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Ghana and Kenya expand cooperation


Ghana and Kenya agreed on Wednesday to form a Bi-National Commission to expand and explore new avenues for cooperation within the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement.

In furtherance of this, the two sides signed a Memorandum of Understanding to elevate the Permanent Joint Commission for Cooperation (PJCC) that governs econom­ic growth and technical cooper­ation between the two nations.

The signing of the agreement was supervised by Ghana’s Foreign Minister, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, and Kenya’s Prime Cabinet Secretary/Cabinet Secretary for Foreign and Diaspora Affairs, Dr Musalia Mudavadi, at the Jubilee House, Accra.

This was witnessed by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and President William Ruto of Kenya, who is on a three-day official visit to Ghana.

Ruto is in the country to reaffirm the cooperation and friendship developed between the two countries. This is his first visit to Ghana since assuming office in September 2022.

Seven other agreements on education, tourism, diplomacy, defence cooperation and security, trade and investment, manufacturing and governance were also signed to strengthen relations between the two countries.

At a joint press conference after the signing of the bilateral agreements, President Akufo-Addo said trade and economic ties had been growing steadily between Ghana and Kenya, with both nations fostering deeper understanding and supporting each other on international platforms including the United Nations, the African Union, and the Commonwealth.

He acknowledged the significant strides made in their bilateral relations, particularly with the agreement on visa waivers for all categories of passports.

The presidents of the two countries had been advocating common positions on issues such as climate change and sustainable development, and their relations were marked by mutual respect, cooperation and shared commitment to furthering the interests of their own countries and the African continent.

He said the talks between him and his Kenyan counterpart focused on boosting domestic and foreign investment in their two nations, as well as the need for improved cooperation and participation in development activities.

He thanked Kenya for its support in Ghana’s quest to host the Secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA), stating that the AfCFTA’s importance should not be underestimated, “as its successful operation has the potential to transform the continent’s economic circumstances.”

President Akufo-Addo stated that Ghana, Kenya, and six other countries’ involvement in the AfCFTA’s Guided Trade Initiative (GTI) would boost intra-African trade, increase the continent’s competitive advantage, and strengthen its position in the global market.

He said the GTI had enabled Ghana to make significant inroads into the East African markets, particularly Kenya and Tanzania, with over 700 AfCFTA-certified products from Ghana, including cosmetics, processed foods, beverages, coconut oil, shea butter, and groundnuts, being targeted at the AfCFTA markets.

The President said that the two sides also discussed in further detail potential areas of collaboration such as education, trade and industry, agriculture, tourism, defence cooperation, immigration, environment, science and technology, petroleum and hydrocarbon development, tourism, and security.

He was hopeful that the signing and implementation of the MoU’s would promote and drive cooperation between the two countries.

The two sides also called for UN reforms, particularly the composition of the Security Council, and reiterated the common call for urgent, rapid reform of the international monetary system to facilitate equity and fairness in its operation, allowing African countries to gain easier access to capital to finance their development.

They also emphasised the need for African countries to deposit one-third of their sovereign reserves in African multilateral financial institutions to strengthen their balance sheets and mobilise more resources for the growth of the continent.

This would be a better use of the continent’s resources than allowing them to lie passively in foreign banks and accrue negative interest.

On climate change, the two countries restated their determination to help meet the global commitment to halve emissions by 2030 and achieve neutrality by 2050.

However, they argued that a balance should be found and maintained between social, economic, and environmental imperatives to avoid jeopardizing Africa’s growth possibilities.

The two countries also urged the world’s developed nations, which are responsible for 76 percent of carbon emissions compared to Africa’s four percent, to honour their commitments to developing countries to help fight climate change, as agreed at COP 21 in Paris and COP 26 in Glasgow.

They also reiterated their strong support for the Nairobi Declaration, which emerged from the 2023 Africa Climate Summit.

President Ruto, on his part, said the establishment of the bi-national commission would allow his country to elevate its interaction and collaboration with Ghana.

“We have noted this development as a significant milestone in the evolution of our diplomatic ties, which stand on a warm and cordial dynamic and impactful historic collaboration.

We have also agreed that the inaugural session of the BI national commission would provide us with an opportunity to reaffirm our friendship, deepen our bilateral ties, and strengthen the normal course of African economic integration as espoused by our Africa Union Agenda 2063,” he said.

President Ruto explained that the Pan African independence movement inspired many African countries that followed Ghana’s independence and that AfCFTA, based in Ghana, was a driving force in the economic integration and development of 55 countries across eight regions and economic communities on the continent.

He stated that the free movement of people between Ghana and Kenya had greatly benefited trade, investment, and tourism, emphasising that “In this respect, His Excellency and I noted that trade between Kenya and Ghana is growing in 2002, for example, in 2022, Kenya’s imports to Ghana were valued at 10.4 million US dollars, and imports were valued at 4.8 million US dollars.”

In September 2022, Kenya shipped its first consignment of locally made batteries to Ghana following its selection among seven countries to pilot the continental free trade area, aimed at facilitating the movement of goods and services across Africa.

According to the United Nations COMTRADE database on international trade, Kenya’s exports to Ghana in 2021 were valued at 10.3 million dollars. Key products exported from Ghana to Kenya during the same period included cocoa powder, rubber, and other live plants, cuttings and slips, as well as mushroom spawn.

Source: GNA

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