General News of Saturday, 4 March 2017
The President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has enlisted the support and technical assistance of the government of Cuba for the construction of a biolarvicide factory in Ghana to help in the fight against malaria.
Apart from the production of biolarvicides, the factory, when established, will also produce bio-fertiliser to boost agricultural productivity and create jobs.
A biolarvicide is an insecticide that kills mosquito larvae.
President Akufo-Addo made the appeal when the Cuban Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Pedro Luis González Despaign, paid a courtesy call on him at the Flagstaff House to congratulate him, on behalf of the Cuban President, Raúl Castro, on his election to the high office of President of the Republic of Ghana.
The President recounted that the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government, under the leadership of President J. A. Kufuor, sought the assistance of Cuba for the construction of the facility, but the project was abandoned following the party’s exit from government in January 2009.
He, therefore, requested for the revival of the project in partnership with the Cuban government.
The President observed that in many parts of the world where malaria had been completely eradicated, one of the key strategies adopted was effective vector control.
For his part, Mr Despaign expressed the willingness of the Cuban government to assist Ghana in that sector, including areas such as biopharmaceuticals, education, culture and tourism, construction and sports.
With Ghana being the first country in Africa to establish diplomatic relations with Cuba, Mr Despaign said the two countries would continue to share a special relationship, disclosing that a high level delegation from Cuba would attend Ghana’s 60th Independence Day celebration.
Touching on the existing cooperation between the two countries, he said there were 239 Ghanaians currently studying medicine in Cuba.
And as part of the Cuban Medical Brigade, Mr Despaign said there were hundreds of Cuban doctors working in the country.
However, the Cuban Ambassador said Ghana’s outstanding indebtedness in the aforementioned areas amounted to US$4,732,700.
Almost the entire debt, he said, was incurred over the last eight years, and urged government’s prompt action in defraying it.
Mr Despaign also said Cuba was counting on the support of Ghana in helping to lift the commercial, economic and financial embargo imposed on the country by the United States of America (USA).
In response, President Akufo-Addo thanked the Cuban Ambassador for the visit, and assured him of working to strengthen the relationship between the two countries.
On the issue of the debt, he pledged the commitment of the government to take action on it.
President Akufo-Addo further assured the Cuban Ambassador of Ghana’s continued advocacy in helping to end the blockade against the Caribbean Island.