A PERSPECTIVE ON GHANA/FRANCE RELATIONS
Today marks the 60th milestone of Ghana’s existence as a country. On March 6, 1957, Ghana gained her political independence from colonial Britain to become the first independent country in sub-Saharan Africa. The celebration of our National Day this year also coincides with the 59th anniversary of the establishment of the Embassy of Ghana in Paris. Every year on March 6th, Ghanaians all over the world celebrate the uniqueness of who we are as a people, reflect on the legacies that our forebears bequeathed to us and rededicate ourselves to leaving a solid legacy for the generations yet unborn.
2. In marking her 60th anniversary, Ghana remains committed to promoting sound economic management, good governance, fostering economic and social development and contributing positively to the realization and maintenance of peace, security, stability and development in Africa as a whole and West Africa in particular. The pursuit of democratic principles anchored on human rights of her citizens, free and fair elections, accountable and good governance, continue to remain the focus of the government and its people.
Towards Progress and Development
3. Ghana under the distinguished leadership of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the President of the Republic of Ghana, enjoys a high sense of national unity comparable to others in Africa and the world at large. The policy direction of Ghana’s political administration is underpinned by a strong economy focused on creating opportunities to inspire more people towards wealth creation within the socio-economic strata. Indeed, public sector-driven job creation interventions and initiatives have been put in place to incentivise investors and drive the process for a strong and robust economy.
4. Social services such as the National Health Insurance Scheme, free quality basic schools across every part of the country, the School Feeding Programme, good roads and a wider and cheaper transport network, affordable housing, stable and affordable electric power: all of these poverty reduction initiatives are being vigorously pursued to provide support for the citizens and in the quest to enhance the business environment. Having jobs and livelihoods provide security for individuals, families and communities as a whole. When people prosper, the peace is largely secured.
5. In pursuance of these policies, the government is laying a firm foundation for a prosperous Ghana based on a consensus-driven agenda where the contributions of every citizen is deemed very critical.
6. The government remains committed to facilitating the creation of a business environment that considers the resuscitation and growth of local industries whilst encouraging the operation of foreign business as critical to the creation of a robust national economy. Considerable effort will also be put into improving upon areas such as education, health and agriculture as well as investment in infrastructural development.
7. It is a well-known fact that one of Ghana’s natural resources is gold. In addition, the country is blessed with bauxite, aluminum, manganese ore and diamonds. Today Ghana is the 2nd and 10th leading gold producing country in Africa and the world respectively.
Initiatives in Other Sectors
8. As part of the strategies to achieve the objectives of the National Energy Strategic plan, the Government is encouraging public-private partnership linked with the public sector for re-capitalization of the energy supply system. Investment opportunities therefore exist for the development of viable local industries for the production of components and systems locally, to meet future spare-parts requirements of future investments thereby making savings and ensuring sustainability.
9. Crude oil deposits were discovered offshore along the Cape Three Points in the Western Region of Ghana by a consortium after years of prospecting. The discovery, which unitized two production wells in the Deep-water Tano block and the West Cape Three Points block was named Jubilee Field, started with a daily production of 80,000 barrels per day and has currently reached a production level of 110,000 barrels daily nearing its projected peak of 120.000 barrels per day.
10. The production from the Jubilee oil fields has already created job opportunities for many young Ghanaians not only directly, but also through indirect activities on which the sector depends for its existence. These include real estate, hospitality service providers, as well as technical support services, amongst others. The production of oil in the country has indeed positively improved the lives of many Ghanaians even with its attendant minor challenges. In this endeavour, Ghana has had the support of foreign companies from different parts of the world, including France, which have brought both financial and technical inputs for the mutual benefit of Ghana and the investors.
Ghana/France Bilateral Relations
11. Relations between Ghana and France have been very cordial since the two countries established diplomatic representation in each other’s capitals in the 1950s. Over the years, several high level visits have been exchanged between governments of the two countries, with the most recent being a visit to France by former President John Dramani Mahama for the annual UNESCO International Programme for the Development of Communication Talks, in September, 2016 during which he seized the opportunity to interact with President Francois Hollande at the Elysée Palace. Similarly, in October 2016, then Prime Minister Manuel Valls led a delegation from France to visit Ghana as part of a tour of selected West African countries.
