Queen Margrethe II of Denmark and President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo Thursday night toasted to refocus relations between Denmark and Ghana, with both countries seeking to enliven relations through investment and trade, and not aid for development.
At a State Dinner hosted by President Akufo-Addo in honour of the visiting Danish Monarch at the Accra International Conference Centre, both leaders affirmed their countries commitment to seek and forge mutually beneficial cooperation in trade, investment and politics, based on the shared values of sustained social and economic progress.
President Akufo-Addo who was delighted to have Queen Margrethe II in Ghana, said his government shared Denmark’s vision of now concentrating more its engagement with Ghana on enhancing trade and investment.
“We believe the basis for cooperation must go beyond aid and be anchored on trade and investment”, he said, endorsing wholeheartedly a shift from development cooperation to strategic dialogue on trade and investment in Ghana-Denmark relations that had waxed stronger in recent times.
The President was grateful to Denmark for the support it had given Ghana over the years through its Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA), which had made great financial commitments in the areas of human and sustainable development, economic growth, institutional reforms and sustainable livelihoods, as well as conflict prevention.
However, Ghana is determined to free itself from dependence on aid, which does not bolster good governance, and is geared to move its economic life from the production and export of raw materials to that of value addition.
“We intend to process more of our resources here in our country….there can be no future prosperity for our people in the short, medium or long term, if we continue to maintain economic structures that are dependent on the production and export of raw materials.
“We intend to add value to our raw materials resources, industrialise and enhance agricultural productivity ….this is the only way we can put Ghana at the high end of the value chain in the global market place and create jobs for the teeming masses of Ghanaians, particularly the youth.”
President Akufo-Addo said it was for this reason that his government was implementing measures aimed at attracting both domestic and foreign investment into Ghana, as well a stimulating growth of the private sector.
He said since assuming the reigns of governance, his administration had introduced a far-reaching monetary policy that is stabilising the currency, and reducing significantly the cost of borrowing, and a raft of tax cuts to encourage businesses.
“The economy has grown, interest rates are declining and the Cedi is more stable, as a result Ghana’s macro economics is growing stronger…these measures have been put in place to build the most business friendly economy in Africa and create jobs and prosperity for all Ghanaians,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo urged the business delegation accompanying the Danish Monarch to take advantage of the business friendly climate to investment in Ghana, recommending government’s flagship One District, One Factory, and the Planting for Food and Jobs programme, as areas they could invest in.
Queen Margrethe II on her part was full of praise for Ghana’s democratic structures, respect for human rights and free press and the rule of law that has set an important example for the region.
She said the Danes were pleased to follow last years’ free and fair elections and the peaceful transition of power from one democratically elected president to another, saying, “The unambiguous support of the Ghanaian people to democracy is a cause for greater optimism on our nation’s behalf.”
The Queen was happy with Ghana’s achievement over the years it has cooperated with Denmark, adding that, seeing the country move into a lower middle income status, with a growing middle class was an indicator of the sustained social and economic progress that Ghana was experiencing.
“Denmark is proud to have stood with you during this journey and having contributed to the foundation which Ghana stands today…
“Yet Ghana’s development also means that our relationship is changing…Danish development cooperation is gradually being phased out and replaced by cooperation concentrating on trade and investments”, she noted.
Queen Margrethe II was optimistic that her visit to Ghana would further strengthen and spawn mutually beneficial partnerships centered on investments and business opportunities, saying that, both countries had much to gain from partnerships which would bring investments to Ghana and contribute to social and economic development