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Denmark not leaving Ghana — Ambassador Tove Degnbol

BY: Kate Baaba Hudson
Mrs Tove Degnbol proposes the toast, while her husband, Mr Lars Udsholt and Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful respond.
Mrs Tove Degnbol proposes the toast, while her husband, Mr Lars Udsholt and Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful respond.

Demark is not closing down all development activities and leaving Ghana because of the transition from aid to trade, the Danish Ambassador to Ghana, Mrs Tove Degnbol, has stated.

On the contrary, she said the embassy had recruited new staff to prepare and manage the different types of collaboration that would form the country’s focus in the future.

With Ghana’s impressive rise in wealth, she said, cooperation between the two countries was now in transition from large Danida-funded programmes to new forms of engagement.

Mrs Degnbol made this known when she addressed ministers of state, members of the diplomatic corps and traditional and religious leaders at a reception to mark the 170th Constitution Day of Denmark in Accra.

She said part of the new activities earmarked included the strategic sector cooperation between Danish and Ghanaian authorities in the maritime sector, water resources and in statistics.

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“The business team at the embassy continues to have their hands full receiving potential investors from Denmark who are coming to Ghana to explore business opportunities in areas such as water supply, waste management, green energy, agriculture and food and the maritime and infrastructural sectors,”she said.

She added that the cities of Tema and Aarhus, the second largest city in Denmark, were in strategic cooperation on water management.

In line with this, therefore, she said she would soon travel to Denmark with the Mayor of Tema and Ghana Water Company to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Mayor of Aarhus.

“There will be focus also on waste management and non-revenue water,” she said and added that in Tema, like in many other cities in Ghana, the loss of clean water from the treatment plant to the tap was up to 50 per cent.

The Ambassador stated that Aarhus had become a leader in the world in this field as there was only five per cent water loss, saying both parties looked forward to collaborating and to exchange experience.

Anti-Corruption Conference

Ambassador Degnbol recalled that in October last year, she had the pleasure of travelling to Denmark with a delegation from Ghana.

She said the Deputy Minister of Finance, Mr Kwaku Kwarteng; the Auditor General, Mr Daniel Domelevo, and the Special Prosecutor on Anti-Corruption, Mr Martin Amidu, participated in an International Anti-Corruption Conference in Copenhagen.

She indicated that together with civil society and media representatives from Ghana, they were very visible and vocal representatives of the country.

The ambassador again recalled that Ghana and Denmark had since 1992 had an extensive development cooperation in a wide range of areas such as water and sanitation, health, feeder roads, decentralisation, good governance, anti-corruption and private sector development.

Diplomatic relations

She observed that Denmark and Ghana had had close ties since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1961 and disclosed that the first Danes came to the then Gold Coast about 360 years ago.

She said even though the Danes were not proud of the level of cooperation that took place at the time, it nonetheless birthed a special relationship underpinning our common heritage.

Mrs Degnbol said the early Danish-Norwegian presence (they were one nation at the time) was reflected in family names such as Engmann, Hansen, Hesse, Lokko, Quist, Richter, Sonne, Svanekjær (or Swaniker) and Wulff.

According to her, there were more than 80 Danish names in Ghana.

She specially welcomed all guests at the reception who bore such names.

She said Denmark wished for Ghana and her people a future characterised by peace, stability and prosperity, adding that Denmark was proud to consider Ghana not only as a close friend but a member of the same family.

The Ambassador commended all Danish companies that helped to organise and sponsor the celebration.

The companies mentioned included Aller Aqua, Blue Town, ECOM Trading, Grundfos, APM Terminals, Maersk Drilling, Noridane, Arla and Pandora.

Mrs Degnbol also expressed her appreciation to Tulip Denmark, Benny from BECO, Royal UNIBREW, FanMilk (which used to be a Danish company), WARA (responsible for emergency medical services), MPS, DSTC Solar, Margins and Maersk Group.

Ursula Owusu-Ekuful

The Minister of Communications, Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, who led the government delegation to the reception, said the government had spent the last two years putting measures in place to improve the country’s economic fundamentals and had chalked up significant successes.

She stressed that Ghana’s economy grew from 3.6 per cent in 2016 to 8.5 per cent in 2017, adding that it was projected to grow by 7.9 per cent, making it one of the fastest growing economies in Africa.