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17.10.2006 General News

Ghana is Africa's star

By statesman
Ghana is Africa's star
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Monday, President John Agyekum Kufuor, who is on a two-day official visit to Italy, had separate meetings with the Italian President and the Speakers of the two legislative chambers.

The Italian leaders were unanimous in their observation that Ghana has once again assumed her earlier post-Independence place as "the reference point for Africa."

Speaking to The Statesman after the three meetings, Presidential Press Secretary Andrews Awuni said, the leaders agreed that the 1990s' tag of Africa as a basket case is no longer supported by the wonderful steps countries like Ghana continue to take.

"With news of international recognition of the cedi as a marketable currency on the bonds markets, with inflation maintaining its downward trend to 10.8 percent, and the world recognising Ghana as among the topmost reformed economies in the world, you do not need to be a supporter of this government to acknowledge the growing economic gains," says Mr. Awuni.

He argues that not only is the economy on an unprecedented sound footing, but, "it's actually on a serious forward march, as the economy continues to expand. There's more that is being done to see the benefits more evidently and solidly improving the lives of the ordinary Ghanaian. But, it's equally important for all of us to acknowledge that the path that has been charted by President Kufuor since 2001 was the only one that could guarantee a sustained improvement in the pockets of every hardworking Ghanaian."

Mr. Awuni said, Ghana had never before witnessed this level of sound economic environment.

"This is what is required to move us from poverty to wealth creation."

Meanwhile, yesterday morning Italian President Giorgio Napolitano received at his office at the Qurinale President John Agyekum Kufuor. Foreign Minister Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and Italy's undersecretary for foreign affairs, Donato di Santo, were also present at the meeting.

In the afternoon, President Kufuor also met the speaker of the Italian Senate, Franco Marini. The President also attended another meeting with Speaker Luciano Violante of the Chamber of Deputies of Italy.

During the meeting of the two Heads of State, President Giorgio Napolitano called for the international community to keep their attention to the tragedy of Darfur high. "This war is at risk of becoming a forgotten war after having caused much involvement during the last few months," he announced to his Ghanaian counterpart.

"The problems of Africa must not be second to anything," stated Napolitano.

Citing Ghana as the shining example of hope that awaits the rest of Africa, the Italian leader said "civil wars and immense humanitarian tragedies as that in Darfur must be constantly at the attention of the international community."

He underlined "Italy's efforts in favour of peace and development in Africa, on a bilateral level as well as with the United Nations, the EU and the G8."

Italy and Ghana, in fact, are the protagonists "of a collaboration agreement on a political level" as in the case of "the common effort for the mission in Lebanon, the UN actions in favour of human rights and peace, the G8 initiatives for the reduction of debts, the collaboration for the training of human resources" to be sent into peace-keeping missions.

"Europe does have no other choice that to create a strong and long-lasting partnership with Africa, in its own interest," he concluded.

President Kufuor, in response, said he "completely agreed" with the words of the Italian President.

"Africa and Europe have to move together to face famine, AIDS and malaria so many people on my continent have been suffering from for such a long time."

Ghana's democracy, he underlined, was stable and mature. And, it is that political stability, supported by prudent economic management, which has created the economic transformation conducive for investors. He called for intensification in economic and trade relations between the two countries, the developed world and Africa.

"The times in which developed nations could put aside the African emergency with the excuse of instability, of scarce respect of human rights and corruption are over."

Italy gave the example, he concluded, by "cancelling a debt of $42 million."

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