By: Hannah Dadzie
Germany’s participation in Accra Initiative Summit has reinforced Strategic Partnership with Ghana. They two countries have maintained longstanding and cordial relations which have been reinforced through collaboration, in support of Ghana’s development agenda, on a wide range of bilateral and multilateral issues bordering on security, diplomacy, economic cooperation, trade, investment, technology transfer, human resource development, among others.
As a testament to the strategic partnership that the two countries enjoy, the Deputy Minister of the Federal Foreign Office of the Republic of Germany, Ms. Katja Keul, represented her Government to participate effectively in the Heads of State Summit of the Accra Initiative, held on 23rd November, 2022.
During the Summit, Ms. Keul, while expressing Germany’s admiration for the efforts and commitment of the Accra initiative and its west African partners to counter threats, emphasised her country’s readiness to support the Accra initiative.
She stressed that prevention and early warning were still possible to curb terrorism and violent extremism which would make a great difference to avoid the threats that confronted the Sahel and coastal regions of Africa.
In Ghana, Germany is supporting an Accra initiative Centre by working with the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) in the most vulnerable areas in the provision of relevant equipment and the construction of required facilities.
This move by Germany has added impetus to the objectives of the Accra initiative to exchange intelligence, build capacity, and provide logistics to augment our own actions against terrorist forces in the Sahel that threaten the Sahelian region and coastal west Africa.
During a bilateral meeting with the Minister of Foreign and Regional Integration of Ghana, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, in the margins of the Accra Initiative summit, the pair reechoed the earlier statement, made during the Accra Initiative Summit, by President Akufo-Addo, which emphasised that under the Accra Initiative, troops were not required from countries as had been done under MINUSMA.
The Accra Initiative Member States possessed the human resource based on experience garnered from other conflict missions, which had enabled the member states to pledge, at the Summit, to contribute soldiers into a pool to commence counter terrorist attacks, but not peacekeeping operations, aimed at preventing the terrorists from gaining access to the coastal areas.
The Accra Initiative (AI) is a cooperative and collaborative security mechanism, launched in 2017 under the leadership of the President Akufo-Addo with his colleagues from Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire and Togo.
The current membership of the Initiative are Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Togo, Mali and Niger. The Initiative aims to prevent a spillover of terrorism from the Sahel and to address transnational organized crime within the common border areas of member states.
The Accra Initiative is an African-led, African-executed initiative which would depend solely on the armed forces of its member states.
Apart from the collaboration in the security space, relations have also been encouraging on the political and economic fronts. Ghana’s membership of the G20 “Compact with Africa” (CwA) made the country one of the first African countries to have signed the Compact, which was launched under the German G20 Presidency in 2017. The engagement under the Compact is important as Ghana advocates for an Africa beyond aid to foster sustainable growth in Africa.
This partnership under the CwA, led to an initiative for Fairafric to set up a subsidiary in Ghana to advance sustainable chocolate production capacity in the Central Region of Ghana.
Fairafric, is a Ghanaian-German Social Business which produces premium quality chocolate. Again “DO THE RIGHT THING” (DTRT) Apparel expanded its textiles production by creating 1,500 additional jobs in Greater Accra.
The G20 Compact with Africa (CwA) was initiated under the German G20 Presidency to promote private investment in Africa, including in infrastructure.
The CwA’s primary objective is to increase attractiveness of private investment through substantial improvements of the macro, business and financing frameworks. It brings together reform-minded African countries, international organizations and bilateral partners from G20 and beyond to coordinate country-specific reform agendas, support respective policy measures and advertise investment opportunities to private investors.
Regarding Trade and investment, Ghana is one of Germany’s most important trading partners in sub-Saharan Africa. In that regard, Germany chose to host in February 2019, the “German Africa Business Summit” with more than 600 participants, in Accra which was the first time it was held in West Africa.
Ghana’s main exports to Germany include aluminum, timber and wood products, cocoa beans and cocoa products, jewelry, precious and semi-precious stones, gold, vegetable oils and fats, fresh tropical fruits and handicrafts.
Germany on the other hand exports motor vehicles, machines and chemical products to Ghana.
According to the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC), a total number of 197 German investment projects were registered within the period September 1994 to 2022. It is estimated that German investors in Ghana would create employment for over 6,930 Ghanaians.
Economic activities have expanded between Ghana and Germany over the years. Volkswagen (VW), in August 2020, set up a car assembly facility in Ghana. Siemens, in January 2020, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCO) to upgrade and extend Ghana’s transmission, infrastructure, improve grid capacity and stability, enable and expand a stable power export to neighbouring countries within the West African Power Pool. Siemens intends to educate and train young Ghanaians in various engineering disciplines and on Siemens equipment for STEM and TVET education, thus, adding credence to our fruitful collaboration with Germany in support of education, training and Sustainable Growth through initiatives such as Ghana Beyond Aid and attraction of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to provide jobs, through industrialisation.
In 2020, Knauff, a leading German building materials company, established its office in Accra, while, a German-Ghanaian Joint Economic Commission was launched in Berlin in 2019.
We also have an Institutional Partnerships on the Promotion of Anti-Dumping, Anti-Subsidy and Safeguard Rules and improving the Standards of Public Test Laboratories in the Field of Construction Materials and Chemicals.
Ghana will continue its strategic cooperation with Germany on other projects such as the ‘Digital Ghana Agenda’, which involves the digitisation of services and processes in the country to optimize efficiency and effectiveness. Cooperation in the field of E-waste management is also worth highlighting.
In the area of health, the German Government supported Ghana at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic with Germany’s supply of 25 million euros worth of COVID-19 relief support from Germany and financial assistance in boosting the infectious diseases management capacity of the Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research in Tropical Medicine (KCCR) and the Takoradi Regional Hospital.
Further collaboration in the health sector was established when the Governments of Ghana, Rwanda and Senegal entered a joint partnership with German Biotechnology Company, BioNTech SE, to manufacture, fill, finish and package BioNTech mRNA vaccines for Covid-19, Malaria and Tuberculosis. This partnership will position Ghana to meet its vaccine needs and those of Africa at large.
On the multilateral front, Ghana’s membership of the UN Security Council provides further opportunity to promote international peace and security from the perspective of its common aspirations, especially as they relate to any action by any State that breaches the United Nations Charter and threatens the sovereignty and territorial integrity of a country.
Ghana will therefore, enhance its partnership through burden-sharing with Germany, especially, in the areas of intelligence sharing, logistics, capabilities and training of relevant security personnel.