Ghana and Cape Verde have resolved to develop stronger ties and explore areas of cooperation for their mutual benefit. President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and his Cape Verdean counterpart, President Jorge Carlos Fonseca, made the commitment to develop stronger cooperation between their countries when the two leaders held bilateral talks in Praia in Cape Verde last Friday.
President Nana Akufo-Addo was in Cape Verde for a three-day official visit on the third leg of his three West African nation tour.
As part of its commitment to deepen ties with Cape Verde, Ghana is to explore areas of cooperation in fisheries and tourism, for which Cape Verde is noted, through the sharing of expertise and best practices.
President Akufo-Addo said trade among countries in Africa remained low compared to other parts of the world, citing that trade between Ghana and Cape Verde had reduced from $5 million in 2013 to less than $200,000 in 2016.
For a West African region that had made the choice of pursuing integration, President Akufo-Addo bemoaned the fact that “we have not done much as we should in liberalising and promoting trade among member countries.”
He, thus, advocated the implementation of deliberate measures aimed at enhancing trade and business collaboration between Ghana and Cape Verde.
“We should also try to increase the volumes of trade between our two countries, as this would create jobs, as well as boost incomes for our two peoples. We should endeavour to establish direct flights between Accra and Praia to avoid going through Casablanca in Morocco, for instance, before we can reach each other,” President Akufo-Addo said.
He further proposed the establishment of direct shipping lines, linking Accra to Praia, to facilitate trade between the two countries, adding that “ we should, as rapidly as possible, establish a Permanent Joint Commission for Cooperation to serve as the legal framework for addressing the trade and investment concerns of our two countries,” he added.
Reiterating his commitment towards strengthening ECOWAS, President Akufo-Addo said for a marked improvement in the welfare of the 350 million people currently living in the 15 member states of ECOWAS, it was extremely important that “we, the leaders, demonstrate strong political will to make the community an economic and political success, and make the project of integration real.”
With West Africa’s population set to hit 500 million people in 20 years from now, he said, the sub-region could be a large regional market, which could present immense opportunities to bring prosperity to the region.
“The time for West African integration is now. Together, all ECOWAS member states should show real commitment towards converting ECOWAS into a true regional market,” President Akufo-Addo said.
The President also commended his Cape Verdean counterpart for the strong leadership he had exhibited ever since he assumed office in 2011.
“You inherited a challenging macroeconomic situation, but the proof of the turnaround of the Cape Verdean economy is evident in the projected growth rate for 2016. By encouraging private sector participation in the economy, and improving the key macroeconomic indicators, your country’s growth rate has more than doubled, from 1.5 per cent in 2015 to 4 per cent in 2016,” he stated.
The establishment of a market economy and the development of Cape Verde’s tourism industry, among others, President Akufo-Addo said, contributed to President Fonseca obtaining 74 per cent of valid votes in the October 2016 polls, describing it as “a clear testament of the confidence your people have in you. You are doing something right, Mr President. Long may it continue!”
President Akufo-Addo addressing the gathering
President Akufo-Addo with a section the Ghanaian community in Praia
President Akufo-Addo being presented with a gift by the Chairman of the Ghanaian community in Cape Verde