By Gifty Arthur
The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, has on the back of Ghana secured the nod as the host country for the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) secretariat—-one of the most important institutions of the African Union (AU), called for increase presence of Korean companies in the country, especially in the manufacturing sector.
The call which she terms a “win-win” agenda according to Madam Ayorkor Botchwey, is a way for Korea and other interested countries, to take advantage of the newly created Africa-wide market to invest in Ghana in particular, and on the continent as a whole.
According to the Minister, the situation of the Secretariat in Ghana, will make the country become the economic, trade and commercial hub for businesses and industries to thrive on the continent.
“During our meeting this morning, we discussed this welcome development, and we have seized the opportunity to call for an increased presence of Korean manufacturing industries in Ghana.
Going forward, therefore, we have agreed to invite the business community in Korea to actively invest in Ghana in particular, and Africa in general, on a win-win basis as a way of taking advantage of this newly created Africa-wide market”, she said.
She further said “Indeed, private investment capital has a legitimate part to play in the overall economic development of Ghana and the continent, and we have committed ourselves to driving this agenda”.
The Minister, said during a bilateral discussion with the Korean Foreign Affairs Minister, Kang Kyung-Wha last Saturday in Accra.
The discussion, which attracted seven Ministers, including Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, Education Minister, Mathew Opoku Prempeh, and Trade and Industry Minister, Alan Kyeremanten, also discussed in detail, government’s flagship policy “Ghana Beyond Aid” as well as the country’s 10 Point Industrial Transformation Agenda, highlighting possible area of future cooperation with Korea.
The two countries also discussed the United Nations Reforms and agreed on the importance of the reform agenda to make the UN System more democratic and representative to address today’s complex challenges to international peace, security and development.
Korea, has been very supportive of Ghana’s socio-economic development, especially in the areas of human resource capacity-building and e-administration for Ministries, Departments and Agencies.
The Korea-Exim Bank, has also played a very important role by providing funding for several important projects spanning from rehabilitation and expansion projects, Wa Water Supply, Maternal Healthcare, Water and Sanitation and so on. The Korean Foreign Affairs Minister is on three- nation tour of Africa—–Ethiopia, Ghana and South Africa.
Her visit is second since that country’s then Foreign Affairs Minister, who later became United Nation’s (UN) Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, visited Ghana in 2006.
Ghana’s bilateral relations with Korea, have been growing steadily since the two countries first established diplomatic ties in 1977.
On her part, Kang Kyung-Wha, said talks with her Ghanaian counterpart centred on ways to further strengthen the bilateral ties in the areas of politics, economics, and development cooperation as well as regional and global issues.
She said, Korea was willing and would encourage more of it companies to invest in Ghana to strengthen the economic cooperation in a mutually beneficial manner.
She pledged Korea’s “full support” for government’s “Ghana Byond Aid” agenda noting her country has been there in the past adding they are ready to share their development experience and lesson-learned in various fields such as agriculture and education with Ghana.
There was also talk on maritime security in West Africa and the Peace Process on the Korea Peninsula.
On Friday, Minister Kang Kyung-Wha, paid a courtesy call on the Vice President, Mahamudu Bawumia and paid a visit to the final resting place of the former Secretary General of the UN, Kofi Atta Annan, who died last year.
There were deputy Ministers also from Agriculture, Health, Energy, Communications and Ghana’s Ambassador to Korea during the meeting.