- The Constitution
- Repulic of Ghana
- Ghana History
- Government and Politics
- Education System
- The Economy
Guiding Principles and Objectives
Ghana’s foreign policy since independence has been characterized by a commitment to the principles and ideals of nonalignment and Pan-Africanism as first enunciated by Kwame Nkrumah in the early 1960s. For Nkrumah, nonalignment meant complete independence from the policies and alliances of both East and West and support for a worldwide union of so-called nonaligned nations as a counter to both East and West power blocs. PanAfricanism , by contrast, was a specifically African policy that envisioned the liberation of African peoples from Western colonialism and the eventual economic and political unity of the African continent.
The PNDC, like most of its predecessors, made serious and consistent attempts at the practical application of these ideals and principles, and its successor, the NDC government, promises to follow in the PNDC’s footsteps. Under the NDC, Ghana remains committed to the principle of nonalignment in world politics. Ghana is also opposed to interference in the internal affairs of both small and large countries. This is a departure from Nkrumah’s foreign policy approach; Nkrumah was frequently accused of subverting African regimes, such as Togo and Côte d’Ivoire, which he considered ideologically conservative. The NDC government, like the PNDC before it, believes in the principle of selfdetermination , including the right to political independence and the right of people to pursue their economic and social development free from external interference. Another feature of NDC rule carried over from the PNDC era is faithfulness to what a leading scholar of Africa has called “one of the most successful neoclassical economic reform efforts supported by the IMF and the World Bank.”
The broad objectives of Ghana’s foreign policy thus include maintaining friendly relations and cooperation with all countries that desire such cooperation, irrespective of ideological considerations, on the basis of mutual respect and noninterference in each other’s internal affairs. Africa and its liberation and unity are naturally the cornerstones of Ghana’s foreign policy. As a founding member of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), NDC policy is to adhere faithfully to the OAU Charter.
Another important principle of Ghana’s foreign policy involves the closest possible cooperation with neighboring countries with which the people of Ghana share cultural history, ties of blood, and economics. The results have included various bilateral trade and economic agreements and permanent joint commissions involving Ghana and its immediate neighbors, sometimes in the face of latent ideological and political differences and mutual suspicion, as well as numerous reciprocal state visits by high-ranking officials. These measures have contributed significantly to subregional cooperation, development, and the reduction of tension.
As an example of Ghana’s interest in regional cooperation, the country enthusiastically endorsed formation of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in 1975. This organization was created specifically to foster inter-regional economic and political cooperation. It has served as a useful vehicle for contacts with neighboring West African governments and for channeling increased Ghanaian exports to regional markets. Since 1990 ECOWAS has been engaged in a peacekeeping mission in Liberia to which Ghana has contributed a large contingent of troops. Ghana has participated in other international peacekeeping efforts as well, sending soldiers to operations of the United Nations (UN) in Cambodia in 1992-93 and Rwanda in 1993-94.
In August 1994, Rawlings became ECOWAS chairman, a post that had eluded him since the PNDC came to power. He immediately undertook several initiatives to reduce tensions and conflict in West Africa. Notable among them was the Akosombo Accord of September 12, designed to end civil war in Liberia.
Relations with Immediate African Neighbours
The NDC government continues to work to improve and to strengthen relations with all of its neighbors, especially Togo, Côte d’Ivoire, Nigeria, and Burkina Faso (Burkina, formerly Upper Volta). In the early days of PNDC rule, relations with Togo, Côte d’Ivoire, and Nigeria were particularly cool and even antagonistic. By 1994 Ghana’s relations with its West African neighbors, especially Côte d’Ivoire and Togo, had improved significantly.
Togo and Côte d’Ivoire
In the early 1980s, Côte d’Ivoire and Togo worried that “the Rawlings’ fever,” the “revolution,” might prove contagious. Both countries were headed by long-lived conservative governments faced with potentially dangerous internal and external opposition. The strains in relations among Ghana, Togo, and Côte d’Ivoire have a long history; in Togo’s case, they go back to pre-independence days.
