Ghana and China established diplomatic relations since 1960 with both countries providing diplomatic and material supports to one another.
Since the 2000s, the volume of Chinese trade and investment in Ghana has increased with many high level official visits from both countries.
The Ghana News Agency brings you some perspectives of the Chinese Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Lu Kun, on the healthy diplomatic relations between the two countries after 61 years of cooperation.
GNA: What would you say is the state of bilateral relations between your country and Ghana, politically and economically?
H.E. Kun: I want to describe China-Ghana relations as the “pilot”. Politically, our two countries maintain close interactions. We are the pilot of China-Africa friendship. Ghana is among the earliest countries in sub-Sahara Africa to establish diplomatic ties with China. In September 2018, President of Ghana, H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo paid a state visit to China and held bilateral talks with President Xi Jinping.
The two leaders delineated the blueprint of the future China-Ghana relations. In November 2019, Chinese Vice Premier Sun Chunlan visited Ghana, injecting new momentum to the development of bilateral relations. After the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, China and Ghana united as brothers and supported each other. Ghana voiced its support to China at the first moment of the pandemic. China ardently helped Ghana fighting the virus by providing a large amount of anti-pandemic supplies.
The first chartered flight containing anti-pandemic supplies donated by the Chinese government to Africa chose Ghana as its first destination. All these facts have proved that the political relations of our two countries are at the forefront of China-Africa relations.
Economically, the economy and trade exchange between China and Ghana has been flourishing. We are the pilot of China-Africa cooperation. China is Ghana’s biggest trading partner and foreign investment source. In 2019, our bilateral trade volume is $7.46 billion, ranking among the top in Africa.
The bilateral trade increased, not reduced despite of the pandemic in the first half of 2020. The China-invested airline company, power plant, steel company, and ceramic company make a significant contribution to creating jobs and promoting developments in Ghana.
Over the past two years, the China-aided University of Health and Allied Sciences in Ho, fishing ports, 1000 boreholes bring benefits to the Ghanaian people. They are all tangible development projects for the well-being of Ghanaian people. Just as President Akufo-Addo once said, Ghana-China cooperation is a model of Africa-China cooperation.
GNA: Are there any projects or programmes that you will be working on in that regard? What are these programmes and what do they aim to achieve?
H.E. Kun: As Chinese Ambassador to Ghana, my mission in short, is to bring the two countries and people closer through communication and cooperation. In my view, we need to focus on three aspects of work at present. The first is cooperating closely on fighting against the pandemic. China will provide more supplies including; Covid-19 vaccines to Ghana and help Ghana to win the strategic victory against COVID-19. The second is promoting economic and trade cooperation steadily.
We should maintain the high-level development of bilateral trade and investment co-operation, ensure that the phase II of University of Health and Allied Sciences in Ho, Jamestown Fishing Port Complex and Pokuase Interchange could proceed in an orderly way to bring more benefits to our peoples. The third is unswervingly pushing China-Ghana friendship forward. We should enhance political trust and strengthen support to each other on issues concerning core interests.
GNA: What do you think is the appetite or interest of your home country investors for investing and seeking business opportunities in Ghana? How is your outfit working to promote this?
H.E. Kun: Ghana has the best business environment in Africa with huge investment potential. This could be proved by the facts that Ghana became the biggest recipient of FDI in West Africa in 2018 and Ghana was selected as the host to the AfCFTA Secretariat in 2019. The range of Chinese investment in Ghana is wide, which covers agriculture, manufacture and service. In recent years, the cooperation on aviation, power generation, automobile, daily chemical products and food is the highlight.
Particularly, the China-invested Africa World Airlines (AWA) and Sunon Asogli Power (Ghana) Ltd. are recognized as the model projects of China-Africa investment cooperation by the UN Office for South-South Cooperation. My office will continue to act as the bridge between China and Ghana based on the principle of equality, mutually beneficial and win-win cooperation and spare no effort to promoting the bilateral investment and business cooperation and bring more benefits to our two peoples.
GNA: What is your own assessment of how Ghana is developing, and how is your country supporting this process?
H.E. Kun: Ghana is the second largest economy in West Africa with a sound momentum of growth in recent years. Under the leadership of President Akufo-Addo, Ghana has made remarkable achievements through its flagship policies like “One District One Factory” and “Planting for Food and Jobs”. As Ghana’s good friend and partner, China has never been absent from Ghana’s development. China’s aid, financing, investment and contracting of projects are too many to count.
Taking infrastructure as an example, China supports Ghana’s “Year of Road” policy actively by building numerous trunk roads, interchanges and traffic signal systems. In addition, China also constructed gas processing factory and national fiber backbone nets for Ghana. These projects laid a solid foundation for Ghana’s industrialization and informationization.
GNA: Ghana, being part of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, what supporting mechanism will the country derive from such Forum?
H.E. Kun: The Forum on China-Africa Cooperation is an important and dynamic platform for China and Africa to carry out collective dialogues as well as an effective mechanism for practical cooperation, and represents an important flag for South-South cooperation.
