By Edmund Mingle
Wednesday, 16 July 2008
France says it has confidence in Ghana’s electoral process, and is optimistic that the December general election will be credible.
"We are very confident of the Ghanaian democratic system," Pierre Jacquemot, the outgoing French Ambassador, said in Accra on Monday.
Speaking to reporters at his residence prior to the celebration on the French National Day also known as Bastille Day, on July 14, Mr. Jacquemot said "Ghana remains a strategic interest to France."
July 14 is celebrated annually to commemorate the day France gained her freedom from oppressive monarchy rule in 1789.
"Ghana is a place to be for economic and commercial purposes because of her fast growing economy," he said, adding that France’s confidence in the Ghanaian economy, was indicated of the increasing number of the French businesses and investments in the country.
Currently, there are 60 French companies, including 20 large ones, operating in Ghana, France contributing over 50 million dollars in development aid to Ghana from 2007 to 2009.
"This means Ghana is a profitable destination for business," he said.
In 2007, French exports to Ghana reached 225.7million euros, while Ghana’s exports to France, comprising timber and agro-processed products, amounted to 191 million euros.
Imports from France include energy products, heavy equipment for the mining sector, agro-products and consumer goods.
Later, proposing the toast at the celebration Bastille Day reception in the evening, Mr. Jacquemot thanked the government of Ghana for the cooperation in handling development issues, saying both countries share a common vision of improving the welfare of their citizenry, as well as promoting world peace.
He gave the assurance that France would continue to assist Ghana in various sectors of the economy, saying the French Development Agency is already spearheading a number of projects in the education, water, environment and health sectors.
Responding to the toast on behalf of the government, Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu, Finance and Economic Planning Minister, conveyed the good wishes of Ghana to the government and people of France on the commemoration of their national day.
"Ghana and France share the same values of freedom which have been the basis of our relations since 1957," Mr. Baah-Wiredu said.
He expressed the government’s gratitude to France for assistance in funding various projects in the country, and pledged Ghana’s commitment to bilateral relations between both countries.