By Iddi Yire, GNA
Accra, April 23, GNA - Ghana and Suriname on Tuesday signed four separate agreements as part of efforts to strengthen the bilateral relations between the two nations.
The signing of the agreements, which took place in Accra, was initialled by Madam Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, Ghana's Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration and Madam Yldiz Pollack-Beighle, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Suriname for their respective countries.
The agreements include a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the establishment of a Political Consultations Mechanism between the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Ghana and Suriname.
Others are agreement between the Governments of Ghana and Suriname on Visa Exemption for Holders of Diplomatic and Service Passports.
A Roadmap on the Programme of Cooperation for the period 2019-2023 between the Governments of Ghana and Suriname and a Letter of intent for Cooperation and Collaboration in the Field of Diplomacy and International Relations.
Madam Botchwey, in her remarks, referred to the longstanding historical relations between the two countries, culminating in the establishment of Diplomatic relations in the 1970s.
Madam Botchwey reiterated the importance Ghana attached to the relations and its determination to work towards transforming same into strong economic cooperation for the mutual benefits of both countries.
She noted that the signing of the four agreements demonstrated the desire of the two countries to translate their relationship into concrete projects for their mutual benefits.
She expressed support for specific areas for collaboration, such as trade and investments, agriculture and agro-processing, mining and tourism.
Madam Botchwey pointed out the need for the establishment of a Ghana-Suriname Permanent Joint Commission for Cooperation, which according to her was the ideal framework for their engagements.
She urged the two countries to go beyond the agreements to be signed to initiate trade-related instruments such as an Agreement on the Avoidance of Double Taxation and a Bilateral Investment Treaty to guarantee investments for our economies.
She said the two countries could also collaborate in the areas of education, culture and tourism.
She informed her Suriname counterpart about "the Year of Return" and encouraged the participation of tourism-related agencies from Suriname in the activities of the Year.
Madam Botchwey who said Ghana was the gateway to the West African sub-region briefed her guest on policies put in place by Government to make Ghana a business-friendly country.
These include digitisation of major public institution and services, significant tax cuts, and other measures to reduce the cost of borrowing and stimulate private sector growth.
She assured her counterpart that Ghana and Suriname, as members of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) Group, would continue to engage in discussions pertaining to the Post-Cotonou Negotiations and the future of the ACP Group Post-2020.
She noted that the two countries, as members of the United Nations; had shared values and aspirations and need to strengthen their multilateral cooperation in areas such as the UN's Agenda 2030 on Sustainable Development Goals.
She also congratulated her Suriname counterpart in advance for the intended opening of the Embassy of Suriname in Ghana.
Madam Botchwey expressed Ghana's desire to also establish a diplomatic representation in Parsamoribo to help strengthen bilateral ties and promote issues at mutual Interest.
Madam Pollack-Beighle, who is part of the Vice President of Suriname Mr Michael A. S. Adhin's delegation, on a five-day visit to Ghana, on her part, said to enhance people to people connectivity between the two countries, there was the need for a direct flight from Suriname to Ghana.
She noted that their delegation's participation in the climax of the 20th anniversary celebration of the enstoolment of Otumfuo Osei Tutu, the Asantehene in Kumasi showed that the two countries had common interest.
Madam Pollack-Beighle, who said Suriname was implementing a similar policy as the "Ghana Beyond Aid" agenda, also lauded Ghana's free education policy.