The Indian High Commissioner to Ghana, Sugandh Rajaram, has stated that his country is prioritising areas of mutual support with Ghana to ensure that the two nations recover quickly from the COVID-19 effects and stay on the path of growth.
He said the areas would include health, education, agriculture, rural development, renewable energy, support for small scale industries, as well as infrastructure development.
Mr Rajaram stated that in an interview with the Daily Graphic ahead of India’s 75th Independence anniversary celebration on Monday, August 15, 2022.
“We are looking to see how quickly we can recover our economic growth. And that is why I say that we should be working together and prioritising our cooperation efforts in areas such as health, education, agriculture, rural development, renewable energy,” he added.
He said the world had become a global village, so friends and partner countries such as Ghana would be very key in India’s progress for future policies, adding that “we are looking forward to have very close kind of integrated relations with countries like Ghana”.
Mr Rajaram indicated that India had been one of Ghana’s largest trading and investment partners over the years, with bilateral trade standing at close to $5 billion before the pandemic although it had now reduced by half.
“But post pandemic, we see almost 15 per cent growth in that now. It is close to $2.7 billion, and I think in the next few years, we will go back to our target of having $5 billion of trade soon.
He described India as a country in the list of top five investors in Ghana and one of the largest development assistance partners of the country, and that it now extended more than $500 million concessional credit for projects in Ghana and more than $1 billion for infrastructure projects.
Mr Rajaram said currently, India was working on concessional lines of credit, one of them $150 million for agric mechanisation and another $30 million for the Yendi water project where within the next three months, the EPC contractor would be on the ground in the Yendi District.
“We successfully implemented iconic projects such as the Jubilee House, India Ghana Kofi Annan ICT Centre, and a number of other things such as the Komenda Sugar Factory and the Elmina Fish Processing Plant. We have recently built the Foreign Service Training Institute for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” he added.
“We are celebrating with the world, but if there are two friends, Ghana comes at the top. Ghanaians have the natural right to celebrate this occasion,” Mr Rajaram stated.
Events lined up for the celebration include a Bollywood cultural gala at the National Theatre tomorrow, and a national flag hoisting ceremony at India House on Monday.
“Normally, we have our celebration of National Day on August 26 when we celebrate Republic Day, but the last two years, we could not celebrate because of the COVID-19; this is the opportunity, so on Monday August 15, in the evening at India House, we will have the national day reception,” Mr Rajaram said.
On August 16, the embassy will wrap up a series of events with the spiritual evening invloving the spiritual leaders, known as guru.