Ghana, Ethiopia to strengthen bilateral relations – Mahama
President John Dramani Mahama stated on Saturday that Ghana and Ethiopia were set to strengthen the existing cooperation and bilateral ties which the two nations had enjoyed for more than five decades.
He mentioned agriculture, energy, security and the fight against terrorism as some of the areas of cooperation.
President Mahama announced these in a media briefing at the Golden Jubilee Lounge of Kotoka International Airport, when he went to bid farewell to Mr Hailemariam Desalyn, the Prime Minister of Ethiopia who was departing for Addis Ababa after a three-day official visit to Ghana.
In addition to visiting the Akosombo dam, the Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum and Cocoa Processing company in Tema, the Prime Minister also held closed door discussions with President Mahama on a number of developmental issues.
President Mahama said Ethiopia was one of the highest coffee producing countries, while Ghana also prided itself as one of the highest cocoa producing countries and therefore their partnership in agriculture could yield mutual benefit.
In pursuance of their bilateral discussions, President Mahama announced that he would also be in Ethiopia on a reciprocal visit to cement some of the decisions they had taken during the Ethiopian Prime Minister’s visit.
President Mahama said Ethiopia had enormous expertise in leather production and that Ghana would discuss with that country the possibility of acquiring knowledge and raw material for Ghana’s leather industry.
On terrorism, President Mahama said both Ghana and Ethiopia were close to countries that had been victims of terrorist attacks, and that it was therefore expedient for them to cooperate in that regard to ward off the recurrence of acts of terrorism on the continent.
President Mahama said they also discussed the integration of the African continent, the implementation of the Continental Free Trade and the facilitation of intra-African trade.
He said so far the Southern Africa Development and East African communities had almost finished with the modalities and were likely to begin implementing the continental free trade in July this year, while that of the Economic Community of West African States, which is next, would be launched later in the year.
President Mahama said the North African community would also galvanize support to join others after the Southern, East and West African communities had launched the continental free trade.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Desalyn hinted that his country would strengthen relations with Ghana in the mining sector since Ghana had engaged in gold mining for several decades.
“I actually enjoyed my stay in Ghana, especially visiting some of the most important areas like the mighty Akosombo dam in Ghana,” the Ethiopian Prime Minister stated.