Madam Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, has bid farewell to Mrs. Diana Acconcia, the outgoing European Union (EU) Ambassador to Ghana.
This was when Mrs. Acconcia paid a farewell visit to the Minister, at the end of her three-year tour of duty as Head of the EU Delegation to Ghana.
Madam Botchway congratulated the Ambassador on the successful completion of her tour of duty and acknowledged that bilateral relations between Ghana and the EU witnessed active engagements and growth during her tenure.
She lauded the Ambassador for the successful organization of the annual Ghana-EU Political Dialogues, which afforded both sides the opportunity to discuss pertinent issues of mutual interests.
She said the increasing development assistance Ghana was receiving from the EU was a reflection of the strong bilateral relations and that the development cooperation supported critical programs towards the country’s socio-economic development.
The Foreign Minister expressed appreciation for signing an 87-million-euro special emergency budget support agreement between Ghana and the EU in 2020 to assist the country’s response to the COVID-19 crisis.
Madam Botchwey commended the EU for its funding of the COVAX facility, which made it possible for low and middle-income countries to benefit from the COVID-19 vaccines, in line with the EU’s commitment to ensuring equitable access.
She applauded the launch of the Multi-stakeholder Dialogue on Sustainable Cocoa by the European Commission to provide recommendations for the sustainability of the cocoa supply chain.
The Minister reiterated the commitment of Ghana to collaborate with the EU and other stakeholders to ensure its cocoa production promoted good forest cover, eliminating child labor, and secured the socio-economic well-being of cocoa farmers.
She highlighted the importance of the official presentation of the Final Report of the 2020 EU Election Observation Mission (EOM) to Ghana by Chief Observer, MEP Javier Nart, in Accra on 12th April 2021, as the recommendations would facilitate improvement in Ghana’s democratic governance.
The Minister lauded the EU support for peace and security within West Africa and the Sahel as well as the EU commitment to the multilateral system, with the UN at its core.
This is alongside other regional organizations, especially the AU, ECOWAS, and the G5 Sahel in the maintenance of international peace and security.
Madam Botchwey expressed satisfaction with the EU’s involvement and commitment to resolving the crisis in Mali and maintaining security in the sub-region.
She congratulated the outgoing Ambassador for her intervention in President Akufo-Addo’s travel to Brussels in May, during which mutually beneficial bilateral talks were held with the European Commission.
Mrs. Acconcia gave the assurance that the EU would continue to support Ghana in her development efforts.
Ghana is an aspiring middle-income country (MIC), which continues to face challenges in delivering basic social services and in building institutional capacity.
The EU is Ghana’s most important trading partner and its largest export market (€3.75 billion in 2015).
The EU’s cooperation with Ghana is being adapted to the specific needs of an aspiring MIC. Our development cooperation focuses on 4 priority areas:
• climage change/resilience
• private sector development
Gender equality remains a transversal priority. Our aim is to help Ghana implement and achieve sustainable development goals (SDGs).
We also aim to pursue a strong, long-term partnership with Ghana and promote its role as a beacon of stability in the West African region.
In coordination with other development partners and EU countries involved in joint programming, we hope to:
• improve public sector management
• improve the rule of law and accountability
• increase the ability of public, civil society organizations, and the media to hold the government to account.
The 11th EDF National Indicating Progamme allocated €325 million to Ghana for the 2014-2020 funding period. The 3 focal sectors were:
- Governance: Public sector management and accountability (€75 million), where we aim to promote good governance, the rule of law and accountability.
- Productive investment for agriculture in the Savannah Ecological Zones (€160 million), where we aim to help generate sustainable agriculture wealth in selected growth areas by improving access to water, storage, markets, energy and agribusiness opportunities. We also aim to enhance Ghana’s climate change adaptation and mitigation measures.
- Employment and social protection (€75 million), where we aim to create decent employment opportunities for vulnerable population groups (youth, women and minority groups) and enhance social protection services.
Almost all West African regional programmes directly or indirectly benefit Ghana. Some of the larger 11th EDF regional programmes include:
- Support to Regional Economic Integration and Trade
- Support to the West African Power Pool #
- Private Sector Competitiveness Support Programme.
Support is also provided to the IMF’s regional technical assistance centre for economic governance (AFRITAC West II) in Accra.