After 1918, following the defeat of Germany, the League of Nations divided the German colony of Togoland from north to south, a decision that divided the Ewe people among the Gold Coast, British Togoland, and French Togoland. After 1945, the UN took over the Togoland mandates. During the 1950s, when the independence of Ghana was in sight, demands grew for a separate Ewe state, an idea that Kwame Nkrumah, leader of the Gold Coast independence movement, opposed. Following a UN plebiscite in May 1956, in which a majority of the Ewe voted for union with Ghana, British Togoland became part of the Gold Coast. After Togolese independence in 1960, relations between Togo and Ghana deteriorated, aggravated by political differences and incidents such as smuggling across their common border. At times, relations have verged on open aggression.
During the mid-1970s, Togolese President General Gnassingbe Eyadema for a time revived the claim to a part or all of former British Togoland. Two leading Ewe members from the Volta Region sent a petition to the UN in 1974. By 1976 a Togoland Liberation Movement and a National Liberation Movement for Western Togoland existed and were agitating for separation from Ghana. The Eyadema government publicly backed their demands, although it subsequently agreed to cooperate with the Ghanaian government against the separatist movements and against smuggling. A factor influencing Eyadema’s cooperative attitude was doubtless Togo’s dependence upon electricity from Ghana’s Akosombo Dam.
A consistent preoccupation of Ghana, Togo, and Côte d’Ivoire is that of national security. The PNDC regime repeatedly accused both Togo and Côte d’Ivoire of harboring armed Ghanaian dissidents who planned to overthrow or to destabilize the PNDC. The PNDC also accused both countries of encouraging the smuggling of Ghanaian products and currencies across their borders, thus undermining Ghana’s political and economic stability at a time when Ghana was experiencing a deep economic crisis.
In June 1983, when the PNDC was barely eighteen months old, groups opposed to the PNDC made a major attempt to overthrow it. Most of the rebels reportedly came from Togo. In August 1985, Togo in turn accused Ghana of complicity in a series of bomb explosions in Lomé, the Togolese capital. In July 1988, an estimated 124 Ghanaians were expelled from Togo. Nevertheless, relations subsequently improved significantly, leading in 1991 to the reactivation of several bilateral agreements.
Greatly improved relations between Ghana and Togo, especially after October 1990 when opposition pressure forced Eyadema to agree to a transition to multiparty democracy, however, could hardly disguise the persistence of old mutual fears of threats to internal security. For instance, less than three weeks after Ghana’s Fourth Republic was inaugurated, an immense refugee problem was created in Ghana. Following random attacks and killings of civilians in Lomé by Eyadema’s army on January 26, 1993, hundreds of thousands of terrorized Togolese began fleeing into Ghana. At the end of January, Ghanaian troops were placed on high alert on the GhanaTogo border, although Obed Asamoah, the Ghanaian minister of foreign affairs, assured all concerned that there was no conflict between Ghana and Togo.
Sporadic shooting incidents in the spring continued to produce a regular flow of refugees into Ghana. By May, following Togo’s partial closure of the border, all persons living in Togo, including diplomats, had to obtain a special permit from the Togolese interior ministry to travel to Ghana by road. Travelers from Ghana were allowed into Togo but were not permitted to return. By early June, half of Lomé’s 600,000 residents were estimated to have fled to neighboring Ghana and Benin.
At the beginning of 1994, relations between Ghana and Togo became even worse. On January 6, a commando attack occurred in Lomé, which Togolese authorities described as an attempt to overthrow Eyadema. The Togolese government accused Ghana of direct or indirect involvement and arrested Ghana’s chargé d’affaires in Lomé. Togolese troops then bombarded a border post, killing twelve Ghanaians. Camps for Togolese refugees in Ghana also were reportedly bombarded. The Ghanaian government announced that it would press Togo to compensate the families of those killed. By mid-year, however, relations had improved markedly. In August Togo supported the nomination of Rawlings for the post of ECOWAS chairman. Thereafter, a joint commission was set up to examine border problems, in mid-November a Ghanaian ambassador took up residence in Togo for the first time since the early 1980s, and Togo was considering the reopening of its border with Ghana.
