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President Cyril Ramaphosa and Ghanaian counterpart Nana Akufo-Addo sought to cement bilateral ties by signing commitments to co-operate in areas of international relations, transport and agriculture at the weekend.
Ramaphosa is on a state visit to Ghana as part of his four-nation tour to West African countries including Nigeria‚ Ivory Coast and Senegal.
The memorandums of understanding they signed are commitments by both countries to work together through bilateral and multilateral avenues to advance the African economic integration and development agenda as envisaged in Agenda 2063.
In a joint media briefing at the Jubilee House in Accra on Saturday evening‚ Ramaphosa and Akufo-Addo presented a united front on addressing poverty and recovery from the devastation of the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as the huge unemployment plaguing the countries.
Both governments‚ who enjoy a good relationship‚ signed four agreements including international relations‚ transport‚ agriculture and gender. Two more agreements are expected to be signed virtually.
“The Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is a means of achieving this and it confirms that the economic development of our continent is a responsibility that we share and from which we can all benefit‚” said Ramaphosa.
Africa‚ he said‚ needs to stop relying on others and focus on its industrialisation and increased manufacturing capacity.
Ramaphosa said: “It is about time that we develop regional value chains for our own agro-processed goods. We should further explore new areas of economic‚ trade and investment co-operation‚ especially in Ghana’s key sectors such as roads and railway infrastructure‚ mining‚ energy‚ manufacturing and agro-processing.”
SA has more than 200 companies registered in Ghana employing about 20‚000 Ghanaians and 500 expatriates‚ according to data from Ghana’s Investment Promotion Centre.
SA companies have over the past 10 years undertaken 170 projects in Ghana with a capital investment valued at more than $1bn.
Ramaphosa thanked the Ghanaian president for his unwavering support amid travel bans by some African state over the Omicron Covid-19 variant, saying: “We appreciate this show of solidarity from Ghana in the light of travel bans imposed by some countries on SA and sister countries in the region in response to the detection of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.”
Akufo-Addo said that the purpose of the visit was to “reaffirm the ties of co-operation and the bonds of friendship between the two countries”.
The two heads of state spoke at length about how the two governments can further boost their political and economic relations‚ cultural and people-to-people exchanges‚ as well as co-operation at the continental and multilateral levels.
He expressed his gratitude to Ramaphosa for supporting Ghana’s bid for the secretariat of the AfCFTA‚ and for a non-permanent seat at the UN Security Council.
“Ghana will make sure that Africa’s voice is heard loud and clear in the deliberations of the Security Council‚ both on matters affecting the continent and on global issues‚ and we will consult broadly to define Africa’s interests‚” he said.
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Published by Arena Holdings and distributed with the Financial Mail on the last Thursday of every month except December and January.