Netherland ambassador bids farewell to Foreign Minister

Foreign Affairs Minister, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey with Ronald Gerard Strikker

Mr Ronald Gerard Strikker, the outgoing Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Ghana, has bid farewell to Madam Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration.

Mr Strikker, a career diplomat with a background in law, was appointed Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Ghana in 2016.

Prior to that, he served as Ambassador to the Kingdom of Morocco and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

He has also served in various capacities as a Dutch envoy in Nairobi, Tunis, Santiago de Chile, Bangkok, and Paris.

During the meeting in Accra, the Minister congratulated Mr Strikker on the successful completion of his tour of duty in Ghana.

She acknowledged that Ghana and the Netherlands have had long-standing and fruitful bilateral relations, which date back to the 1970s.

The Minister reaffirmed Ghana’s determination and her personal desire to continue to forge strong partnerships of cooperation and to consolidate as well as deepen relations between the two countries for the mutual benefit of our two peoples.

She said during Mr Strikker’s tenure, relations between the two countries were characterized by the regular exchange of high-level visits, which offered the Ghanaian and Dutch leaders, an opportunity to renew their commitment to tackling issues of mutual interest.

She cited the visit to Ghana in November 2017 by Mr Mark Rutte, the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Netherlands, and that of Madam Carola Schouten, the Dutch Deputy Prime Minister in February 2019.

She also mentioned the visit to Ghana in November 2017 of Madam Sigrid Kaag, the Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation.

In addition, the Minister recalled the visit to the Netherlands by a five-member delegation from the Parliamentary Select Committee on Foreign Affairs of Ghana, led by the then Chairman of the Committee, Mr Emmanuel Bandua in August 2016.

She expressed appreciation to the Dutch Government for its firm support to Ghana’s health sector over the years, including the provision of funding for the construction of five medical clinics in the Western Region.

She also mentioned the installation of 52 X-ray systems across Ghana, equipped with Computer-Aided Detection for TB (CAD4TB) and teleradiology by Dutch firms Oldelft Benelux and Universal Hospitals Group as well as the construction of a water treatment plant in Navrongo.

Madam Ayorkor Botchwey observed that the Netherlands was the lead market destination for Ghana’s non-traditional exports in 2016 and underscored the need to bolster the trade relations between the two countries by leveraging on Ghana’s hosting of the Secretariat of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area.

The Minister conveyed appreciation for the strong Dutch commitment and participation in the ongoing EU-Ghana Sustainable Cocoa Dialogue, which had been a great success thus far.

She expressed the hope that in the coming years the two countries could explore new areas of cooperation particularly in the areas of energy, metallurgy, and machinery, where the Netherlands had enormous expertise and comparative advantage and urged the Ambassador to suggest these areas to his successor.

She assured him that the Government would collaborate with and support his successor to ensure the further elevation of the bilateral relations between Ghana and the Netherlands.

Mr Strikker on his part said it was a great opportunity for him to serve in Ghana, which enabled him to contribute a little bit to the great relationship between the two nations; in areas such as political atmosphere, economic diplomacy, and trade agenda.

The outgoing Ambassador informed the Minister that he would be retiring from active service at the end of his duty tour of Ghana.