In the past two decades, China and Africa have always put people first and been committed to developing a high-quality China-Africa comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership. The outcomes of FOCAC cooperation have benefited both China and African people. In the 2018 Beijing Summit of FOCAC, President Xi Jinping announced the “Eight Major Initiatives” covering industrial promotion, infrastructure connectivity, trade facilitation, green development, capacity building, healthcare, people-to-people exchange, and peace and security. President Xi Jinping also put forward specific measures including; building economic and trade cooperation zones in Africa, implementing agricultural assistance programmes, human resources training, supporting African countries to better use financial resources of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the Silk Road Fund, supporting the building of the African Continental Free Trade Area, promoting e-commerce cooperation with Africa etc.
To facilitate the smooth implementation of the eight initiatives, China provided US$ 60 billion financing facilities to Africa in the form of government assistance, investment and financing by financial institutions and companies. We warmly welcome the Ghanaian friends to take an active part in the “Eight Major Initiatives” and achieve revitalization and development with the support of FOCAC. A new session of FOCAC will be held in Senegal this year. I believe this will provide more development opportunities to African countries including; Ghana.
GNA: Can you disclose how China is helping Ghana and Africa win the battle against COVID-19?
H.E. Kun: Since the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic, China and Africa have withstood the test of a severe challenge, offered mutual support and fought shoulder to shoulder with each other. When Africa was struck by the virus, China was the first to rush in with assistance. The China-Africa friendship and mutual trust was greatly consolidated. We donated materials to the University of Ghana Medical Center, Greater Accra Regional Hospital, Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, and LEKMA Hospital, provided diagnosis equipment to Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research through WHO, and donated living and health supplies to the orphanage and women and children in the northern region with international organizations such as UNICEF.
In the meantime, the Chinese medical team has been working in the forefront with their Ghanaian counterparts. Sister provinces and cities, enterprises and Chinese communities in Ghana also make their contributions to Ghana’s battle against Covid-19.
President Xi Jinping pointed out that China cherished its longstanding traditional friendship with Africa. No matter how the international landscape evolves, China shall never waver in its resolve to strengthen solidarity and cooperation with Africa. China will continue to lead the international community in helping Africa fight against Covid-19 by providing supplies, sharing information and experiences, mobilizing more resources from local provinces and cities, enterprises and overseas Chinese communities.
China will actively promote the construction of the Africa CDC headquarters, carry forward the Healthcare Initiative within the framework of FOCAC, speed up the construction of China-Africa Friendship Hospitals and the pair cooperation between Chinese and African hospitals with a view to build a China-Africa health community.
In addition, China will continue to donate and provide vaccines to African countries to help Africa win the battle against the pandemic.
GNA: Last year marked 60th Anniversary of China-Ghana diplomatic relations. China and Ghana are standing at a new historic starting point and marching toward the common goal of development. What are your expectations of the future of bilateral relations?
H.E. Kun: 60 years ago, Chairman Mao Zedong, President Dr. Kwame Nkrumah and other leaders of older generation of our two countries made the historic decision to establish diplomatic relations. This extraordinary strategic vision ushered in a new epoch in bilateral relations. A bosom friend brings a distant near. Though thousand miles apart, China and Ghana have been fellow travelers on the road to development for 60 years. In particular when facing the Covid-19 pandemic, we are battle companions offering timely help to each other. I firmly believe that, under the strategic guidance of leaders of two countries and with the joint efforts of two peoples, we can turn the crisis into opportunities and inaugurate a new and brilliant journey for bilateral relations and cooperation.
GNA: China has successfully lifted 850 million people out of poverty in the last 40 years. What can Africa learn from China’s war against poverty?
H.E. Kun: China lifted 850 million people out of poverty in the past 40 years. This is a miniature of China’s comprehensive progress in human rights and has great significance to China and the world at large. The key for this remarkable achievement is the leadership of the Communist Party of China.
Over the past 40 years, the CPC has carried out poverty-reduction activities centered on rural poverty alleviation and large-scale development-oriented poverty eradication programmes across the country in a planned and organized way.
Particularly after the 18th National Congress of the CPC in 2012, based on the situation and features of relapse into poverty, the CPC central committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at the core coordinated and mobilized resources of all parties, made the prescription of targeted poverty alleviation, adjusted measures to local conditions, effectively solved a range of issues like “to whom help and support will be offered”, “who will offer the help and support”, “how to offer the help and support” to deepen the work of poverty alleviation and achieve tangible results.
A single flower does not make spring, while one hundred flowers in full blossom bring spring to the garden. China’s miracle of poverty alleviation provides a valuable reference to the world.
The Chinese side would like to share experiences on poverty alleviation with African friends through bilateral channel and multilateral platforms like FOCAC and Africa-China Poverty Reduction and Development Conference.
China will deepen its participation in improving the global poverty governance, thereby contribute wisdom and strength to build a community with a shared future for humanity with no poverty and common development.