Sunday, July 31, 2016

Ghana, Liberia renew ties

By Edmund Mingle
After years of successful friendly relations, Ghana and Liberia yesterday, agreed to push their ties a step further by diversifying their partnership.

The governments of the two countries have agreed to create the platform for active exchanges and trade between the private sectors of the two countries.

The agreement resulted from a bilateral meeting between the two governments, led by President John Mahama and Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, during her official visit to Ghana on yesterday (Friday)

The visit was aimed at consolidating the historical socio-economic and political ties between the two friendly West African nations.

Among other things, the two leaders believe the private sector of the two countries could build on the strong collaboration between the government of Ghana and Liberia so as to derive the necessary economic benefits for their countries.

According to the two leaders, the bilateral relations have produced many investment and trade opportunities that the private sector could take advantage of.

Addressing journalists after the bilateral meeting at the Flagstaff House in Accra, President Mahama urged the private sector to take interest in the trade between the two countries.

He cited Liberia’s energy sector where the private sector could build on the foundation laid by the Volta River Authority which provided support in restoring that country’s power distribution industry after the civil war.

The meeting, President Mahama said, discussed ways of strengthening the bilateral relations between the two countries, in respect of defence and security, economic development and trade, regional integration.

In terms of regional integration, he said the meeting discussed the Economic Partnership Agreement with the European Union.

President Mahama said “we believe it is desirable for the sub-region to continue to work for a common EPA, and despite the fact that it has become imperative for Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire to sign an interim EPA, we will work to ensure that we bring all the sub-region on board so that it advances the cause of our integration.”

In addition, the two leaders discussed security issues, especially in addressing threats of terrorism in the sub-region, he said, adding that the defence teams of the two countries would collaborate in that regard.

“These discussions have been very fruitful, and it is our expectation that under the Joint Commission for Cooperation between our two countries, we will be able to screw down on these issues for successful implementation,” President Mahama said.

He thanked the Liberian President, who was accompanied by a high level ministerial and business team, for the visit, and assured Liberians of Ghana’s continuous assistance and collaboration.

President Johnson Sirleaf, expressed appreciation to the government and people of Ghana for immense support towards the rebuilding of her country after the war.

“Liberia’s peace and stability has been secured through the immense contribution of Ghana,” he noted.

President Johnson Sirleaf said that country’s reconstruction efforts would not have been successful without the support and cooperation from Ghana.

In spite of the successful historical relationship, she was optimistic the two countries could accelerate their partnership to achieve more dividends, and cited the energy, infrastructure and tourism sectors, which she believed offers immense opportunities for collaboration.

“We look forward to greater participation,” she said, adding that “we believe the visit will strengthen all that we have achieved together. We want to build on all the historical successes we have had. We want to achieve more.” President Johnson Sirleaf said.

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