Economic development focus for Cyril Ramaphosa on Ghana visit
SA and Ghana elevate their relationship through bilateral commitments
South Africa and Ghana have cemented their bilateral ties by signing memoranda of understandings in the areas of transport, agriculture, women and children.
Ramaphosa is on a state visit to Ghana as part of his four-nation tour to West African countries including Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire and Senegal.
The agreements are commitments by both countries to work together through bilateral and multilateral avenues to advance the African economic integration and development agenda as envisaged in Agenda 2063.
In a joint media briefing at the Jubilee House in Accra on Saturday evening, Ramaphosa and his Ghanaian counterpart Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo presented a united front in dealing with matters that would address poverty, recovering from the devastation of the Covid-19 pandemic as well as the massive unemployment plaguing both countries.
Both governments, who enjoy a good relationship, signed four agreements including international relations, transport, agriculture and gender. Two more agreements are expected to be signed virtually.
“The Africa Continental Free Trade Area is a means of achieving this and it confirms that the economic development of our continent is a responsibility that we share and from which we can all benefit,” said Ramaphosa.
Africa, he said, needs to stop relying on others and focus on its industrialisation and increased manufacturing capacity.
Ramaphosa said: “It is about time that we develop regional value chains for our own agro-processed goods. We should further explore new areas of economic, trade and investment cooperation, especially in Ghana’s key sectors such as roads and railway infrastructure, mining, energy, manufacturing and agro-processing.”
South Africa has more than 200 companies registered in Ghana employing around 20,000 Ghanaians and 500 expatriates, according to data from Ghana’s Investment Promotion Centre.
South African companies have over the last 10 years undertaken 170 projects in Ghana with a capital investment valued in excess of USD 1bn.
In the face of developed counties imposing bans on South Africa over the latest Covid-19 variant, Ramaphosa thanked the Ghanaian president for his unwavering support saying: “We appreciate this show of solidarity from Ghana in the light of travel bans imposed by some countries on South Africa and sister countries in the region in response to the detection of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.”
In response Akufo-Addo said that the purpose of the visit was to “re-affirm the ties of co-operation and the bonds of friendship between the two countries.”
The two heads of state spoke at length about how the two governments can further boost their political and economic relations, cultural and people-to-people exchanges, as well as cooperation at the continental and multilateral levels.
He expressed his gratitude to Ramaphosa for supporting Ghana’s bid for the Secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), and for a non-permanent seat at the United Nations Security Council.
“Ghana will make sure that Africa’s voice is heard loud and clear in the deliberations of the Security Council, both on matters affecting the continent and on global issues, and we will consult broadly to define Africa’s interests,” he said.