GHANA-UK relations date back centuries ago when the first British arrived in what was then the Gold Coast to trade in gold and other items which gradually led to the growth of British influence, culminating in the whole of the Gold Coast becoming a colony of Britain in 1902.
Although Ghana obtained its independence on March 6, 1957 and subsequently attained Republican status on July 1, 1960, the socio-cultural and economic ties between the two countries have remained and blossomed over the years.
Not unexpectedly, therefore, Ghana and the UK have many things in common, to the extent that the country has greatly been influenced by British values and institutional arrangements, while many Ghanaians also live in the UK. The two have also played joint key roles in the United Nations, the Commonwealth and regional groups to push for peace and development across the globe.
It is instructive to note that by historical tradition and choice, Ghana's political future is linked with that of Britain and the Commonwealth of Nations.
To say the two nations have enjoyed fruitful relations over the years will be an understatement, underpinned by reciprocal visits by leaders at all levels of the two countries. In terms of economic assistance, we have not forgotten the UK’s help in education, health, water and sanitation, among many other areas of economic aid and collaboration. In the area of trade, the UK remains a major and strategic partner, being Ghana’s sixth trading partner in terms of imports and fourth in terms of exports.
But while the Daily Graphic commends the two countries for their trade relations over the years, we are not enthused by the fact that while Ghana’s imports from the UK have grown by five per cent over the last five years, its exports to the UK have declined by over 46 per cent within the same period.
We appreciate President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s concern when he expressed worry in that respect when he met the Prince at the Flagstaff House in Accra, especially when viewed against the backdrop that the UK, at a time, was Ghana’s largest trading partner.
We are happy to follow the Prince’s itinerary since his arrival and we hope the knowledge he gains as he makes his rounds and the experiences gathered will end in productive bilateral decisions that will be to the benefit of both countries.
Particularly, we add our voice to that of the President and ask the Prince to use his influence to help prop up the volumes of exports from Ghana to the UK.
We encourage him and his entourage to do well to identify the many economic and investment opportunities that abound in the country, especially the laudable programmes that the current government has rolled out for the accelerated development of the country, in order to invest to help create more jobs for the citizenry to help the country attain the status that the UK rightly envisaged for Ghana as the first African country south of the Sahara to gain independence from colonialism.
While the country hosts the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, we reiterate the concern the President expressed over post-Brexit. We are quite apprehensive, especially when we are unsure of the economic impacts and their implications.
But we believe in the ability of the British to rise to the occasion to ensure as minimal effect as possible for economically weak countries such as Ghana.
Welcome, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, and have a happy and comfortable stay in Ghana.