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Ghana, UK enter into strategic partnership • It will open up new areas for cooperation

BY: Donald Ato Dapatem
Ms Shirley Ayorkor Botchway and  Mr Jeremy Hunt signing the agreement. Behind them are  Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, the Vice-President and Mr Iain   Walker,  the British High Commissioner.
Ms Shirley Ayorkor Botchway and Mr Jeremy Hunt signing the agreement. Behind them are Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, the Vice-President and Mr Iain Walker, the British High Commissioner.

Ghana and the United Kingdom (UK) have signed a strategic partnership agreement that covers economic development and mutual prosperity, stability and regional security, health, education and inclusion.

Ghana’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Ms Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, signed for Ghana, while the UK Foreign Secretary, Mr Jeremy Hunt, initialled for the UK at the signing ceremony in Accra yesterday.

The Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, and the British High Commissioner in Accra, Mr Ian Walker, witnessed for their respective countries.

Earlier, Mr Hunt, who was on an official visit to Ghana, and Dr Bawumia had held bilateral talks at the Jubilee House. In attendance was Ms Botchway.

Media briefing

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Briefing the media after the signing ceremony, Ms Botchway said the UK’s trade investment in Ghana had hit about £3.4 billion and expressed the hope that the agreement would help increase the investments and help Ghana achieve its industrialisation objective.

She said with the African Continental Free Trade area in the offing, Ghana was ready to be used as the launch pad to reach other parts of the African market, which had over 1.3 billion people.

She said another collaboration would be on security, especially with the threat from other parts of the continent.

Ms Botchway said the UK would help build Ghana’s capacity to address issues of border security,  crime and cyber security.

UK Foreign Secretary

Mr Hunt noted that Brexit would offer a new opportunity for the UK to look at Africa in a different way and “properly engage in a way we have not done previously, with the incredible business opportunities in Africa”.

He added that the UK business delegation which is also in the country, would be interested in value addition to Ghana’s rich natural resources through softer partnerships.

Joint declaration                                                          

A joint declaration issued by the UK and Ghana to announce the new strategic partnership said the two countries shared a long history as friends and partners, based on shared values, deep family links and a collective interest in promoting stability, democracy and prosperity in West Africa.

It said recognising the importance of the relationship, Ghana and the UK agreed to launch a new strategic partnership which would deepen and strengthen existing ties and open up new areas for co-operation.

The declaration named the agreed areas as economic development and mutual prosperity, under which the UK and Ghana had agreed to deepen their economic relationship through prioritisation of efforts to promote sustainable industrialisation, economic diversification, job creation and greater trade and investment.

“We agreed to work together to enhance macroeconomic management and increase Ghana’s domestic revenues through tax reform and well-managed oil and gas revenues,” it stated.

Stability, regional security

On stability and regional security, it said the UK and Ghana recognised the changing threat to stability and security in the region and agreed to work closely together in response.

“This will include enhanced co-operation between UK and Ghanaian institutions and improved capacity building from the UK within the region to address the full range of serious organised crime, corruption and border security challenges,” the declaration added.

Touching on health, education and inclusion, it said as Ghana sought to move beyond aid, the two countries would share and develop technical expertise and foster new partnerships between UK and Ghanaian institutions to support high quality, domestically financed services in health, education and social protection.

“With our shared commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals, we will continue to fight poverty and tackle inequality, ensuring that no one is left behind.

“We will continue to promote gender equality and economic inclusion and will increase our focus on support and inclusion in mental health services and for people with disabilities,” the declaration added.