Ghana-Côte d’Ivoire relations suffered from the same ups and downs that characterized Ghana-Togo relations. In early 1984, the PNDC government complained that Côte d’Ivoire was allowing Ghanaian dissidents to use its territory as a base from which to carry out acts of sabotage against Ghana. Ghana also accused Côte d’Ivoire of granting asylum to political agitators wanted for crimes in Ghana. Relations between Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire improved significantly, however, after 1988. In 1989, after fifteen years of no progress, the Ghana-Côte d’Ivoire border redemarcation commission finally agreed on the definition of the 640-kilometer border between the two countries. The PNDC thereafter worked to improve the transportation and communication links with both Côte d’Ivoire and Togo, despite problems with both countries.
By 1992 Ghana’s relations with Côte d’Ivoire were relatively good. Hopes for lasting improvement in Ghana’s relations with its western neighbor, however, were quickly dashed following some ugly incidents in late 1993 and early 1994. The incidents began on November 1, 1993, with the return of sports fans to Côte d’Ivoire following a championship soccer match in Kumasi, Ghana, that had resulted in the elimination of Côte d’Ivoire from competition. Ghanaian immigrants in Côte d’Ivoire were violently attacked, and as many as forty or more Ghanaians were killed.
Thereafter, scores of other Ghanaians lost their property as they fled for their lives. Some 1,000 homes and businesses were looted. More than 10,000 Ghanaians out of the approximately 1 million living in Côte d’Ivoire were immediately evacuated by the Ghanaian government, and more than 30,000 Ghanaians were reported to have sought refuge in the Ghanaian and other friendly embassies. A twenty-member joint commission (ten from each country) was established to investigate the attacks, to recommend compensation for victims, and to find ways of avoiding similar incidents in the future. In October 1994, the two nations resumed soccer matches after a Togolese delegation helped smooth relations between them.
With the coming to power of Thomas Sankara in Burkina in 1983, relations between Ghana and Burkina became both warm and close. Indeed, Rawlings and Sankara began discussions about uniting Ghana and Burkina in the manner of the defunct Ghana-Guinea-Mali Union, which Nkrumah had sought unsuccessfully to promote as a foundation for his dream of unified continental government. Political and economic ties between Ghana and Burkina, a poorer country, were strengthened through joint commissions of cooperation and through border demarcation committee meetings. Frequent high-level consultations and joint military exercises, meant to discourage potential dissidents and to protect young “revolutions” in each country, were fairly regular features of Ghana-Burkina relations.
Ethnic ties between the people of far northern Ghana (notably the Mossi) and Burkina, divided by artificial borders inherited from colonial rule, grew stronger as easy border crossings and free exchange of goods and services contributed to marked improvements in the material and the social welfare of peoples on both sides of the border. The PNDC, for example, established road, air, and telecommunications links between Ghana and Burkina.
Ghana’s warm relations with Burkina received a serious but temporary setback with the assassination of Sankara in October 1987. His successor, Blaise Campaore, was widely believed to have been responsible for the assassination. As a result, relations between Ghana and Burkina cooled. Rawlings and Campaore met briefly for the first time in early 1988 in Tamale, the capital of Ghana’s Northern Region, to discuss Ghana-Burkina relations.
The outbreak of civil war in Liberia in 1989 found the two countries on opposite sides of the conflict. Ghana, at great financial and human cost, immediately repatriated about 10,000 Ghanaians living in Liberia and, beginning in mid-1990, contributed a contingent to a multi-national peace-keeping force second in size only to one sent by Nigeria. From 1990 to 1993, Campaore’s role in the Liberian conflict was at odds with an ECOWAS peace initiative spearheaded by Ghana and Nigeria, because Burkina was believed to be supplying arms to Charles Taylor’s forces, long regarded as the main obstacle to peace. In 1994 relations between Burkina and Ghana showed signs of warming at a time when Campaore appeared to be reassessing his policies in Liberia and toward Ghana and Nigeria.
Ghana’s relations with Nigeria, West Africa’s leading country, began on a sour note in the early period of PNDC rule. Tension rose immediately after the PNDC deposed Limann in 1981. In protest, Nigeria refused to continue much-needed oil supplies to Ghana. At the time, Ghana owed Nigeria about US$150 million for crude oil supplies and depended on Nigeria for about 90 percent of its petroleum needs. Nigeria’s expulsion of more then 1 million Ghanaian immigrants in early 1983, when Ghana was facing severe drought and economic problems, and of another 300,000 in early 1985 on short notice, further strained relations between the two countries.
