President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has called on the developed world, especially Portugal, to assist Ghana to turn back on its old economy which is dependent on the production, export of raw materials and aid.
He said Ghana wanted to build a value-added and industrialised economy with modernised agriculture, which was neither a victim nor a pawn of the world economic order.
The President added that his country also wanted its relations with Portugal and the rest of the world to be characterised by an increase in trade and investment co-operation.
President Akufo-Addo made the call when he and his Portuguese counterpart, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, signed bilateral instruments of cooperation in the areas of defence, political consultation and trade in the Portuguese capital, Lisbon.
President Akufo-Addo said the latest engagement would go a long way to strengthen the ties of friendship and the bonds of cooperation between Ghana and Portugal.
He added that that was the way to develop healthy relations between the two countries, and put Ghana at the high end of the value chain in the global market place.
That would also facilitate job creation for the teeming Ghanaians, particularly the youth.
The President pointed out that the discussions also focused on boosting further political, cultural, people-to-people exchanges and cooperation at the multilateral level.
It was also on the need to promote a better world by addressing global issues relating to the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
President Akufo-Addo said Ghana had noted with satisfaction the value that the Ghana-Portugal Business Forum scheduled to be held today would add to their investment initiatives.
The President further disclosed that the President of Portugal had also “resolved to give voice to Ghana’s cause and interests within the European Union.
“We, on the other hand, will also help to facilitate the provision of a platform for enhanced economic engagement between Portugal and the member countries of ECOWAS,” he said.
“This should boost the trade volumes and help bring prosperity to our peoples,” the President added.
President Akufo-Addo said with President Joe Biden of the United States and President Emmanuel Macron of France calling publicly for reforms at the UN Security Council in line with the Ezulwini consensus, the leaders of the three other Permanent Members must throw their support behind the reform process.
President Akufo-Addo assured President De Sousa that Ghana would collaborate with Portugal to find solutions to challenges such as the eradication of widespread poverty, elimination of irregular migration, insecurity and human rights violations, terrorism and violent extremism, human and drug trafficking, piracy, as well as climate change and its attendant, negative impact on the environment and livelihoods.
At the Lisbon City Council, President Akufo-Addo was given the keys to the city of Lisbon by the Deputy Mayor, Filipe Anacoreta Correia.
In his address, President Akufo-Addo stated that history held ample lessons that showed “that a rich trading partner, operating within a fair, trading system brings prosperity to both sides, far more than the exploitation of a poor partner.”
He said he had come to Lisbon to advocate increased investment and trade between both nations.
“Trade relations between Ghana and Portugal have evolved through history, and it is clear that a new paradigm has to be defined,” he added.
That, President Akufo-Addo said, must be dependent on the structural transformation of the Ghanaian economy from a raw material producing and exporting economy to a value-adding industrialising economy.
He expressed the confidence that doing so would enable Ghana to trade at the high end of the global value chain, dealing in products it made.
“Out of this, a robust trading system between Portugal and Ghana will be created, which will generate mutual prosperity for the peoples of the two countries,” President Akufo-Addo stated.
Those observations, he stressed, were based on the fact that, “we, in Africa, agreed that we have to be self-reliant and shed the image of beggars living on charity, aid and handouts, and make better and more intelligent use of our abundant natural resources in order to pull ourselves out of poverty and attain prosperity.”