Akufo-Addo cuts sod for construction of new French Embassy

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has cut the sod for the start of construction works on the new French Embassy, Friday.

The new Embassy located at Cantonment in Accra is expected to be completed within the next 18 months.

Speaking at the ceremony, the President said it was an “enriching experience and a moment of considerable joy” for him to witness the relocation process.

He noted negotiations for the move, which started in 2007, have been saddled with “mixed feelings and certain undue mark of anxiety.”

“Change can be uncomfortable,” he said, adding the Embassy has demonstrated leadership by relocating.

Months after the presidential palace was completed in 2007, security concerns were raised about its proximity with the French Embassy.

Some security experts said French intelligence satellite could interfere with that of government if something was not done about it.

This prompted the President John Agyekum Kufuor-led administration to commence negotiations with the French to relocate their Embassy.

French Ambassador, Francois Pujolas

Former President John Mahama’s government also continued with negotiations after he moved from the Osu Castle formerly the seat of government to the Flagstaff House.

Then National Security Coordinator, Lt. Col. Gbevlo Lartey disclosed in 2013 government was discussing with the French to relocate their Embassy.

But ten years after the start of negotiations, the French government has secured a land at Cantonment to construct its new Chancellery.

President Akufo-Addo expressed confidence that the new Embassy will be the foundation stone and continuation of French interest in the development of Ghana.

“Our country continues to benefit from France support in sectors such as health, rural water supply, agriculture, construction, telecommunication and industry for which we are grateful,” he said.

French Ambassador, Francois Pujolas, thanked the President for his presence, noting the ceremony symbolizes the partnership between Ghana and France.

He said the new Chancellery would be built by contractors from the two countries although they are culturally and linguistically different.

“Mr President Let me invite you in 18 months to come back and to inaugurate this new building of the French Embassy,” Mr Pujolas said.