South Africa, Ghana forge closer ties

24 August 2011

President Jacob Zuma hosted Ghanaian President John Atta Mills at the start of his two-day state visit in Cape Town on Tuesday. The two leaders discussed global and regional issues and signed tourism, economic and technical co-operation agreements.

Two further agreements, relating to home affairs and energy, were due to be signed later in the day.

Trade between Ghana and South Africa grew from R1-billion in 1998 to over R3-billion in 2008, with South Africa’s exports having trebled in 10 years.

Zuma said there were more than 80 South African companies registered in Ghana, operating in sectors such as mining, retail, insurance, transport, tourism, telecommunication, banking and energy.

He said new opportunities existed in tourism, communication and technology, mining, agriculture and infrastructure development.

Working together on the SKA bid

The two countries were also widening co-operation on science and technology, and were presently working together, along with a number of other African countries, on South Africa’s bid to host the Square Kilometre Array (SKA).

“We are all working hard to ensure that Africa is the winner when the bid is announced early next year,” Zuma said, adding that the benefits of hosting the SKA would include improved information and communication technologies for all Africans.

Zuma and Mills also discussed the need to transform the UN Security Council and international finance organisations to better reflect the increasingly important role of Africa and the developing world.

Zuma thanked Ghana for the support it had given South Africa during the struggle, saying Ghana had a “special place” in the history of the African continent, particularly as its first president, Kwame Nkrumah, had helped inspire other African countries as the continent shed the yoke of colonialism.

Praise for South Africa’s World Cup

Mills, who was last in SA in 2010, thanked Zuma for inviting him to South Africa and praised the country for making Africa proud of its successful hosting of last year’s World Cup.

“Not only was the organisation of that tournament a credit to Africa for the excellent work done by South Africa, but South Africans displayed something that was rather unique, especially in a football match against the United States,” Mills said.

“Almost to a man, South Africans stood behind the Black Stars and cheered us on to victory. This support for the Black Stars is clear evidence of the strong relation that has always existed between South Africa and Ghana,” he said.

He said struggle stalwarts like Oliver Tambo, Nelson Mandela and Walter Sisulu had been “household names” in Ghana during apartheid.

“SA has a lot to offer us, and I believe we also have something to offer South Africa.”

Mills welcomed South African businesses to come to invest in Ghana, adding that he was also encouraging Ghanaian companies to invest in SA, and had been accompanied by a group of business people on his visit here.

Source: BuaNews