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14 July 2017

Swiss Gov’t Assists Ghana With US$80 Million To Add Value To Cocoa

Ghana and Switzerland have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) aimed at increasing cocoa production and adding value to raw cocoa beans.

The two countries have also agreed to increase their volume of trade in the areas of gold and cocoa from Ghana and chemicals, pharmaceuticals and other products from Switzerland.

Also, a new Swiss co-operation strategy for Ghana, which involves US$80 million to support the enhanced competitiveness of Ghanaian enterprises and the diversification of the economy, was signed by the leaders of the two countries.

The MoU was signed when the President of Switzerland, Ms Doris Leuthard, called on President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo at the Flagstaff House in Accra Wednesday.

Later, the two leaders retired to a closed-door session where issues such as Ghana’s position as one of the Swiss Confederations State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) priority countries for economic development were discussed.

Mr Ken Ofori-Atta (right), the Minister of Finance, and Ms Marie-Gabrielle Ineichen-Fleisch (left), the Swiss State Secretary for Economic Affairs, signing documents at the event in Accra

Trade partner

Ghana is currently Switzerland’s largest trading partner in sub-Saharan Africa. Last year, trade between the two countries amounted to over US$2 billion.

After signing the MoU, the two Presidents jointly addressed a press conference.

President Akufo-Addo said the government would pursue programmes aimed at adding value to the country’s cocoa beans.

“Ghana, under my Presidency, will no longer become mere producers and exporters 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 material 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 teeming masses of Ghanaians,” he said.

Exploring more opportunities

The President said Ghana and Switzerland had agreed to explore opportunities to boost the volume of trade between the two

countries.

“We discussed the need to explore further business opportunities for the two countries, as well as boost the volumes of trade,” he said.

He observed, with satisfaction, the improvement in trade figures between the two countries over the last couple of years, adding that trade ought to go beyond gold and cocoa which had, over several decades, constituted the backbone of trading relations between the two countries.

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

Support for the candidature of Prof. Henrietta Mensa-Bonsu

“We took the opportunity also to solicit Swiss support for the candidature of Professor Henrietta Mensa-Bonsu, a distinguished Ghanaian jurist, for election to the International Criminal Court (ICC) during the elections which will be held during the 16th Session of the Assembly of State Parties to the ICC from 4th to 14th December, 2017,” he said.

The President also used the occasion to highlight the importance that Ghana and the African Union (AU) attached to the long, overdue process of UN reform, especially the Security Council, to correct the long-standing injustice that the current structure and composition of the UN Security Council represented for the nations of Africa.

President Leuthard, for her part, said Switzerland considered Ghana as a reliable trading partner and expressed its readiness to enhance its relations with Ghana.

Swiss businesses in Ghana

She said there were Swiss businesses in Ghana operating in the areas of energy, pharmaceuticals, logistics, finance and chocolate production, adding that Switzerland had identified Ghana’s agricultural sector as a viable area of investment.

The two leaders acknowledged that the issue of migration and mobility had gripped the attention of the world in recent years and decided to co-operate further in ensuring legal and safer means of migration.

 

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