President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has underscored the need for members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to speed up the process of the integration of the sub-region.
That, he explained, would offer “immense opportunities to bring prosperity to our region with hard work, enterprise and creativity.”
With the population of the sub-region expected to hit 500 million in 20 years from its current population of 350 million, President Akufo-Addo said the integration of the ECOWAS was now more imperative.
He was speaking at a state dinner organised in his honour by the Guinean President, Professor Alpha Conde in Conakry last Thursday as part of his three-day tour of that country.
The President is in Guinea as part of his second leg of his three-nation West African tour to build on existing relations and explore further areas of cooperation between Ghana and other West African countries.
Peace and stability
President Nana Akufo-Addo said there was the need for the ambitious programme of economic transformation and integration of the ECOWAS countries to be hinged on the peace and stability in the sub-region.
“I am thus relieved, and I am sure I speak for all of us here, that the disturbing events of the last few days in our common neighbouring state of Cote d’Ivoire have been brought to a satisfactory conclusion, and that good sense has prevailed and enabled the crisis to abate peacefully,” he said.
The President called on West African countries to change the focus of their economies from the production and export of raw materials to adding value to the raw materials and industrialisation.
He said there was no future for the sub-region in the short, medium or long term, if its economic structures were dependent on the production and export of raw materials
“We must add value to these resources, we must industrialise and we must enhance agricultural productivity, if West Africa is to ensure the progress and prosperity of its peoples,” he stated.
President Nana Akufo-Addo expressed his delight at the reactivation of the Permanent Joint Commission on Co-operation between Ghana and Guinea.
“Cooperation in the development of our agriculture, education, science and technology, infrastructure, health, energy and culture, and the coordination of the exploitation of our mutual natural resources, such as bauxite, iron ore, gold and petroleum, would be of immense benefit to our two countries,” he added.
He proposed that the two countries hold the next session of the joint commission in Accra before the end of the year, adding “we must intensify the links between Ghanaian and Guinean enterprises, and, thereby, also hasten the process of regional integration.”
Touching on the long-standing bilateral relations that existed between Ghana and Guinea, President Akufo-Addo said he was hopeful that “our two peoples will continue to march side by side in solidarity in the search for progress and dignity for the African peoples.”
President Akufo-Addo applauded President Conde for the ongoing efforts to entrench democracy and the rule of law in Guinea to maintain unity and integrity in that country devoid of narrow partisan and ethnic considerations.
“It is a historic task, but one in which your lifelong struggle and sacrifices for Guinean democracy have prepared you adequately to undertake. We wish you well and Godspeed,” he added.
President Akufo-Addo was also thankful for the presence of his Guinean counterpart at his inauguration on January 7, 2017, and also for the presence of the Guinean Prime Minister, M. Mamady Youla, at Ghana’s 60th independence anniversary celebrations on March 6, 2017.