President Nana Akufo-Addo and Angela Merkel posing with other government officials from either country
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has described Ghana’s relations with Germany as being “of utmost importance”, as Ghana is determined to participate fully in the global market place not on the basis of the exports of raw materials, but on the basis of the exports of things the country makes.
According to President Akufo-Addo, “we, in Ghana, are drawing inspiration from the success stories of North Rhine-Westphalia and Germany, because, likewise, we want to build a progressive and prosperous country.”
Citing from the oft-cited African proverb, which says, and I quote, ‘If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together’, he stated “We have resolved to walk hand-in-hand with North Rhine-Westphalia and Germany because we desire to walk far, especially as we share attachments to common values of respect for individual liberties and human rights, of respect for the rule of law, and of respect for the principles of democratic accountability.”
The President made this known on Monday, 23 August 2021, when he delivered a speech in Dusseldorf, in the Federal Republic of Germany, as part of the 75th anniversary celebrations of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany’s number one industrial region and most populous state.
Addressing the gathering in the presence of German Chancellor, Dr. Angela Merkel, and the Minister-President for North Rhine-Westphalia, Armin Laschet, with Germany being a major exporter of industrial products and technology, with North Rhine-Westphalia being in the lead, Ghana’s relations with Germany are of utmost importance, and must be hinged on this.
“The recent establishment of a Volkswagen assembly plant in Accra is a welcome development, and we are encouraged by the fact that more and more German companies have expressed their willingness to set up shop in Ghana,” he said.
Ghana’s second priority, President Akufo-Addo said, is to increase trade and investment co-operation, because it is one of the ways the country can develop healthy, economic relations with North Rhine-Westphalia and Germany, and, indeed, with the rest of the world, thereby helping put Ghanaian products at the high end of the global value chain, and create jobs for the teeming masses of Ghanaian youths.
“Thirdly, Ghana and Germany must co-operate in ensuring the promotion of transparent and inclusive policy and decision-making processes at local, national, regional, continental and global levels. This would include, recognising as key stakeholders, the State to help provide direction and facilitation; the private sector to drive the creation and management of markets, agriculture, industry and decent jobs; and civil society to help ensure accountability within the body politic,” he said.
The President reiterated his commitment to renewing and deepening relations “with Germany, with North Rhine-Westphalia at her centre, to our mutual advantage. We do want to, and we shall work, to take Ghana to where she deserves to be, a prosperous and dynamic member of the world community, which is neither victim nor pawn of the world order.”
Extending the best wishes of the governments and peoples of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to the people of North Rhine-Westphalia, President Akufo-Addo conveyed his deep sympathies on the recent flooding tragedy that befell them.
Recounting the events that led to the formation of North Rhine-Westphalia in 1946, the President noted that there are many residents who would have seen for themselves the destruction of their homes and business because of World War 2.
“I am certain many moved on in search of greener pastures elsewhere, and I am equally certain that many more stayed to help in the rebuilding efforts that followed on from 1946. The ‘founding residents’ of this State will be proud of the transformation that has taken place here since those difficult, dramatic days,” he added.
With North Rhine-Westphalia being Germany’s greatest industrial region, and consistently, for several decades, being one of Europe’s most important economic centres, President added that “these laudable accolades did not happen by chance. It took creativity, determination, enterprise, hard work and innovation, and credit for this goes to successive generations of North Rhine-Westphalians and their leaders”.