Accra, Dec. 6, GNA - The Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, has underscored the need for enhanced trade and investment between Ghana and the European Union (EU) in a veritable spirit of partnership.
Addressing the 2018 Session of the Ghana-EU Political Dialogue in Accra on Thursday, Vice President Bawumia said since last year’s dialogue between the two sides, there had been an increase in the number of trade missions from the EU member states to Ghana, and a sharp climb in investments, in line with the Government’s vision of “Ghana Beyond Aid”.
The dialogue was held under the theme: “EU Partnering Ghana Beyond Aid”, which brought together key stakeholders from Ghana and the EU, including eminent Ambassadors, Ministers of State and technocrats to discuss socio-economic issues of mutual interest.
It also created a unique platform for frank and constructive exchange of ideas and sharing of information that would deepen and strengthen their relations and transform their economies for the benefit of their peoples.
The meeting was co-chaired by Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia and Ambassador Diana Acconcia, the Head of the EU Delegation to Ghana.
Vice President Bawumia recalled the meeting held on November 7, last year, between the two sides and noted that, the progressive made so far was remarkable since it would enhance their mutual agenda.
He said the themes chosen for this year and last year’s dialogues reflected the collective resolve of the two sides to re-orient their co-operation towards the attainment of the “Ghana Beyond Aid”.
The Vice President noted that, the significance of such dialogue would create synergies for their economic developmental agenda, consistent with international best practices and standards.
He urged the discussants to be candid and forthright throughout the deliberations in order to give meaning to the collaboration and cooperation between the two sides.
“This dialogue is to build on the achievements recorded since last year’s event, deliberate and make concrete proposals that would advance our common interest, contemplate solutions to the challenges confronting our two continents and consider pragmatic ways to strengthen Ghana’s capacity towards industrialization, and a brighter future,” Vice President Bawumia pointed out.
He was of the belief that the conclusion to be reached at the meeting would provide a better vision and guidance on how they would collectively proceed within their common areas of interest and further mould the quality and strengthen their partnership in the years ahead.
He acknowledged the enormous support Ghana had received from the EU partners and conveyed government of Ghana’s appreciation to them for their useful contributions.
He used the opportunity to thank His Excellency Diana Acconcia, the Head of the EU Delegation to Ghana for her new role as the EU Ambassador and the tremendous contribution of her predecessor, Ambassador William Hanna for the unrelenting enthusiasm towards the strengthening and deepening of the relations between the EU and Ghana.
The Vice President expressed optimism that the tenure of Ambassador Acconcia would witness further elevation, noting that, the relations with member countries of the EU delegation to Ghana had been excellent and fruitful over the years due to their convergence of views on matters of mutual importance both internationally and on bilateral engagements.
“The mechanism for dialogue provided for by the Cotonou Agreement have not only given us simple opportunity to regularly engage and exchange ideas in a frank transparent atmosphere, but has also brought us closer in the spirit of a good partnership, ”the Vice President noted.
He observed that the geographic proximity between Africa and Europe and the historical relationships between the two continents made the choices each one takes impact greatly on one another.
Ambassador Acconcia, the Head of the EU delegation to Ghana, on her part, said Africa had become a priority to the EU, and acknowledged the life-transforming policies rolled out by President Nana Akufo-Addo’s administration, including the One-district, One Factory, Free Senior High School policy and other flagship programme, saying that, it would help in the realisation of the “Ghana beyond Aid” agenda.
He said Ghana had attracted international attention due to its political stability, rule of law and tenets of good governance and was of the belief that such dialogues would go a long way in finding solutions to their challenges and realizing the common goal of economic growth that would be mutually beneficial.
Ambassador Acconcia pledged the EU’s commitment to continually support Ghana in achieving her development agenda, noting that, the Economic Partnership Agreement between Ghana and the EU allowed the nation to access the EU market without any restrictions.
She said the EU would continue to strengthen its relations with Ghana, noting that, the EU was re-shaping its relations with Africa that would be mutually beneficial.
Madam Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, in a speech read on her behalf, said since the establishment of the European Commission in Ghana about 42 years ago, the co-operation had been mutually beneficial.
She said about half of all Official Development Assistance received by the country came from the EU, and also the key partners in the areas of grants and technical assistance.
She said the EU remained Ghana’s main foreign trading partner, offering free access to its market through the Framework of the Interim Economic Partnership Agreements (iEPA).
Some of the topics and presentations made at the meeting include Investment/Business Environment; Trade, the Africa-Europe Alliance Jobs and Growth Compacts, the Implementation of the Interim Economic Partnership Agreement and Multilateral Affairs and Regional Integration.