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Give young people a chance - Swiss Ambassador to govt

BY: Della Russel Ocloo
Dr Afriyie Akoto (left) and Mr Stalder (middle) in an interaction with a guest at the dinner. PICTURE: DELLA RUSSEL OCLOO
Dr Afriyie Akoto (left) and Mr Stalder (middle) in an interaction with a guest at the dinner. PICTURE: DELLA RUSSEL OCLOO

The Ambassador of Switzerland to Ghana, Philipp Stalder has challenged the Ghanaian government to tap the strong potential of the ordinary Ghanaian to fuel the country’s development.

According to him, young people are eager to participate and are waiting to make their mark. He says attention ought to be given specially to those particularly within the innovative segment of the society as they were the ones who need to be given a push to succeed.

“When young people comment passionately via social or other media, we must understand that it is their future laying ahead of them,” he suggested.

Addressing a dinner to mark the National Day of Switzerland in Accra on Tuesday, he underscored the need for the above to be backed by prudent policies, legislation as well as an open participation in the political discourse. 

“I do not suggest that there are no participation possibilities. Far from that. Ghana is and remains a robust democracy which deserves all our support and recognition. But do we, and by that, I mean, the elite and people in decision making positions - listen enough to the voice and the needs of the youth and underprivileged groups? Mr Stalder queried.

Constitution Review

Mr Stalder on the other hand, wondered whether Ghana’s efforts for a review of its 30-year-old constitution to be adjusted and modernised would bring benefits to the nation.

“Although the constitutional review process has currently come to a halt, I remain optimistic that already existing valuable proposals can bring forward the discussion and allow Ghana to prosper further,” he said.

Cooperation

Recalling the excellent relations between Ghana and Switzerland, which he said were based on many shared values and interests, including democracy, a commitment to peace and security, a belief in the importance of free trade and investment and deep people-to-people links, these he noted had strengthened diplomatic relations between the two countries.

“Our political relations were taken one step higher when Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo, visited Switzerland for a historic state visit in February 2020, which saw the two countries signing  an innovative Climate Protection Agreement, which brings the cooperative approaches of the Paris Agreement to life,” he said.

The bilateral agreement, he pointed out was the first with any African country and will bring concrete results in the form of clean cooking and solar lighting to the benefit of many Ghanaian households.

Trade

With Ghana being Switzerland’s third biggest trade partner in Africa with a considerable trade plus in favour of Ghana, Mr Stalder believed that Swiss companies have contributed immensely to the development of Ghana through taxes and employment generations. 

Mr Stalder remains hopeful that the partnership between the two countries would also significantly lead to the transfer of knowledge, skills and expertise to Ghanaians.

Agric Minister

The Minister for Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto who represented the government in his remarks indicated that the collaboration between the two countries in the electricity sector reform and extension programme has supported the efficiency of Ghana’s electricity distribution system and access to several communities nationwide.

“I wish to commend the efforts of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) of Switzerland which assisted Ghana in the fight against Covid-19 and also supported the Ghana Standards Authority to develop key standards for the manufacturing of local hygiene medical materials and personal protective equipment (PPEs),” Dr Akoto said.

He also pointed out that with over 55 Swiss investments in the country, Ghana has benefited from initiatives from companies such as Nestle Ghana, Accra Brewery, Ghana Pioneer Aluminum Company, Blue Skies among others, leading to the creation of employment and strengthening Ghana’s private sector’s capacity.