In April 1988, a joint commission for cooperation was established between Ghana and Nigeria. A bloodless coup in August 1985 had brought Major General Ibrahim Babangida to power in Nigeria, and Rawlings took advantage of the change of administration to pay an official visit. The two leaders discussed a wide range of issues focusing on peace and prosperity within West Africa, bilateral trade, and the transition to democracy in both countries. In early January 1989, Babangida reciprocated with an official visit to Ghana, which the PNDC hailed as a watershed in Ghana-Nigeria relations.
Subsequent setbacks that Babangida initiated in the democratic transition process in Nigeria clearly disappointed Accra. Nonetheless, the political crisis that followed Babangida’s annulment of the results of the June 1993 Nigerian presidential election and Babangida’s resignation from the army and presidency two months later did not significantly alter the existing close relations between Ghana and Nigeria, two of the most important members of ECOWAS and the Commonwealth of Nations. After the takeover in November 1993 by General Sani Abacha as the new Nigerian head of state, Ghana and Nigeria continued to consult on economic, political, and security issues affecting the two countries and West Africa as a whole. Between early August 1994 when Rawlings became ECOWAS chairman and the end of the following October, the Ghanaian president visited Nigeria three times to discuss the peace process in Liberia and measures to restore democracy in that country.
The Organization of African Unity and the Rest of Africa
Beginning with the independence of Ghana in 1957 under Kwame Nkrumah, Pan-Africanism, as a movement uniting all peoples of the African continent, was attempted in earnest. Pan-Africanism became identified with Nkrumah more than with any other African leader. During the period 1950 to 1965, the aim was to achieve political, cultural, and economic integration at the continental level.
Beginning in 1958 with formation of the Ghana-Guinea Union, followed shortly by the Ghana-Guinea-Mali Union, Nkrumah relentlessly pursued his goal of a Union of African States. Working with leaders of other independent African countries, he convened a series of conferences to promote the Pan-African cause. Finally, a summit conference met in Addis Ababa in May 1963 to resolve the divisions, unite the leaders, and establish a common Pan-African organization.
After many proposals and counterproposals at the Addis Ababa conference, thirty African heads of states and governments signed the historic Charter of African Unity, which established the Organization of African Unity (OAU). The charter, however, fell far short of Nkrumah’s ideal of African continental government. At practically every meeting of the OAU until his overthrow in 1966, Nkrumah continued to campaign vigorously but unsuccessfully for the transformation of the OAU into a continental government of a United States of Africa. Ironically, as independent African states concentrated on domestic problems and internal developments, they found themselves compelled to strengthen ties with their former colonial rulers rather than with each other. In Ghana’s case, this meant closer relations with Britain, particularly after the overthrow of Nkrumah.
In recognition of Nkrumah’s stature in the Pan-Africanist cause, PNDC chairman Rawlings in June 1985 dedicated the W.E.B. DuBois Memorial Center for Pan-African Culture in Accra. The DuBois center was established to serve as a Pan-African research center and library for scholars and students of Pan-Africanism and to promote research and scholarship in the tradition of the AfricanAmerican scholar, W.E.B. DuBois.
The PNDC made a determined effort to revive Ghana’s historical role as a leader in the OAU and in the struggle against apartheid in South Africa. The PNDC stepped up material and financial assistance and diplomatic support to the OAU Liberation Committee, to the African National Congress in South Africa, and to the South West Africa People’s Organization in South West Africa, now Namibia. In 1987 Ghana also became a member of the permanent steering committee of the OAU, which was charged with forging a common African position on the continent’s debt problem. The same year Ghana made a substantial financial contribution of US$5 million to the African Fund set up by the Non-Aligned Movement to assist African liberation movements and to strengthen resistance to South African destabilization activities in southern Africa. The PNDC also contributed US$1.3 million annually to the OAU budget. Ghana contributed generously to the OAU’s Liberation Fund for Namibia as well as US$5 million to the African Fund for the repatriation of Namibians to enable them to participate in preindependence elections in February 1990.
