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Explore Africa through — Foreign Affairs Minister

BY: Kester Aburam
Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey (right), Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, and Dr Ian Borg, Maltese Minister of Foreign, European Affairs and Trade, exchanging documents after signing the MoU

The governments of Ghana and Malta have signed four separate agreements to deepen cooperation between the two countries, improve aquaculture and promote sports and education.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, signed the agreement for the 3rd Session of the permanent joint commission for bilateral cooperation between Ghana and Malta, while the Maltese Minister of Foreign, European Affairs and Trade, Dr Ian Borg, signed on behalf of Malta.

A Deputy Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Moses Anim, signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Fisheries and Aquaculture between Ghana and Malta, while Dr Borg represented Malta.

In a separate agreement on cooperation in the field of youth and sports development, the Minister of Youth and Sports, Mustapha Ussif, and Dr Borg signed the cooperation agreement.

On cooperation within the education sector, the Director of the Legon Centre for International Affairs and Diplomacy of the University of Ghana, Professor Emmanuel Debrah, represented Ghana, while Dr Borg signed on behalf of Malta.

Results

After signing the agreements, Ms Botchwey said it was imperative to transmit the cooperation between the two countries on paper into reality to advance the cause of both countries.

“Linking the private sectors of our two countries is extremely important because we need to be able to see very tangible results of our cooperation in terms of the economic trade investment ties,” she said.

Earlier at a bilateral meeting, the Foreign Affairs Minister called on investors from Malta to explore business opportunities in Africa, using Ghana as the gateway.

She said investors must not focus on the 31 million people in Ghana alone when making investment decisions, but must look at their access to Ghana as an opportunity to tap into the 300 million African markets.

Age-old cooperation

Ms Botchwey said her country treasured the strong relations between the two countries, a relation that dated back to the early 1970s, making reference to many cooperations, including the visit to Accra by the then Maltese President, Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, in 2017, which was reciprocated in 2019 by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs said the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, and the Juabenhene and Chairman of the Council of State, Nana Otuo Siriboe II, were both in Malta for a visit.

Ms Botchwey said those high-level visits saw the signing of agreements and MoU on bilateral cooperation, double taxation and visa waivers for diplomatic and service passports.

Mr Ussif told the Daily Graphic in an interview that the agreement signed would help promote sporting activities between the two countries.

The agreement, he said, was hinged on mutual benefits and would help scale the exchange of technical support and expertise between the two countries.

Great destination

For his part, Dr Borg, who led a 50-member business delegation to Ghana, said Ghana was a great destination and its political stability was admirable.

“We chose to open our first embassy in Sub-Saharan Africa and our choice was quite easy and natural to choose your country and we don't regret it,” he said.

“We don't regret it because you are the most politically stable country in the region.

And very much like-minded to us so I was not surprised,” Dr Borg said.

He said businessmen and women from Malta who had done business in Ghana in the past had only spoken well of the country, hence the decision to deepen cooperation.