The maiden Ghana-China Economic and Culture week is underway as part of activities marking the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Ghana and China.
The week-long event, held via zoom is on the theme, “60 years of great friendship: building back stronger and better, a shared Ghana-China future beyond COVID-19”. It is aimed at strengthening the friendship between both countries and to mitigate the socio-economic impact of the Novel Corona Virus.
Mr Charles Owiredu, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration said 60 years in the life of an individual and particularly relations between States were great milestones worth celebrating.
He said Ghana established diplomatic relations with China shortly after becoming a Republic in July 1960, one of the first African countries to do so. The personal friendship between the first President of Ghana, President Nkrumah, and Chairman Mao laid a strong foundation for the burgeoning relations between the two countries at the time.
He said over the years, the relations between the two countries have been nurtured and strengthened by successive Ghanaian and Chinese Leaders and the relations have become more robust and diverse, touching practically all conceivable spheres of development, notably in trade and investment, culture and education.
He said the two countries have continued to cooperate at the multilateral level as they worked together to ensure a just, equitable and peaceful international order.
“On the economic, trade, and investment fronts, our two countries have deepened their cooperation. China is currently the largest investor in Ghana by the number of registered projects. It is also Ghana’s biggest trading partner with the total value of trade reaching a record of 7.46 billion U.S. dollars in 2019, thereby surpassing our traditional trade partners.”
Mr Owiredu said while both countries took stock of the achievements of Sino-Ghanaian relations over the years, it was important to explore new areas of cooperation in the years ahead that would not only spur the economic growth of Ghana but also aid it to replicate the spectacular economic success of China in the past forty years.
“To achieve this, Ghana is leveraging its status as host of the Secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area. Chinese investors are, therefore, urged to take advantage of this development and the conducive business environment in Ghana to serve as a springboard to access the continental market.”
He said with the world hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, a new normal was gradually being created, including a significant shift in the way business and political engagements would be conducted across the globe, thus Ghana-China relations could ride on the back of it to create viable political, economic, social, and cultural partnerships that would define their future in the post-COVID-19 era.
“With Ghana’s leadership and voice on the African continent, Ghana-China relations post-Covid-19 has the potential of becoming a blueprint for other bilateral and multilateral relations in our continent.”
Mr. Edward Boateng, Ghana’s Ambassador to China, said Ghana and China have enjoyed fruitful exchanges over the years and the relationship had been of great benefit to both countries and their people.
He said the introduction of the Forum on China Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in the years 2000 has provided a more formidable platform for this bilateral relationship and the rest of Africa.
He said it was important for both countries to occasionally take stock of their achievements and challenges and find new approaches to their cooperation through initiatives like the Ghana-China Economic and Cultural Week.
Mr Boateng said the outbreak of the Novel Coronavirus early this year has put a heavy burden on countries across the world on many fronts and has affected economic and cultural activities between the two countries.
He said the celebration of the week provides both countries with the opportunity to discuss and find solutions to the negative impact of the pandemic on the cooperation between both countries.
He said with the lineup of activities for the week, both countries could take a comprehensive stock of the 60 years’ relationship and discover new areas that they could work together to surmount the challenges presented by the covid-19 pandemic in the new era.
Mr Musa Frimpong, Founder, and CEO of Duapa Africa said Duapa was committed to increasing new and innovative forms of cooperation between Ghana and China.
He said trade and investment would only be sustainable if there was a common understanding between both sides through cultural and people-to-people exchanges, adding that more support was needed from the governments and other stakeholders from both countries to support these new forms of cooperation beyond economics.
Other activities throughout the week including fora on education, health, business, innovation, tourism, job, and startup competition were all designed to give the Ghana-China relationship a new and practical approach.