Why Ghana’s Vice President Touted Relations With China At 60th Anniversary Symposium

Welcome ceremony at Kotoka International Airport for China donated medical equipment
Credit: China Daily

At a virtual symposium to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the establishment of Ghana-China diplomatic relations, Ghana’s Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, and other dignitaries spoke highly of the relations between China and Ghana.  

Co-organized by the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries and Ghana’s embassy in China, the symposium was addressed by High-ranking government officials from the two countries. Among them included Lin Songtian, president of the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, and Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, Ghana’s minister for foreign affairs and regional integration.

In his address, Vice President Bawumia said “on the economic trade and investment front, our two countries have deepened their cooperation. For the records, China is currently the largest investor in Ghana by the number of registered projects. It is also Ghana’s largest trading partner, with a total value of trade reaching a record of $7.5 billion in 2019, surpassing Ghana’s traditional trade pattern,” Ghana’s Graphic.com reported. The Vice president also admonished that “let this symposium be a platform for the exchange of ideas for the mutual benefit of the peoples of both Ghana and China.”

Ghana, according to the Vice president, is learning from China’s emphasis on intensive infrastructure development, especially in the transport sector, and is adopting this strategy to play a major role in supporting Ghana’s transformational initiatives. 

Touching on Africa’s new continental free trade area whose secretariat has been set up in Ghana’s capital Accra, the Vice-President is reported to have said “Ghana was leveraging its status as host of the secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement and urged Chinese investors to take advantage of the development and the conducive business environment in Ghana to access the continental market.”

According to Global China Daily, Bawumia stressed that there will be a significant shift in the way that business, and political engagements, is conducted across the globe and that Ghana-China relations can ride on the back of the new normal to create viable political, economic, social, and cultural partnerships that will define the two countries’ future in the post-COVID-19 era. 

On her part, Ghana’s minister for foreign affairs and regional integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey said “even though China is not yet out of the woods, it has, undoubtedly, amassed invaluable experience in the fight against this virus since its outbreak, and we are sure that Ghana, like many other African countries, can benefit from that experience. We, therefore, look forward to collaborating more in the fight against this pandemic.” The foreign minister also expressed hope that the existing excellent relations between Ghana and China would continue to thrive in the years ahead for the mutual benefit and prosperity of both governments and their citizens.

Lin Songtian in his speech appreciated Ghana’s firm support on issues related to China’s core interests, and its resolute opposition to hegemonism and power politics and stated that “the Chinese government actively encourages enterprises to invest and develop in Ghana and supports Ghana’s development of infrastructure construction, manufacturing and aviation industries, to boost its independent and sustainable development.” 

China is Ghana’s biggest trading partner, with the total value of trade reaching a record of $7.46 billion in 2019. According to a historical account on China-Ghana relations, “China has deep historical ties to Ghana. Indeed, a Chinese community has existed in Ghana since at least the 1940s. At that time Ghana’s status as a gold mining hub made it one of the fastest-growing economies in West Africa. Today many Chinese miners are still drawn to Ghana. As a result, it is the term “galamsey,” not “Huawei,” which is most often associated with China in Ghana. “Galamsey” is a term used to describe illegal mining operations in the West African country.”

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