Ghana-China relations must survive galamsey controversy – Dr. Appiah
Dr. Kweku Appiah, who prefers to be called a ‘Friend of China’ told the Ghana News Agency in an interview, in Accra, that:“ It is very important to note that illegal mining or galamsey, is not the official policy of the Government of China”, hence the need for circumspection in dealing with the issues.
“We need to look at the causes, who are involved, and what measures can be put in place so that by the time we have resolved the galamsey problem, we would also not have destroyed our good relations with China,” he said.
He said illegal mining was counter-productive by all standards, and anyone who insisted on the illegal activity had to be condemned without any reservations.
Dr. Appiah said whilst it was a known fact that some citizens of China had been arrested for indulging in illegal mining, the “galamsey” issue entailed a lot more than the involvement of the Chinese, therefore, it was important that the media reported on the entirety of the situation for the public to be thoroughly educated.
“I would plead with you, the media, to reach out to the Chinese Embassy, Chinese institutions and Chinese NGOs, so we collaborate to solve the issue,” he said.
Dr. Appiah said the most important thing to do, was to find medium and long-term solutions to the problem.”
Mr. Danny Mawuenyega, also a Friend of China, said: “In our recent interactions with the Chinese Ambassador, she has emphatically expressed her willingness to collaborate with Ghanaian authorities to bring to book Chinese citizens who flout the laws of the country.
“We think there must be a collective effort to resolve this problem.”
The media has teamed with the major stakeholders in the mining and environmental sector to rid the country of activities by illegal miners that destroy the land and pollute the water bodies.
Some Chinese citizens have since been arrested for their complicity in the illegal trade, thus bringing the spotlight on the Asian country, which is Ghana’s major development and trading partner.
The Chinese Embassy in Ghana has expressed concern about the negative publicity the country was receiving, and called for circumspection to avoid stereotyping and maligning top Chinese officials.
China-Ghana trade volume hit a historic high of US$6.6 billion in 2015, increasing by 18.2 per cent on year-on-year basis.
China’s direct financial investment in Ghana reached $174 million, the Chinese Ambassador to Ghana, Madam Sun Bashing, disclosed last year.
At the 67th Anniversary celebration of the Founding of the People’s Republic of China, she stated that the value of China’s newly signed contracts in Ghana reached around $1.3 billion, ranking high in Africa.
The Chinese Government also supports educational, social and cultural activities in Ghana with the awards of grants and scholarships.