The PNDC regime sought to strengthen ties with all African countries. Good relations with the countries of eastern and southern Africa were established in the spirit of south-south relations, Pan-Africanism, and nonalignment. In addition to visiting many West African countries, Rawlings traveled to Mozambique in October 1986 for the funeral of Samora Machel. Ghana’s contribution of US$250,000 toward famine relief in Mozambique was a practical demonstration of commitment to the principles of the OAU. In late January 1989, Rawlings paid a threeday official visit to Uganda on the occasion of the third anniversary of the government’s victory in a long civil war. He also visited Tanzania and Zimbabwe.
Ghana’s political and diplomatic resurgence in Africa and in world affairs under PNDC leadership was evident from the number of reciprocal visits to promote bilateral ties and cooperation. Among those visiting Ghana between 1987 and 1994 were Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda; Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni; former Tanzanian president Julius Nyerere, who received Ghana’s highest state award, the Order of the Star of Ghana, in recognition of his life-long devotion to Pan-Africanism and the nonaligned movement;
Libyan Colonel Muammar al Qadhafi; and Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe. In September 1994, President Rawlings paid a ten-day visit to Botswana, Namibia, and Zimbabwe, signing bilateral agreements in the latter two countries for political cooperation, trade, and industrial development. Ghanaian diplomats are expected to arrive in Pretoria, the Republic of South Africa, in early 1995 to open Ghana’s new High Commission.
Britain and the Commonwealth
By historical tradition and choice, Ghana’s political future has been bound up with that of Britain and the Commonwealth of Nations. Indeed, Nkrumah led the way for independent African states that were former British colonies to join the Commonwealth.
The close bond between Ghana and Britain was evident in 1959 when Queen Elizabeth II, the head of the Commonwealth of Nations, visited Ghana and received a most friendly reception. At the 1964 Commonwealth Conference, Nkrumah proposed the establishment of a permanent Commonwealth secretariat, in order, as Nkrumah put it, “to make the Commonwealth move in tune with the common aspirations of its members.” According to one observer, Nkrumah believed the Commonwealth was an example of how a free association of independent states should work. The Commonwealth provided a vehicle for the transfer of technology and for economic and cultural cooperation. It also served as a place for developing the most effective methods for ending colonialism without revolution or violence and under conditions in which a former colonial territory could retain a close association with the former imperial power.
Nkrumah again took the lead in forcing South Africa out of the Commonwealth in 1961. In 1965 Ghana was forced to break diplomatic relations with Britain in order to support the OAU resolution over Rhodesia’s unilateral declaration of independence and imposition of a white minority government. Relations were restored the next year, however, following the overthrown of Nkrumah.
Following the 31st December 1981 Revolution, Ghana lost its membership in the Commonwealth Parliament Association, which promotes interchange and understanding among parliamentarians of member states. Ghana was readmitted to the Association in September 1993, the same year it was also readmitted to the InterParliamentary Union, another Commonwealth institution. With its readmission to these two bodies, Ghana became an major player in Commonwealth affairs. In May 1994, Ghana hosted a Commonwealth conference on local government that attracted participants from several West African countries. At the end of the year, Ghana remained the only West African Commonwealth country with an elected government, the other three members—Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Gambia—all being under military rule. As a contribution towards Ghanaian democracy, the Commonwealth, along with the OAU and the Carter Center in the United States, provided international observer teams to monitor Ghana’s presidential election in November 1992.
Ghana’s relations with Britain continued to be generally good under the PNDC. British Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Mrs. Lynda Chalker, paid a successful official visit to Ghana in early 1987 which resulted in enhanced British aid for Ghana’ economic reforms. Since the ERP began in 1983, Britain has given Ghana more than £69 million as balance of payments support. Ghana has reportedly garnered more aid from Britain than any African country except Zimbabwe. Britain, along with other Western countries and international development agencies, also provided much needed technical, logistical, and financial support for the implementation of Ghana’s governmental decentralization effort, for the first District Assembly elections in 1988-89, as well as for the presidential and parliamentary elections in 1992.
