanaian people to “France’s courageous commitment and participation in the fight against terrorism in Mali and the rest of the Sahel, which has brought you (President Macron) to the region three times within this short period of 6 months of your stay in office.”