Ghana and Malta have agreed to step up relations between their two countries, with a view to driving investment opportunities in them and enhancing co-operation and partnership in their development efforts.
Towards that end, a Business Forum between the chambers of commerce of the two countries, as well as with the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), has been scheduled to take place at the Accra International Conference Centre today to identify trade and business opportunities that exist and which could be mutually beneficial to the two countries.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo announced this when he jointly addressed a press conference with the President of Malta, Madam Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, after a meeting between the ministerial teams of the two countries.
“Our deliberations also centred on driving investment opportunities, domestic and foreign, in our two countries and the need for enhanced co-operation and partnership in our development efforts,” he said.
Exploring areas of mutual benefit
He said the ministerial teams held discussions aimed essentially at strengthening the already cordial relations that existed between the two countries, as well as exploring other areas of co-operation for the mutual benefit of the two peoples.
“Our discussions centred on improvement in the volumes of trade between Ghana and Malta, mutual support for candidates from our two countries vying for positions with international organisations, issues of migration, the deepening of political consultations on matters of mutual interest to the two countries, among other issues,” the President said.
According to him, the visit by the President of Malta was a landmark one, as it was the first time a sitting President from the Republic of Malta was paying a State Visit to Ghana, just as it was also the first time a President from Malta was visiting a country south of the Sahara.
He said as member states of the Commonwealth, the two countries shared similar aspirations and values and had collaborated effectively on several matters over the years, particularly at meetings of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings (CHOGM).
A major outcome of the meeting between the two governments, the President said, was the reaffirmation of their commitment to collaborate further and provide mutual support at both the bilateral and the multilateral levels.
“Her Excellency the President of Malta and her team resolved to give voice to Ghana’s cause and interests at the European Union. We, on the other hand, will also help facilitate the provision of a platform for enhanced economic engagement between Malta and the member countries of ECOWAS. This should boost trade volumes and help bring prosperity to our peoples,” he said.
United Nations reforms
President Akufo-Addo also reported that Ghana had reiterated its commitment to the reforms of the global political order and made it clear that the inability of the United Nations to undertake reforms of its institutions to reflect the realities of our times and not the realities of the post-war world represented a manifest injustice against the people of Africa.
“We, on this continent, are an integral part of the global order and global institutions should reflect this fact. For a handful of states who emerged as the dominant powers in the world after the Second World War of the 20th century to continue, in the 21st century, to be the sole arbiters of international security remains, to us, a structural deficit which the world community should no longer tolerate.
“The Ghanaian team, thus, stressed the importance it attaches to the process of UN Reform, especially of the UN Security Council, as set out in Africa’s Common Position on UN Reform based on the Ezulwini Consensus, and solicited the support of Malta for this position.
“It is time to correct the long-standing injustice that the current structure and composition of the UN Security Council represent for the nations of Africa. Her Excellency and her delegation shared this sentiment and expressed Malta’s desire to collaborate with Ghana to this end,” he said.
President Nana Akufo-Addo said it was also agreed that Ghana and Malta extend support to candidates from the two countries vying for positions in international organisations.
Ghana, he said, had, therefore, given support to Malta's bid for membership of the Council of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), for which elections would come off later this year.
Malta, on the other hand, he said, would support Ghana's bid for a Non-Permanent Seat at the UN Security Council from 2020 to 2021, saying that support mechanism had also been given to the candidature of Prof. Henrietta Mensah-Bonsu as a judge at the International Criminal Court (ICC) and that a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to that end would be signed after the sessions by the Foreign ministers of the two countries.
Safe migration and re-integration
On the issue of migration, the President said: “We have seen and continue to see the high numbers of young Africans taking distressing risks across the Sahara and around the Mediterranean, trying to reach a better life.”
He said while governments strived to provide the youth with the right environment in Africa, which would enable them to enhance their skills, receive appropriate training and have access to digital technology and enhanced economic opportunities, the Maltese President and her delegation had reiterated their commitment to champion the need for the humane treatment of illegal migrants, as well as the protection of their human rights, in accordance with international law, both at home and on EU platforms.
The President said Ghana had been included in the list of beneficiary countries of the EU’s Emergency Migration Fund.
The fund, he explained, was designed to assist in the return and re-integration of citizens into society, saying the government would collaborate with “our friends from the EU and Malta in this regard and, at the same time, help find solutions to the factors that trigger illegal migration”.
“We hope that as we shape the future of Ghana and position Ghanaian enterprises to compete effectively in the global market space, we have friends, such as the Republic of Malta, to support us in this objective,” he prayed.
Delighted to be in Ghana
Madam Preca, for her part, said she felt proud to be the first Maltese Head of State to visit a country south of the Sahara.
She said she was convinced that the flourishing connections and excellent relations between Malta and Ghana would reap positive benefits in the best interest of the peoples of the two countries.
“It is evident that Ghana is a rapidly developing country, a country of extensive natural beauty, a country of rich ethnic and cultural diversity, a country of great possibilities and potential,” she said.
Madam Preca said she was delighted to note that the discussions between her team and its Ghanaian counterparts had been extremely constructive and managed to catch up with a variety of important issues of interest to the two countries.
“It is positive and I would say it is exciting that we have agreed that there is much more to be done to further explore the potentials of our countries,” she stressed.
Creating the most friendly business environment
Earlier, she had paid a courtesy call on the Vice-President, Alhaji Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, who, in his welcoming remarks, informed the Maltese President that the focus of the government was to create the most friendly business environment in Africa.
Towards that end, he said, a number of policies and programmes had been rolled out to give convenient operating space to the private sector.
Madam Preca also said she had come with a business delegation to explore the opportunities that abound for the benefit of the peoples of the two countries.