26
Wed, Sep

GHANA, CHINA SEAL $2bn DEAL.....DESPITE NDC SABOTAGE

Business & Economy

Despite diabolical attempts by the opposition National Democratic Congress to sabotage a US$2 billion Chinese loan that the New Patriotic Party government is securing to undertake several priority infrastructure projects across the country, Ghana and China have this past week signed eight co-operation agreements and memorandums of understanding, including the $2bn deal with the Chinese state-owned engineering and construction giant Sinohydro.

Despite diabolical attempts by the opposition National Democratic Congress to sabotage a US$2 billion Chinese loan that the New Patriotic Party government is securing to undertake several priority infrastructure projects across the country, Ghana and China have this past week signed eight co-operation agreements and memorandums of understanding, including the $2bn deal with the Chinese state-owned engineering and construction giant Sinohydro.

 

The agreements, which relate to multiple sectors of both countries’ economies, were signed on Saturday. They aim to strengthen the ties of co-operation and bonds of friendship between Ghana and China.


The NDC had tried to ensure that the deal never materialised. Minority MPs wrote to the International Monetary Fund, copying their letter to the World Bank and demanding that the deal be stopped because, they claimed, it was “illegal”. The same NDC helped pass legislation agreeing the loan before the House rose late last month.


The agreements were sealed after Presidents Nana Addo Akufo-Addo and Xi Jinping held bilateral talks.

                                                                                                  Firm friends

The agreements include the “One Belt, One Road Memorandum of Understanding”, the “Memorandum on Regional Aviation Co-operation”, the “Agreement for Co-operation in the Peaceful Use of Nuclear Energy” and a pact agreeing “Co-operation to Carry Out Maternal and Child Health Project”.


The others are the “Framework Agreement on Financing Insurance Co-operation” (which covers the $2bn Sinohydro deal), and the deals on “Economic Co-operation on Phase 2 Project of the University of Health and Allied Sciences, Ho”, “Co-operation on the Expansion of the Cape Coast Stadium” and “Co-operation on the Supply of Police Vehicles to the Ghana Police Service”.


Touching on the relationship between the two countries, President Akufo-Addo noted that the relationship between Ghana and China has been excellent over the years, and that Ghana has been a firm friend of China.


China for the past three years has been Ghana’s largest trading partner, and President Akufo-Addo acknowledged that “Chinese co-operation and investment in our economy are essential” to the delivery of progress and prosperity to the people of Ghana.

                                                                                                  Road and rail

Highlighting matters of critical concern to Ghana, President Akufo-Addo noted that his government has been engaged in an all-out fight against illegal mining, popularly known as galamsey. He informed the Chinese President about the involvement of certain Chinese nationals in illegal small-scale mining.


President Akufo-Addo insisted that his administration would not relent in its fight to restore the purity of Ghana’s water bodies and ensure a healthy environment.
He urged President Xi Jinping to intervene, saying: “We want your help fully, so that we can remove this impediment to the strong co-operation between Ghana and China.”


On development of Ghanaian infrastructure, he told his Chinese counterpart that Ghana is interested in receiving investment from China in sectors such as rail and roads.
“We are thinking about a railway network that is intended to be a part of the Belt and Road Initiative, which will link our country to the Maghreb region, and thereby re-create the old trade route that linked the southern part of West Africa to North Africa,” he announced.

                                                                                                  The long view

With Ghana leaving its IMF oversight arrangement by the end of 2018, a programme entered into by the immediate past Mahama-led government, the President stressed that Ghana is “determined never to return into the focus of an IMF programme”.


“In order to do so, we are looking seriously at how we can secure sources of long-term finance that will allow us to deal with our infrastructural development,” he said, “and also realise the vision of a Ghana Beyond Aid.”


He told the Chinese President: “The Ministry of Finance and the economists in Ghana are looking at floating a $50bn Century Bond. This will provide us with the resources to finance our infrastructural and industrial development.


“We are hoping that, at some stage, China will interest itself, and take a part of it as China’s contribution to Ghana’s development.”

                                                                                                Meeting with Premier

Later on Saturday President Akufo-Addo held bilateral talks with Li Keqiang, Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China. The two leaders discussed matters relating to infrastructural development, communications, and oil and gas.


President Akufo-Addo explained to the Chinese Premier that a significant focus of his visit to China was the $2bn Sinohydro transaction. His trip immediately preceded the 2018 Forum on China-Africa Co-operation (FOCAC) summit, which takes place from 3-4 September, and has drawn leaders from across the African continent to Beijing.
“We are looking at this transaction to afford us the opportunity to expand and improve our road infrastructure, as well as the railway development of our country,” he said.


President Akufo-Addo was hopeful that his visit to China will “reinvigorate our relationship, provide us with the opportunity to contribute to the success of the FOCAC summit, and also enhance the nature of the co-operation between our two countries”.

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