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President Cyril Ramaphosa hosted his first state visit since becoming president last week Thursday. Ramaphosa welcomed President Nano Addo Dankwa Akufo- Addo of Ghana at Waterkloof Air Force Base near Pretoria. Ghana is becoming an economic giant on the African continent and an influential regional power so it makes sense that Ramaphosa’s administration will look to strengthen bilateral relations with this close ally. Ghana was among the African nations that did support the African National Congress (ANC) during its struggle against apartheid South Africa.
The president will be looking to strengthen South Africa’s political and diplomatic standing with Ghana while pressing for new economic opportunities especially in the mining sector.
the President of Ghana Akufo-Addo while International Relations and Cooperation Minister Sisulu and South Africa High Commissioner to Ghana L Xingwana look on.
The two countries established in May 2007 a Permanent Joint Commission for Cooperation, as a structured bilateral mechanism to provide for political, economic, social, cultural, scientific, and technical cooperation between the two countries.
“The State Visit is anticipated to provide an opportunity and deepen the bilateral relations between the two countries, paying a particular focus on economic, cultural and scientific cooperation,” said Khusela Diko, spokesperson to President Ramaphosa. The two leaders will further discuss issues of mutual interest and concern at the continental and global levels, particularly, security, peace and stability in the continent.
The cooperation between Pretoria and Accra is rooted in a strong comradeship due to their struggle against colonial repression for freedom and democracy. A bilateral relationship between the two will strengthen the president’s push for free trade and make South Africa a signatory to the Africa Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) with the strengthening of economic relations with Ghana, which has enjoyed significant economic growth rates and relative stability to African nations. Until recently only Ethiopia could equal it although Addis Ababa is catching up. Ghana of course will be looking to make common cause with South Africa around the Fourth Industrial Revolution (FIR), hence the cooperation in scientific research and learning development.
Ramaphosa has also expressed his wish that the African continent eventually stop receiving foreign aid and rely on its own resources.
Speaking at the Sefako Makgatho Presidential Guest House, Ramaphosa said: “No country can sustainably grow on the basis of foreign aid or philanthropy. We have to do it on our own.”
The president added: “We have at our disposal an abundance of natural and human resources that can be developed and harnessed to put Africa on a path of sustainable economic development.”
“To do this, Africa has to embrace and participate meaningfully in the fourth industrial revolution to develop our human capital and to beneficiate our natural resources. We must do more to promote intra-Africa trade and investment. Ghanians are therefore invited and welcomed to invest in South Africa, and South Africans are also urged to invest further in Ghana.”
Meanwhile Ghanians themselves will be most eager to agree that a new technological approach is needed for improving their economic infrastructure and transport. A fact shared by most of the African Continent which relies heavily on the opium of foreign aid that the president speaks of so resentfully. AfCFTA is itself a stepping stone towards realizing the concept of FIR in Africa. The creation of larger institutions such as regional customs unions will lay the foundations for research centers involved in improving the continent’s understanding of science and technology.
But of course, this can only be achieved if foreign aid to Africa is stopped. There after investment will increase, followed by an end to corruption and a new outlook on technology. South Africa, Ghana, Ethiopia and Nigeria are the keys to achieve this.