UK Foreign Secretary, Rt. Hon. Jeremy Hunt paid a visit to Ghana and other countries in the sub-region as part of a one-week working tour. The highlight of his visit to Ghana was bilateral talks with the Vice President H.E Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, crowned with the signing of a Joint Declaration between both countries.
Ghana’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey signed on behalf of Ghana while Rt. Hon. Jeremy Hunt signed for the UK with H.E. Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia and H.E. Iain Walker as witnesses.
Speaking at the media briefing after the signing ceremony, Rt. Hon. Hunt stressed on the UK’s desire to pursue mutual prosperity, adding that the UK Business delegation which was at the event would be interested in adding value to Ghana’s natural resources and boosting industrialisation in the country. On regional security, health, and education, he cited the UK’s advancement in these sectors and mentioned their preparedness to provide technological, skills and knowledge-based support to Ghana as a sustainable step to moving beyond aid.
Hon. Botchwey expressed Ghana’s willingness to be a Launchpad for continental free trade, and gateway to do business with the rest of the continent that is home to over 1.3 billion people. Citing the value of UK’s investment stock in Ghana at about £3.4 billion, Rt. Hon Hunt called for collaboration and support on security, especially issues of border security, crime and cyber security.
On Brexit, Jeremy Hunt posited that it has brought the opportunity to “properly engage in a way we have not done previously, with the incredible business opportunities in Africa” adding that it is about time the UK further explored its long-standing relationships with the rest of the world.
The Joint Declaration announced the new strategic partnership between the two countries who have long shared a history of friendship, based on shared values, deep people-to-people links and a collective interest in promoting stability, democracy and prosperity in West Africa. It is set to deepen and strengthen existing ties and open up new areas for mutual co-operation.
The declaration named the key thematic pillars of co-operation as economic development and mutual prosperity, under which the UK and Ghana have agreed to deepen their economic relationship through prioritisation of efforts to promote sustainable industrialisation, economic diversification, job creation and greater trade and investment. “We agreed to work together to enhance macroeconomic management and increase Ghana’s domestic revenues through tax reform and well-managed oil and gas revenues,” it stated.
On Stability and Regional Security, UK and Ghana recognised the changing threat in the region and agreed to work closely together in response.
“This will include enhanced co-operation between UK and Ghanaian institutions and improved capacity building from the UK within the region to address the full range of serious organised crime, corruption and border security challenges,”.
Touching on Health, education and inclusion, it was proposed that as Ghana sought to move beyond aid, the two countries would share and develop technical expertise and foster new partnerships between UK and Ghanaian institutions to support high quality, domestically financed services in health, education and social protection. “With our shared commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals, we will continue to fight poverty and tackle inequality, ensuring that no one is left behind.
“We will continue to promote gender equality and economic inclusion and will increase our focus on support and inclusion in mental health services and for people with disabilities,” the declaration added.