Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia (right) in a tet-a-tet with Irchad Razaaly, the Ambassador of the European Union to Ghana, after the dialogue.
Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia (right) in a tet-a-tet with Irchad Razaaly, the Ambassador of the European Union to Ghana, after the dialogue.

Ghana, EU engage in partnership dialogue

Every year, Ghana and the European Union (EU) engage in a partnership dialogue, to celebrate key achievements, learn valuable lessons, and to set political priorities for the coming year.

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 The 2024 EU-Ghana dialogue was chaired by the Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, and co-chaired by the Ambassador of the European Union to Ghana,  Irchad Razaaly. Key participants included the 10 ambassadors of the EU Member States resident in Ghana, and representatives from the relevant Ministries. We got both Excellencies to sit down after the dialogue for a double interview.

Here are excerpts of the interview conducted by the Press and Information Team of the European Union: 

Interviewer: Vice-President Bawumia, let me start with you. What was on the agenda at the May 6 dialogue?

Vice-President Bawumia: In preparation we had identified a lot of areas of common interest. We covered all the 18 topics in little over 4 hours (chuckles), already an achievement in itself. Front and centre were the areas of collaboration that benefit the Ghanaian people, and its youth in particular. We discussed education, support for Technical and Vocational Training, our trade relations, but also the role of technical innovation and digitalisation. 

Interviewer: Mr Vice-President, how have you seen the relation with the EU evolve over the years?

Vice-President Bawumia: Well, the context evolved considerably since I assumed office in 2017. First, we were confronted with a declining economy. Few years later, the President and I guided the country through a global pandemic unprecedented since the Great Depression. Throughout this all, we steered the country away from catastrophe, together with our international partners. We created 2.1 million jobs between 2017 and 2022, while boosting access to health care and education. Many of these achievements relied not only on effective government programmes, but also on close friends and allies, like the European Union.

Interviewer: Mr Vice-President, how important is the relationship with the European Union to Ghana? 

Vice-President Bawumia: Our relationship with Europe has deep roots, going back decades, even centuries. As Vice-President, I have always appreciated our partnership as one that is based on shared interests and mutual respect. We collaborate on energy, job creation and economic diversification. Did you know that every year, nearly 1,000 Ghanaians students benefit from a scholarship to study to Europe? It’s clearly an important partner to us. 

Interviewer: Ambassador, how important is the relationship with Ghana to the European Union? 

EU Ambassador: Ghana is a strategic partner to the EU. With Ghana, we stand shoulder-to-shoulder in defending democracy and the rule of law in a region that has witnessed increased instability in recent years. We share the same commitment to uphold a rules-based multilateral order. In that regard, we appreciate Ghana’s stance against Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, now two years after the full-scale invasion. Ghana and the European Union both strive for more sustainability, and more local added-value for Ghanaian economy. In the end, our partnership is about ensuring a better future for the next generation.

Interviewer: Looking ahead, how do you see the relationship between the EU and Ghana further evolve?  

EU Ambassador: The EU is here to stay. We take a long-term perspective as a partner to Ghana for the future. Our Member States largely contributed to the infrastructure of the country. We invest in technology, agriculture, health, science and education, and so many other critical fields, such as energy. Just one example: Ghana’s health sector is receiving a major boost with the EU Global Gateway strategy. Together, the EU and Germany contributed nearly 55 million euros to make Ghana a major vaccine manufacturing hub in Africa, like Rwanda Senegal and South Africa. Moving forward, the EU and Ghana are keen on further deepening cooperation on renewable energy, climate action and digitalisation. These areas reflect our commitment to sustainable development, inclusive growth, and building a resilient future for all citizens.

Vice-President Bawumia: I see a bright future for the Ghana-EU partnership, particularly once I’m elected President (smiles). When speaking with the business community, I feel a strong appetite from EU private sector to further invest in Ghana. My bold solutions will be to simplify our taxation system, enhance the country’s Internet penetration, and further expand our ports. These are all concrete steps that will improve our business climate, an important step to further deepening Ghana-EU trade relations. The EU-Ghana partnership holds immense potential for both parties. For Ghana, it presents opportunities for technology transfer, sustainable development projects and capacity building. The EU stands to benefit from access to a dynamic market, cultural exchange and collaborative ventures that drive innovation and prosperity on both fronts.

Interviewer: Ambassador, what do you like best about Ghana? 

EU Ambassador: Ah, what’s not to like? I admire Ghana’s culture, the kind demeanour of its people, the cuisine. Ghana has introduced sobolo and wagashi into my life – now part of my weekly diet.

Interviewer: I also noticed that you entered the ring at the Bukom arena last Saturday. How did it go? 

EU Ambassador: I will need a few more days to fully recover, but was above all humbled by the opportunity. Last Saturday’s exhibition fight at Bukom arena was to honour the living legend, Azumah Nelson. It also offered a platform to engage a larger youth audience and showcase the potential of sports to empower the youth. Together with the political dialogue, the boxing event was a highlight of our annual Europe Month celebrations.

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