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Ghana Switzerland commit to deepen relations and expand trade

By Ken
Sackey, GNA

Accra, July 12, GNA – Ghana and Switzerland
have agreed to expand co-operation and explore opportunities to boost the
volume of bilateral trade for the mutual benefit of its peoples.

Thus, the two nations have committed
themselves to undertake joint projects aimed at increasing cocoa production in
Ghana and enhancing value addition to the commodity, and to improve the
competitiveness of Ghanaian enterprises and diversify the economy.

This was the outcome of a bilateral roundtable
when the visiting President of the Swiss Confederation,   Doris Leuthard called on President Nana Addo
Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Wednesday at the Flagstaff House in Accra.

The discussion culminated in the signing of a
Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between both sides to improve trade in gold
and cocoa and investment in the sectors agriculture and pharmaceuticals.

Both sides also held discussions in the areas
of Foreign Affairs, UN Reforms, Finance and Security.

President Akufo-Addo, at a joint press
briefing after the talks, said the two countries expressed the need to deepen
bilateral relations, improve trade figures beyond the two commodities of gold
and cocoa, which over a number of decades had constituted the backbone of
trading relations.

He said his government was determined to
pursue a systematic programmes aimed at adding value to the country’s cocoa
beans.

“Ghana, under my presidency, will no
longer become mere producer and exporter of cocoa beans. We will process more
and more of our cocoa here in our country. There can be no future prosperity
for our people in the short, medium or long term if we continue to maintain
economic structures that are dependent on the production and export of raw
materials.

“We intend to add value to our raw
materials resources, industrialise and enhance agricultural productivity. This
is the only way we can put Ghana at the high end of the value chain in the
global market space and create jobs for the teaming masses of Ghanaians,”
he said.

He entreated Swiss investors to take advantage
of the growing business-friendly climate in the country to invest in Ghana,
stating that government’s flagship policies of “One District, One Factory”,
“One Village, One Dam”, and the “Programme for Planting for Food and Jobs”  held areas of opportunity for them.

The President said the two countries also
underlined and reinforced their commitments to international peace and
security, and to develop the co-operation especially  in dealing with the ever present threat of
terrorism, “we stressed the importance of needed to end the scourge of
terrorism, and the threats to peace and sustainable development in Africa and
the world”.

He said they both agreed to work closely
within the United Nations Human Rights Council, as well as with other UN
agencies, to promote the protection of human rights around the globe.

President Akufo-Addo said he and his Swiss
counterpart discussed and agreed on the need for Ghana to become a member of
the Human Rights Appeal Caucus.

Thus, Switzeralnd will support the candidature
of Professor Henrietta Mensa-Bonsu, a distinguished Ghanaian jurist, for
election to the International Criminal Court (ICC) during the elections, which
would be held in the 16th Session of the Assembly of State Parties
to the ICC from December 4 to December 14.

According to the President, he highlighted the
importance Ghana and the African Union attached to the long, overdue process of
UN Reform, especially of the Security Council, to correct the longstanding injustice
that the current structure and composition of the UN Security Council represent
for the nations of Africa.

He said Ghana also sought the agreement of
Switzerland to support the lead role of the AU in its attempts to resolve the
crises in Mali, Libya and other States of the Sahel, which were receiving the
full brunt of the terrorism menace.

Whilst acknowledging that the issue of
migration and mobility went beyond the individual policies of state, President
Akufo-Addo said the two sides agreed on the need to provide the right
environment on the continent, to prevent the high numbers young Africans taking
harrowing risks across the Sahara and around the Mediterranean, trying to reach
a better life.

“What this means is that, if we provide them
the right environment in Africa, which enables them to enhance their skills,
receive appropriate training, have access to digital technology and enhanced
economic opportunities, their energies can be channelled towards making our
continent great.

“Nonetheless, whilst the necessary measures
are being put in place, Ghana and Switzerland, as concerned and responsible
members of the international community, have decided to co-operate further in
ensuring legal and safer means of migration,” he said.

The President said he discussed Ghana’s
position as one of the Swiss Confederation’s State Secretariat for Economic
Affairs (SECO) priority countries for economic development, for which the new
Swiss co-operation strategy for Ghana that would be launched soon, would involve
an amount of 80 million Dollars to support the enhanced competitiveness of
Ghanaian enterprises and the diversification the economy.

President Leuthard said Ghana was a reliable
trade partner to Switzerland and expressed her country’s readiness to further
deepen relations.

She said her country had identified Ghana’s
agricultural sector as a viable area of investment.

She announced a new Swiss co-operation
strategy for Ghana which involved $ 80 million to support the enhanced
competitiveness of Ghanaian enterprises and the diversification of the
country’s economy.

Ghana is currently Switzerland’s largest
trading partner in sub-Saharan Africa, a position previously held by South
Africa.

Trade between both countries amounted to some
two billion dollars last year, largely from the export of gold and cocoa to
Switzerland, and the import of chemical and pharmaceutical products, as well as
light machinery and military equipment from Switzerland.

GNA

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