President Nana Akufo-Addo is seeking the support and technical assistance of the Cuban government for the construction of a biolarvicide factory in Ghana, to help in the fight against malaria.
In many parts of the world where malaria has been completely eradicated, even before the development of effective medication, one of the key strategies adopted was effective vector control.
It is against this background that the NPP government, under the leadership of President Kufuor, sought the assistance of Cuba for the construction of the facility for the manufacture of a biolarvicide.
This is an insecticide that kills the mosquito larvae – newly hatched mosquitoes. Apart from the production of biolarvicides against malaria, the factory was also to produce bio-fertilizer to boost agricultural productivity and create jobs.
President Akufo-Addo noted that this project was, however, abandoned after the exit of the NPP government in January 2009, and has, therefore, requested for the revival of the project in partnership with the Cuban government.
He made this known when the Cuban Ambassador to Ghana, Pedro Luis González Despaign, paid a courtesy call on him at the Presidency to congratulate him, on behalf of Cuban President, Raúl Castro, on his election to the high office of President of the Republic.
Mr. Gonzalez Despaign, in his remarks to President Akufo-Addo, indicated the willingness of the Cuban government to assist Ghana in this endeavour, as well as co-operate further in the areas of biopharmaceuticals, education, culture and tourism, construction, and sports.
With Ghana being the first country in Africa to establish diplomatic relations with Cuba, Ambassador Despaign indicated that the two countries would continue to share a special relationship, stressing that a high-level delegation from Cuba would be present at the 60th Independence Day celebration, in this regard.
Touching on the co-operation between Ghana and Cuba in the field of medicine, he noted that a total of 239 Ghanaian students are currently studying medicine in Cuba. In addition to this, hundreds of Cuban doctors are currently in the country, as part of the Cuban medical brigade.
However, the Cuban Ambassador noted that Ghana’s outstanding indebtedness in the afore-mentioned areas totals US$4,732,700. Virtually the entire debt, he said, was incurred over the last 8 years, and urged government’s prompt action in defraying this debt.
Ambassador Despaign also indicated that Cuba is counting on the support of Ghana to helping in helping to lift the commercial, economic, and financial embargo imposed by the United States of America on Cuba.
President Akufo-Addo, on his part, thanked the Cuban Ambassador for the courtesy of his visit and assured him of the strengthening of Ghana’s relations with Cuba during the tenure of his office.
He assured Ambassador Despaign of his government’s prompt action in the matter of Ghana’s indebtedness to Cuba in the area of medical co-operation between the two countries.
President Akufo-Addo reassured the Cuban Ambassador of Ghana’s continued advocacy in helping to end the blockade against the Caribbean Island.