Ghana-China trade sees further growth - Ambassador LU Kun
Bilateral trade volume between Ghana and China reached an unprecedented high at US$10.2 billion last year, with Ghana's exports to China surging by 60 per cent.
Mr Lu Kun, the Chinese Ambassador to Ghana, who stated this, added that his country remained Ghana's largest partner and major foreign investment source for years, thus offering significant opportunities for their peoples.
The Ambassador was speaking at a reception to mark the 74th Anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China.
Hosted by Mr Lu at his official residence, in Accra, and attended by high profile dignitaries, including the Second Lady, Mrs Samira Bawumia, the Finance Minister, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, the Minister for Works and Housing, Mr Francis Asenso-Boakye, members of the Diplomatic Corps, the Chinese business community and residents in Ghana, the grand reception was charaterised by rich Chinese cultural displays.
In 2021, the bilateral trade volume was US$9.57 billion.
China mainly imports mineral fuels, oils and distillation products, ore slags and ash, wood and articles of wood, cocoa and cocoa preparations, copper and aluminum from Ghana.
Ghana's main imports from China include machinery, iron and steel, electrical and electronic materials.
This year marks the 63rd anniversary of the diplomatic ties between China and Ghana, a friendship nurtured by Chairman MAO Zedong, Premier ZHOU Enlai and President Kwame Nkrumah.
Ambassador Lu said: "Over the past 63 years, China and Ghana have always supported each other and worked in solidarity, safeguarding the shared interests of the two countries and the Global South."
China, last year, invested in a number of companies, including Sunon Asogli Power (Ghana) Limited Company, African World Airlines, steel, ceramic and cement factories.
These, he said, had helped to create jobs and boosted industrialisation for Ghana.
Last month, he noted, the Sentuo Oil Refinery Limited, investment an of a Chinese private company, began operation as the single largest investment in Ghana over the last decade.
"People to people exchange is among the priorities of China-Ghana cooperation. In April 2022, vocational institutions upgrade project was completed. Last June, a Luban Agriculture Workshop was commissioned, providing vocational skills training for local farmers," said Ambassador Lu.
"There have been three Confucius Institute in Ghana, in the University of Ghana, the University of Cape Coast, and the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology respectively," he said.
Additionally, he said, more than 6,500 Ghanaian students studied in China, ranking it the second among all African countries for many consecutive years.
"Since this year, China-Ghana cooperation has yielded fruitful results, delivering tangible benefits to the Ghanaian people,"the Ambassador emphasised.
He recounted: "In March, the China-aided Annex Building of the Foreign Ministry began construction. In May, China joined the Official Creditor Committee of Ghana as the Co-Chair and helped Ghana secure the IMF 3 billion US dollars deal in record time. In June, China-aided military building began construction. In July, the 43rd fleet of the Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy visited Ghana."
Additionally, the Ambassador said the Embassy donated relief items to flood victims in Volta Region, while a Chinese medical team was in Ghana to provide free clinical service.
"In August, the China Visa Application Center in Accra officially opened and Hon. Botchwey, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration came to visit."
On developments in his country, the Ambassador said since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, the country embraced the centenary of the CPC.
It ushered in a new era of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and eradicated absolute poverty by lifting 100 million rural residents above poverty line, thus meeting the targets of the United Nations SDG 10 years ahead of schedule.
"In the past 11 years, China has made great efforts to promote high-quality development, contributing more than 30 per cent to global growth on average with per capita GDP exceeding 12,000 US dollars."
Those strides, Mr Lu said were achieved because China adhered to the philosophy of people-centered development, creating 13 million new urban jobs on average each year and a middle-income group of over 400 million people.
He, therefore, urged Ghana to maintain it's relations with China to surmount the regional and international challenges.
"As long as China and Ghana stay together, we will surely bring prosperity for the two peoples. China-Ghana relation will become stronger and closer."
For his part, Mr Asenso-Boakye, who represented the President, lauded China for being a dependable partner in Ghana's socio-economic development efforts over the years.
Ghana was appreciative of support received in various sectors of the economy notably - education, health, road infrastructure, defence, agriculture, communication, and fisheries.
He noted that although trade between the two countries remained stellar, there was still the need for balanced trade and investment.
It was, therefore, imperative to find new avenues for economic cooperation to enable the commercial partnership to grow further.
"We, in Ghana, believe that by fostering a win-win cooperation with the People's Republic of China, Ghana, will have a greater chance of realising its developmental objectives," the Minister added.