The United Kingdom High Commissioner to Ghana, Mr Iain Walker, has pledged the UK government’s support to the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) to make Kumasi a leading industrial hub of West Africa.
He said Kumasi occupied a very important place in Ghana’s development for which reason the UK would continue to put the city’s development in focus.
Mr Walker said this when the UK and the Ghana government signed a new strategic partnership agreement focusing on six economic areas of mutual benefits under the UK-Ghana Business Council (UK-GBC).
The agreement, which was signed after a regional business forum in Kumasi, covers six sectors, namely agribusiness, extractive, garment/textile, digital, pharmaceutical and financial service.
It is under three themes made up of domestic revenue mobilisation, ease of doing business and infrastructure.
The Metropolitan Chief Executive (MCE) of Kumasi, Mr Osei Assibey Antwi, and Mr Walker signed for their respective countries.
The forum focused on the Ashanti Region where the UK government had supported some major projects, including the Kejetia Market, the expansion of the Kumasi Airport and the construction of Bekwai Hospital.
Currently, the UK is also helping to complete the 47-year-old abandoned maternity block of the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) with a credit facility of 140 million Euro.
Under the framework, the forum was to build a shared understanding of priorities on economic development, job creation, trade and investment.
Mr Walker expressed excitement that the two countries were talking about practical steps to expand their frontiers from "government to government, to regional as well as to the municipal levels.
The KMA boss said the assembly would welcome UK commercial partners for upcoming projects to develop high risk parking facilities, international convention centres and real estate properties in and around the city.
He said the agreement tied into the Ghana Beyond Aid agenda of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, which was being vigorously pursued.
"The relationship between Ghana and the UK is rooted in a long-standing economic, political and cultural connections, their shared values and deep links between their people," the MCE said.
He said with about half a million Ghanaians based in the UK , and UK businesses operating in Ghana, there was the opportunity for the UK and Ghana to work to promote democracy, good governance and the rule of law to counter any transnational threats such as climate change and narcotics trafficking.
Mr Antwi appealed to the UK government to assist in providing more lorry terminals and also put up a multi-storey compartment in Kumasi to help decongest the city centre.
He also touched on the establishment of factories in Kumasi, saying, "Kumasi has grown to an extent that some factories which hitherto were providing employment have now become defunct and need to be reactivated."
He called for support in that area as well as an appeal to the UK to help set up a diagnostic plant in the health sector to reduce the number of Ghanaians travelling to South Africa to seek such medical care.
The MCE said the aim of the relationship was to help Ghana manage its natural resources in such a way that it would be able to finance its projects without being over-reliant on external assistance.