President seeks South Korea’s support for construction of bridge
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has courted the assistance of South Korea to construct a bridge to link the Volta Region to the Afram Plains in the Eastern Region.
He said the Afram Plains abounded in fertile land, with great potential and opportunities, and that the building of the bridge would accelerate the development of the area and the country in general.
The President was speaking when the Prime Minister of South Korea, Han Duck-Soo, led a high-powered delegation to call on him at the Jubilee House in Accra last Friday.
The courtesy call was part of the delegation’s three-day official visit to Ghana.
Ghana’s team, led by the President, included the Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia; the Chief of Staff, Akosua Frema Osei-Opare; the Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta; the Minister of Trade and Industry, Alan Kyerematen; the Minister of Transport, Kwaku Ofori Asiamah, and some officials at the Presidency.
Mr Han and his team were later treated to a dinner at the Banquet Hall of the State House, after which he signed the visitors’ book at the foyer.
The delegation has since left the country.
President Akufo-Addo described South Korea as one of Ghana’s important partners in the areas of trade, investment cooperation and partnership on the international arena.
He mentioned the $1 billion the Korean EXIM Bank and KOICA extended to Ghana, saying “there is a new arrangement for another $1 billion worth of cooperation that we are looking forward to”.
He, however, expressed concern over the nature of the funds, much of which was a loan and some in the form of concessional grants, saying the government would further engage the South Korean government on the way forward.
The President said the discussions would centre around how the formula could be reversed to ensure that much of the loan was a concessional grant to facilitate the development of the country.
On nuclear energy, he said Ghana was particularly interested in the sector and would collaborate with South Korea to develop the sector in the country.
He described Korea’s support in the fight against piracy in the Gulf of Guinea as laudable, and also mentioned how Ghana facilitated the release of some Korean sailors who had been captured by pirates in the Gulf of Guinea.
President Akufo-Addo further said Ghana would support Korea’s bid to be on the UN Security Council in 2025 and 2026, adding: “We can say in advance that Ghana will be very keen on giving as much support as we can to enable you to go.”
He said supporting South Korea on the international scene was something he did during his tenure as Ghana’s Foreign Minister, and cited the role he played as the campaign manager for Africa for Ban Ki-Moon to become the UN Secretary-General.
He said recently Mr Ban hinted him about South Korea’s bid to host a global exposition in 2030 and the need for Ghana to support that country.
For his part, Mr Han lauded Ghana’s status as a stable democratic nation and recalled the excellent diplomatic relations between South Korea and Ghana, spanning 45 years.
He added that the two countries shared the same values of democracy and human rights.
He said the new South Korean government, which is about six months in office, had declared its intention to establish new relations with Africa, including deepening and strengthening ties with the continent for their mutual benefit.
“This is to ensure that the cooperation bears fruits, so that we can deepen our relations and prosper together, not only among ourselves but also on the international scene”.
Mr Han announced that South Korea was keen on hosting a summit with Africa, where they would use the platform to strengthen relations.