Trade and Investment Relations
12. As the fourth supplier of products to France, Ghana mainly supplies crude oil as well as foodstuffs and processed foods which are usually sold in African shops located all over the French territory. On her part, Ghana imports pharmaceutical products, industrial food, electrical and engineering equipment as well as electronic products from France. In the past bilateral trade between France and Ghana rose to over 1.7 billion euros in 2014, but it is currently dropped to €959 million mainly as a result of crude oil price volatilities, low gold prices combined with the decrease in cocoa production negatively impacting Ghanaian deliveries to France.
13. France’s success in Ghana is largely due to Technip, which, since 2009, has signed contracts worth €2.5 billion for the development of various Ghanaian oil fields. Other notable contracts include those signed in the last five years by Forclum (electrical equipment), Alcatel Lucent (fiber optic and 4G mobile network) and Gemalto (information systems). French sales nevertheless remain heavily concentrated in the three major sectors that account for almost 70% of the total: refined petroleum products, pharmaceutical specialties and agrifood. With the recent establishment of a Ghana/France Chamber of Commerce in Accra, over 75 companies from both countries have been affiliated to the Chamber, with notable ones being Société General Bank, Total Ghana, Pernod Richard, Alstom, Bolloré, CMA-CGM (maritime company), Air Liquide and L’Oreal.
14. According to figures from the Banque de France, in 2014 Ghana was the eighth most popular destination for French direct investment in sub-Saharan Africa, with flows of $107.2 million and stock of $861 million. Currently, this mainly consists of modernization and capacity investments by the forty local branches of French businesses present in Ghana (new Société Générale headquarters, modernization of the Total distribution network, extension of port facilities by Bolloré, increase in the capacity of existing production plants by Air Liquide, Ghana Rubber Estates Limited and Golden Exotics, as well as over twenty other investments by French individuals.
15. Other notable investments include the exploitation of over 20,000 hectares of rubber plantations by GREL, a subsidiary of SIPH in which Michelin has a 24.4% stake; the acquisition by Danone, in partnership with the investment fund Abraaj, of Fan Milk, a manufacturer and distributor of dairy products and fruit juice; the investment by Touton in a cocoa factory; and the choice of Ghana as a regional platform by consumer goods companies such as L’Oréal and Pernod Ricard, which are attracted by the emerging middle class.
16. Two very important French projects are also worth mentioning. In the framework of its joint venture with Maersk, Bolloré Logistics is going to invest $750 million in the extension of Tema container port. EDF is also investing around $200 million in a thermal power plant project.
Education and Culture
17. Other areas of support are Culture, French language, academia and research (€3.7-5.1 million): Institut Français activities, support for the preparation of a reform making French compulsory in secondary schools, development of the activities of the five Alliance Française branches, dialogue with the International Organisation of La Francophonie (OIF), dialogue with the University of Ghana, support for development research via French institutes (CIRAD, IRD, IFRA), and a policy of scholarships and invitations. Agreements of partnerships between universities of the two countries signed between 2013 and 2015 aims at improving mobility of tertiary students to each other’s faculties. One of these partnerships resulted in the signing of an agreement in June 2016 for the mutual recognition of degrees and diplomas between the two countries. Since 2006, Ghana has been an associate member of the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie.
Military and Defence Cooperation
18. The French military cooperation with Ghana is mainly focused on training. It includes French participation in the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC), French-language teaching in the military sphere, and the training of Ghanaian officers in France or at regionally oriented national schools (ENVRs). A liaison officer works as a course director at the KAIPTC. He is responsible for organizing annual training courses for West African field officers and for relations with other peacekeeping training centres in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) area. In liaison with the non-resident defence attaché posted in Lomé (Togo), he is the interlocutor for the Ghanaian Armed Forces and proposes and coordinates military and defence cooperation initiatives.
19. French Police cooperation with Ghana complements British assistance, particularly as regards combating international trafficking in banned substances and humance. Several expert missions have been deployed for training (investigation and surveillance techniques) and audits.
20. Ghana continues to look forward to enhancing the cooperation with France in all areas of endeavour for the mutual benefit of our two countries and peoples.
Long live Ghana – France relations.
Ghana Embassy, France