French President Emmanuel Macron has paid a working visit to Ghana as part of efforts to revitalize France’s image on the Africa Continent.
France further seeks to modernize its relations with Ghana by emphasising on business links, education and investments rather than development aid.
The French President was met on arrival by Ghana’s President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo at the Kotoka International Airport where the two leaders were driven to the Black Star Square.
President Akufo-Addo and President Macron laid a wreath and moved to light the perpetual Flame at the Black Star Square.
The two events― lighting of the perpetual frame and the laying of wreath epitomizes the respect and excellent relations that have existed between the two countries, and, paying tribute to the fallen heroes who fought for world peace respectively.
The two leaders, then, proceeded to the Freedom Monument where they addressed the media.
Ghana’ President, Akufo-Addo, in his remarks, said he was privileged to witness the historic visit of the French President, Emmanuel Macron, who happened to be the first French President to set foot on Ghanaian soil.
President Akufo-Addo underscored the strategic importance of Ghana-France partnership and its immediate neighbours who were predominantly French speaking countries to the development of Ghana, noting that “it is estimated that by 2050, French will become one of the world’s most commonly spoken language, with French speakers rising to over 700 million, 80 per cent of whom will be in Africa.”
Recognizing the €1.7 billion French investment in Ghana as at 2015, which makes Ghana the seventh-biggest destination of French investments in sub-Saharan Africa, President Akufo-Addo said it was imperative that Ghana strategically positions itself to attract more investments.
“We can improve on this. To this end, my government has put in place measures to make Ghana the most business-friendly economy in Africa. These measures are aimed at attracting investment into Ghana, as well as stimulating growth of the private sector.”
This, President Akufo-Addo said, “is the way to develop healthy relations between our two countries, and put Ghana at the high end of the value chain in the global market place, and create jobs for the teeming masses of Ghanaians, particularly the youth. Our vision is to build a free, prosperous, independent country, a Ghana Beyond Aid.”
He made it clear that Ghana, under his leadership, had decided to turn her back on the old economy that was dependent on the production and export of raw materials, stressing that “we want to build a value-added, industrialised economy with a modernised agriculture, which is neither victim nor pawn of the world economic order.”
Recounting the bonds of friendship that had existed between the two countries, President Akufo-Addo indicated that Ghana and France had strong ties in trade, investments, civil and security co-operation, among others.
President Akufo Addo recounted the past when he was Foreign Affairs Minister in former President John Agyekum Kufuor’s government, he was privileged, on 28th September, 2006 to lead the negotiations at the Francophonie Summit in Budapest, Romania on the 28th of September, 2006 which was presided over by the then French President, Jacques Chirac, resulting in Ghana becoming an Associate Member of La Francophonie, without first having to be made an Observer Member.
French President Emmanuel Macron said celebrating 60 years of Ghana’s independence could not be a side event, “it is at the core of a new partnership I want to build with you, with Ghana and with Africa.”
Celebrating Ghana’s first President, Dr Kwame Nkrumah, and all those who contributed to the struggle for independence, President Macron said France and Ghana shared the same aspirations as “the partnership founded on our common past” was also on “our common aspirations.”
“And let me celebrate you as well, this perfect example of democracy and dexterity that you represent here and the example you give to the whole world,” he said.
President Macron noted that Ghana’s democracy and its quest for the rule of law has been an example to many countries across the world.
He said Dr Nkrumah’s call for the unity of Africa to take control of its future still resonated as an ambition more necessarily than ever.
“I am deeply convinced that stability and prosperity can only come with political economy and regional Integration, and I am proud today that France and Ghana are both front runners for the unification of the respective continents.
“With France it is stronger with Europe, with Ghana, it is strong with ECOWAS and Africa Union (AU) adding not only must Africa unite but Europe and Africa must Unite.” He stated.
President Macron has since left for his country, France.
Source: ISD (Rex Mainoo Yeboah)