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Ghana, Spain to deepen ties

BY: Emmanuel Ebo Hawkson
Ms Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey (left) presenting a memento to Ms Cristina Gallach Figureas, the Deputy Foreign Minister of Spain. Picture: EMMANUEL EBO HAWKSON
Ms Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey (left) presenting a memento to Ms Cristina Gallach Figureas, the Deputy Foreign Minister of Spain. Picture: EMMANUEL EBO HAWKSON

Ghana and Spain have resolved to deepen their bilateral relations and cooperation that had existed for the past 60 years.

Areas of focus include trade, illegal migration, security, agriculture and how to stem the impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The two countries made the resolve after a meeting between the Minister designate for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Ms Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, and the Deputy Foreign Minister of Spain, Ms Cristina Gallach Figureas, in Accra on Friday as part of her two-day visit to the country.

Ms Botchwey lauded Spain for being a good friend of Ghana since Independence, and for working continuously in areas of mutual interests.

“This relationship has been very vibrant, and it is our expectation that your visit will further deepen it,” she said.

Trade

On trade, Ms Botchway said Africa, especially Ghana, was an ideal investment destination for Spanish businesses.

She said the creation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) with its headquarters in Accra, had created an avenue for investment and trade to thrive.

“Africa is now the biggest free trade area. We would like to see a lot of investors from Spain come and partner Ghanaian and African businesses. Ghana has a good and enabling business climate. The AfCFTA has also given us a big market size.

“We want to see more investment and cooperation in the mining, pharmaceuticals, manufacturing, agriculture and tourism, among other sectors. There are so many opportunities in Ghana,” she said.

COVID-19

With regard to COVID-19, the minister designate entreated Spain to be the voice of developing countries in the acquisition of the COVID-19 vaccines.

“Thankfully, COVAX is now pushing the vaccines to developing countries, but the initial conversation was frightening because there was a scramble for the vaccines and no one was talking on behalf of developing countries.

“It is important that there is a targeted approach to ensure that Africa and the developing world get access to the vaccines,” she added.

Security challenges

Ms Botchwey said issues such as illegal migration, piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, terrorism in the Sahel region, as well as extremism, had become a major challenge in West Africa.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, she said, was spearheading the creation of a security fund at the sub-regional level to help tackle those challenges as Chairman of ECOWAS.

The minister designate said there was the need for Africa to tackle the root causes of the conflicts and mentioned poverty as part of the reasons.

“The underlying theme is that Africa has a youthful population and we need to provide them jobs. Once we are able to tackle that, illegal migration will go down considerably,” Ms Botchwey added.

Commendation

Ms Figureas commended Ghana for a peaceful and successful December 2020 general election.

She also expressed satisfaction over how the country was tackling the COVID-19 pandemic, saying the situation in some countries looked gloomy, but “Ghana has not allowed COVID-19 to put it down as it looks into the future for sustainable growth,” Ms Figureas said.

She also said Spain had introduced a new policy on Africa to create opportunities and find practical solutions to help address some global challenges.

“We know that Ghana and Spain can be good partners in this regard,” Ms Figureas said.

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