The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and his Portuguese counterpart, His Excellency Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, have signed bilateral instruments of cooperation in the areas of defence, political consultation and trade between the two countries.
This latest form of engagement, President Akufo-Addo said, would go a long way to strengthen the ties of friendship and the bonds of cooperation between Ghana and Portugal.
Speaking at a Joint Press Conference with President Marcelo Rebelo De Sousa, as part of his 3-day State Visit to Portugal on Tuesday, 18th July 2023, in Lisbon, Portugal, the President stated that the move “is borne out of a decision by Ghana “to turn our back on our old economy, which has been dependent on the production and export of raw materials, and also dependent on aid.”
According to President Akufo-Addo, “We want to build a value-added, industrialized economy with a modernized agriculture, which is neither victim nor pawn of the world economic order. We want our relations with Portugal and, indeed, the rest of the world, to be characterized by an increase in trade and investment cooperation.”
He added that “this is the way to develop healthy relations between our two countries, and put Ghana at the high end of the value chain in the global marketplace, and create jobs for the teeming masses of Ghanaians, particularly the youth.”
He pointed out that, the discussions also focused on boosting further political, cultural, and people-to-people exchanges and cooperation at the multilateral level and on the need to promote a better world by addressing global issues relating to the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Towards this end, “we have noted with satisfaction the value that the Ghana-Portugal Business Forum scheduled to be held tomorrow will add to our investment initiatives, he said.”
President Akufo-Addo further disclosed that the President of Portugal has 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. This should boost the trade volumes, and help bring prosperity to our peoples.”
On global security, he stated that, with President Joe Biden of the United States of America and President Emmanuel Macron of the French Republic calling publicly for reforms at the UN Security Council in line with the Ezulwini consensus, they look forward to the leaders of the three (3) other Permanent Members also throwing their support behind the reform process.
He assured President De Sousa that Ghana will “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.”
Lisbon City Council
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, the President stated that history holds ample lessons that show “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.”
It is for this reason, he continued, that “I have come to Lisbon to advocate for increased investment and trade between our two nations. Trade relations between Ghana and Portugal have evolved through history, and it is clear that a new paradigm has to be defined, which will be dependent on the structural transformation of the Ghanaian economy from a raw material producing and exporting economy, to a value-adding, industrializing economy.”
He was confident that, “this will enable Ghana to trade at the high end of the global value chain, dealing in products we make and grow. 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.”
These observations, he stated, were based on the fact that “we, in Africa, are 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.”