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Ghana, Equatorial Guinea must help make AU regional market - Akufo-Addo

BY: Daily Graphic
President Akufo-Addo exchanging pleasantries with the Ghanaian community in Malabo
President Akufo-Addo exchanging pleasantries with the Ghanaian community in Malabo

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has underscored the need for Ghana and Equatorial Guinea to be at the forefront in the process that will convert the African Union (AU) into a true continental market.

He said having a working continental market ought to be the fundamental objective of all the governments and the people of Africa.

President Akufo-Addo was speaking at a state dinner held in his honour by President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea in Malabo last Monday.

The President was in Equatorial Guinea on a three-day official visit intended to strengthen relations between Ghana and that country.

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African integration

With Ghana and Equatorial Guinea being two important members of the AU, President Akufo-Addo said, he was willing to do whatever he could to strengthen the AU.

“I believe it is extremely important for the welfare of the 1.2 billion people of the continent that we, the leaders, demonstrate a strong political will to make the AU an economic and political success and make the project of integration real. I am fully committed, and I know President Nguema Mbasogo is, too,” he said.

Continental market

The fact that Africa’s population was set to reach some two billion people in 20 years’ time, the President said, presented immense opportunities to the continent, with hard work, enterprise and creativity.

He said his three-day visit to Equatorial Guinea was to strengthen the bilateral ties that existed between the two countries, as well as explore areas of co-operation for the mutual benefit of their respective people.

The President noted that at the diplomatic level, the two countries had maintained strong relations for several decades, adding that he was following in the footsteps of three of his predecessors in the Fourth Republic who also paid official visits to Equatorial Guinea.

“They have laid a solid foundation for the relations between our two countries on which, with God’s help, I am hoping to help build a bright future of co-operation,” he said.

Joint Commission

President Akufo-Addo said he was hopeful that his visit to Malabo would restart the formal sessions of the Permanent Joint Commission of Co-operation between the two countries, since the last meeting was held in Accra in 2010.

He said he was keen to revive the air services agreement and re-establish direct flights between Accra and Malabo.

His government, he added, had also committed itself to expanding the Tema Port into a trans-shipment hub to improve sea trade within Africa.

Ghana’s energy security

As part of the measures put in place by the government to guarantee Ghana’s energy security, the President said, Equatorial Guinea’s proximity to Ghana made it one of the excellent sources for procuring reliable and sustainable Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) to augment Ghana’s domestic supply.

In June 2017, the ministers of Energy of the two countries signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in relation to the supply of LNG from Equatorial Guinea to Ghana.

“My presence here is a consummation of this bilateral agreement and represents a significant step towards matching Equatorial Guinea’s excess gas supply to Ghana’s ever growing demand.

“It is my expectation that during this visit, we shall sign a government-to-government Heads of Agreement for the supply to Ghana of LNG from Equatorial Guinea for a period of 15 years, reviewable every five years.

“If cocoa was the first seed to nourish the relationship between our two countries, gas is going to be the second,” he said.

The MoU provides that Equatorial Guinea supply the equivalent of 150 million standard cubic feet of natural gas per day to Ghana.

It also provides for the building and operation of an LNG regasification terminal in Takoradi.