The United States
Ghana has in general enjoyed good relations with the United States since independence, except for a period of strained relations during the later years of the Nkrumah regime. Ghana was the first country to which United States Peace Corps volunteers were sent in 1961. Ghana and the United States are signatories to twenty agreements and treaties covering such matters as agricultural commodities, aviation, defense, economic and technical cooperation, education, extradition, postal matters, telecommunications, and treaty obligations. The refusal of the United States to join the International Cocoa Agreement, given Ghana’s heavy dependence on cocoa exports to earn hard currency, is the most serious bilateral issue between the two countries.
Relations between the United States and Ghana were particularly rocky in the early 1980s, apparently because of Ghana’s relations with Libya. The PNDC government restored diplomatic relations with Libya shortly after coming to power. Libya came to the aid of Ghana soon afterward by providing much-needed economic assistance. Libya also has extensive financial holdings in Ghana. Rawlings has supported Libya’s position that two Libyans accused of bombing a Pan American Airlines flight over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988 should be tried in a neutral country rather than in Britain or the United States.
Relations between the United States and Ghana were further strained by a series of diplomatic incidents in the mid-1980s. In July 1985, a distant relative of Rawlings, Michael Soussoudis, was arrested in the United States and charged with espionage. Despite Soussoudis’s conviction, he was exchanged the following December for several known United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) agents in Accra, but not before diplomats had been expelled in both Accra and Washington. In March 1986, a Panamanian-registered ship carrying arms and a number of mercenaries and United States veterans of the Vietnam War was seized off the coast of Brazil. The PNDC charged that the arms and soldiers were destined for Ghana and that they had been financed by a Ghanaian dissident with links to the CIA. During their trial, several crew members admitted that the charges were substantially true. Although they were convicted and imprisoned, three subsequently escaped with what the PNDC alleged was CIA assistance.
In spite of these incidents, relations between the United States and Ghana had improved markedly by the late 1980s. Former United States president Jimmy Carter visited Ghana in 1986 and again in 1988 and was warmly received by the PNDC. His Global 2000 agricultural program, which is quite popular with Ghanaian farmers, is helping promote good relations with the United States. In 1989 the United States forgave US$114 million of Ghana’s foreign debt, part of a larger debt relief effort by Western nations. The United States has strongly favored Ghana’s economic and political reform policies, and since the birth of the Fourth Republic and Ghana’s return to constitutional rule, has offered assistance to help Ghana institutionalize and consolidate its steps toward democratic governance. In FY 1994, United States development aid totaled about $38 million; in addition, the United States supplied more than $16 million in food aid.
After 1981, PNDC foreign policy was designed to promote the country’s economic growth and well-being by establishing friendly relations and cooperation with all countries irrespective of their economic and political philosophies or ideological orientation. PNDC policy also sought new markets for Ghana’s exports, the expansion of existing markets, and new investment opportunities.
Ghana’s relations with Canada were quite good under the PNDC, as were Ghana’s relations with the European Community and its member countries. In 1987, as part of its cancellation of the debts of several African countries, Canada canceled a Ghanaian debt of US$77.6 million. In 1989 Germany canceled US$295 million of Ghana’s foreign debt, and France canceled US$26 million.
A number of Western countries, including France and Canada, continued to cancel debts in 1991, reflecting the generally cordial relations between Ghana and Western countries and the confidence the West had in PNDC policies. In early July 1991, Rawlings paid a three-day official visit to Paris, which symbolized the close ties that had developed between the PNDC and the French government. Western countries have continued to show keen interest in, and support for, the ERP and Ghana’s transition to democratic government.
In line with its commitment to the principles of nonalignment, the PNDC sought to develop close relations with the socialist regimes in Eastern Europe, Cuba, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea), and China. In the early days of PNDC rule, Rawlings made official visits to China and Ethiopia, the latter then headed by a Marxist-Leninist regime.
During these visits, various economic, trade, and cultural agreements were concluded. Notable was the PNDC agreement with the German Democratic Republic (GDR or East Germany) for the improvement of roads in Kumasi, Ghana’s second largest city, and for the Kumasi-Accra highway. The GDR also supplied Ghana with new railroad coaches. Barter trade with East European countries, especially the GDR, Romania, and Bulgaria, also increased. The PNDC established a State Committee for Economic Cooperation to ensure more effective cooperation with socialist countries and showed keen interest in developing relations with the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance.
