Russia has lauded Ghana’s democratic credentials characterised by respect for human rights, press freedom and the rule of law, which has boosted its image as a reference country in Africa of good governance.
It said Ghana’s firm adherence to democracy was demonstrated convincingly during last year’s general election.
Mr Vladimir Barbin, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation to Ghana, made the observation on Wednesday in Accra at a banquet to mark Russia Day.
He said his country is determined to further develop constructive collaboration with Ghana on international issues and to promote bilateral cooperation across board with special attention being given to the energy sector.
He noted that Russia is ready for new investments in the oil and gas sector; adding that a major Russian energy company “Lukoil” would continue with its drilling programme on the Ghanaian shelf.
Mr Barbin said the both countries have also reached an agreement to resume cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear energy; declaring that the first meeting of the joint workgroup on the issue was held in April in Accra.
He said Russia was proud to be invited to take part in the re-equipping of the Ghana Armed Forces, noting that in 2012 Ghana made the acquisition of four Russian brand new transport helicopters.
The Ambassador said due to the efforts of both sides, their bilateral trade with Ghana keeps growing and since 2011 has doubled and reached $280 million last year.
“Russia is committed to helping Ghana to develop its human resources, providing annually 60 scholarships to Ghanaian students to study at Russian universities.
“More than 4000 Ghanaians have already benefitted from the education co-operation programme,” Mr Barbin said.
He said in agreement with the last G-8 summit Russia and Ghana are now exploring opportunities to launch bilateral co-operation in food security and nutrition in order to enhance domestic agriculture productivity, to scale and achieve sustained agricultural growth.
Dr Joe Oteng Adjei, Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovations welcomed the initiative by Russia to launch bilateral cooperation with Ghana in food security and nutrition to enhance agriculture productivity and sustainable agricultural growth.
He noted that of significance also was Russian support for the establishment of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission and the construction of a nuclear research reactor; the first in Sub-Saharan Africa, leading to great corps of highly qualified nuclear scientists, engineers and related personnel.
The Minister said Ghana is committed to renewing its cooperation in the development of peaceful use of nuclear energy within the guidelines of the International Atomic Energy Commission.
Dr Oteng-Adjei expressed Ghana’s gratitude to the Russian Government for its remarkable support in the socio-economic development of the country.
“We are indeed grateful for the numerous scholarships offered Ghanaians over the years to train in the then Soviet Union and the current Russian Federation,” the Minister stated.