Ghana’s Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, and Germany’s Deputy Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Friedrich Kitschelt, signed the agreement for their respective countries.
The signing ceremony was witnessed by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and the visiting German President, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, at the Flagstaff House in Accra on Tuesday.
The agreement is part of Germany’s G-20 Compact with Africa for sustainable economic development.
The partnership with Ghana is geared towards improving conditions for sustainable private sector investment, investment in infrastructure, economic participation and employment in the country.
After the signing of the agreement, the two leaders addressed a joint press conference, during which President Akufo-Addo described the relations between the two countries as excellent and that Ghana was the third biggest trading partner of Germany in sub-Saharan Africa.
Beyond that, he said, there were “many important features of commonality between what we are trying to do here and what is taking place in Germany”.
Emulating the German example
He said Germany had always been distinguished by some key elements that were worthy of emulation by Ghana.
First, he said, there was the prevalence and importance of small and medium-scale enterprises within the context of the German economy.
“Small and medium-scale enterprises are the overwhelming number of enterprises in our own economy and how to scale them up and strengthen them is the major challenge of policy for us in Ghana. We believe that this is an area where we can profit very strongly from the German experience and model,” he said.
Another area where Germany had taken the lead in the world, President Akufo-Addo said, was the training of its workforce.
He alluded to the so-called dual system that allowed people to work and study in Germany, saying that initiative had made the German workforce one of the most efficient in Europe and the world.
That, according to him, showed in the continued performance and resilience of the German economy.
The President said education was the main priority of the government and that a considerable part of state funds had been invested in the sector, with the vision to scaling up the capacity and competence of the nation’s workforce.
He said Germany was an important world leader in the area of renewable energy and that was another extremely important area of concern to Ghana.
“We have significant hydro resources, as we all know, and we believe that going down the road, a mixture of hydro and renewable energy represents the best mix for the energy generation of the future. We are hoping again that this is an area where we can have a meaningful intercourse with Germany,” he stated.
He said the German President had come to Ghana with a very impressive business delegation and that he was hopeful that the delegation would have a very serious and meaningful interraction with the Ghanaian business community, so that the very strong relations that existed between the two countries would continue to deepen.
“Ghana beyond aid is one of the finest and greatest resonance of the leadership of Germany and it provides another important basis for this continuing and fruitful dialogue between our two countries,” President Akufo-Addo added.
Mr Friedrich Kitschelt, the German Deputy Minister for Economic Cooperation, and Mr Ken Ofori-Atta signing the deal between the two countries. With them are President Akufo-Addo and Mr Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the President of the Federal Republic of Germany.
A long-standing tradition
In his remarks, President Steinmeier said relations between Germany and Ghana had a long-standing tradition and that in the last years it had been given additional impetus and grown immensely.
That, he said, was evidenced by the visible proof which he and his delegation had when they interacted with business representatives from Ghana, adding that the interest in each other was incredibly great and a matter of curiosity for various reasons.
“As far as German businesses and industry are concerned, I can say that, compared to other African countries, the infrastructure and the investment condition and climate are much better here and German businesses and industry are happy to invest where there is democracy like Ghana where you have a tradition of stability,” President Steinmeier said.
He said Ghana had shown the world in the last 12 months that it was possible to move away from divisive tendencies through determined actions and that the data available to Germany on Ghana had improved, stressing that “we are more optimistic now than we were a year or two ago”.
President Steinmeier said interest on the part of Ghana in Germany’s investment was just as great because it was not only about investing in companies and plants but also about German companies bringing Germany’s educational model and experience to Ghana.
He was full of praise for the government’s focus on education to spearhead efforts to build a Ghana beyond aid and pledged the commitment of Germany to support and co-operate with Ghana to make that vision possible and attainable.
“This is very important and, as important as it is, we are more than happy to be of assistance. We will support you in that endeavour and co-operate with you in that regard. The joint declaration of intent on the design of a partnership to promote private investment and sustainable economic development is a sign of us respecting fully what Ghana has been doing in the recent past,” he added.