The PNDC policy of restructuring Ghana’s education system, moving from purely academic curricula to vocational and technical training, benefited from Ghana’s close ties with socialist countries, notably Cuba. By 1985 Cuba was training some 1,000 Ghanaian school children and middle-level technicians. Cuba also offered Ghanaians training in political leadership for “revolutionary organs” and national security. Hundreds of Ghanaian youths left for various socialist countries to pursue professional and technical courses. The Soviet Union, China, and other socialist countries awarded scholarships to Ghanaians for both academic and technical courses. In addition, short-term training was offered for Ghana’s Committees for the Defence of the Revolution. Bulgaria provided training in political organization and leadership, and the Soviet Union furnished education in medicine, veterinary sciences, and engineering.
The PNDC believed that Cuba provided a fruitful field for cooperation in areas other than education. The PNDC agreed to a joint commission for economic cooperation and signed a number of scientific and technical agreements with Cuba ranging from cultural exchanges to cooperation in such fields as health, agriculture, and education. Cuba trained Ghana’s national militia, gave advice in the creation of mass organizations such as the CDRs, and provided military advisers and medical and security officers for the PNDC leadership. The two countries also signed agreements for the renovation of Ghana’s sugar industry and for three factories to produce construction materials. In 1985 Ghana and Cuba signed their first barter agreement, followed by new trade protocols in 1987 and 1988. Cuban medical brigades worked in Tamale in the Northern Region, one of the poorest areas in Ghana. Cubans coached Ghanaian boxers and athletes and taught Spanish in Ghanaian schools.
Ghana’s relations with Cuba continue to be strong despite Ghana’s return to multiparty democracy and the severe economic crisis in Cuba in 1993 and 1994. A joint commission for cooperation between the two countries meets biennially in the alternate venues of Accra and Havana. Cuba is helping to create a faculty of medical sciences in Ghana’s new University of Development Studies at Tamale. At the end of 1994, thirty-three medical specialists were working in Ghanaian hospitals. A bilateral exchange of technology and experts in mining and agriculture was also underway. Cuba is training 600 Ghanaians, mostly in technical disciplines, including engineering, architecture, and medicine. The two countries are engaged in successful business ventures, too, including a first class tourist resort at Ada in the Greater Accra Region and a Ghana-Cuba construction company.
Economic relations between Ghana and Japan are quite cordial, having improved considerably under the PNDC. Japan offered Ghana about US$680 million toward the rehabilitation of its telephone and television services. Following the visit to Japan of a Ghanaian delegation in early 1987, Japan pledged a total of US$70 million toward Ghana’s economic development. In early 1994, Japan offered a further US$16.6 million to modernize rail transport and to improve water supply. In October 1994, Ghana joined in urging the UN Security Council to admit Japan and Germany, two countries that in 1993 and 1994 were among Ghana’s largest aid donors, in recognition of the international political and economic stature of both countries.
Ghana’s relations with the Arab countries were also generally good during the PNDC period, and they remained so under the new NDC administration. Considerable economic assistance flowed into Ghana from the Arab world. Ghana signed loan agreements with the Saudi Arabian Fund for Development for various development projects in Ghana, including the promotion of Islamic education. In early January 1994, loan agreements totaling US$16.5 million from the Kuwaiti Fund for Arab Economic Development were signed to fund a thermal power plant at Takoradi.
Following the peace accord between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization in September 1993, Ghana reestablished diplomatic relations with Israel in August 1994. Diplomatic relations between the two countries had been broken in 1973 in support of member Arab states of the OAU who were at war with Israel. In urging resumption of diplomatic ties, parliament noted that Ghana stood to gain access to Israeli technology, notably in water engineering and irrigation, sewerage construction, and agriculture.
Finally, in June 1994, a new Ghanaian ambassador presented his credentials to Russian President Boris Yeltsin in Moscow. At the time, the Ghanaian government expressed its hope that democratic restructuring in both Ghana and Russia and the advent of a market economy in Russia would lead to new and diversified bilateral trade and economic cooperation.