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13.03.2007 Business & Finance

Ghana Authorities Identify Cooperation Areas

By Angola Press Agency (Luanda)

Authorities of Angola and Ghana have so far identified 12 potential areas for cooperation, as part of the effort to reinforce existing bilateral social, cultural and economic relations between the two countries.

This was disclosed by Angolan ambassador to Ghana, José Alves Primo, during an interview to Angop and State-run "Radio Nacional de Angola" broadcasting station, in Accra, on the occasion of the celebrations of that country's independence jubilee.

According to the ambassador, the opening in 2005 of the embassy in Accra has permitted to respond to the expectations that ruled its creation and reinforcement of cooperation.

Alves Primo said that the decision to set up the embassy in Ghana was made at the highest level more than three years ago, but it was only truly established in 2005.

Meanwhile, despite this time, the embassy has been endeavouring seriously in creating the best conditions for the reinforcement of cooperation between the two countries, the source added.

According to the source, two months after the embassy opened, in October 2005, the fourth session of Angola/Ghana Bilateral Commission was held, thus restarting a process that had taken off nine years earlier.

The fourth session identified 12 potential areas for cooperation, all of them with practical possibilities, according to the ambassador who highlighted the great interests of Ghanaians in the domain of oil.

According to the diplomat, Ghana has a great interest in cooperating in the domain of oil, particularly in the purchase of crude oil. However, this has not been attained due to other commitments.

The Ghanaians have also expressed interest in cooperating with Angola in the training of personnel, particularly in the fields of exploration, refining, marketing, drilling, geology, geophysics and contracts, taking into account that crude exploration in that west Africa country is in preparation.

With this regard, the diplomat said Angolan Government has responded positively, underlining there are no obstacles to its implementation in view of the country's large experience.

José Alves Primo said that although Ghana was one of the first countries to open an embassy in Angola, the level of economic cooperation is still far from being proportional to existing political relations.

The ambassador said as well that the disproportion stems from other factors that include the lack of a direct complementariness between the economies of the two countries, there being need for a more immediate cooperation between respective economic operators.

To the diplomat, despite these factors, Angola is determined to strengthen its relations with Ghana, as they are not seen by the Angolan authorities from the strict economic perspective.

"We have to take into account geo-strategic factors, the political weight of the two countries. In this specific case, we can have Ghana as a good partner," he stated, stressing the role of that country within the Ecowas.

The ambassador explained that the Angolan authorities take into account many other factors, including the fact that Ghana is part of the inner group of the so-called "South Atlantic Peace and Cooperation Zone" where Angola is seeking initiatives to resume the process.

José Alves Primo mentioned the existence of a project in the area of urbanisation and environment, estimated at Usd 85 million, for the construction of houses and social infrastructures in Angola's northern Bengo province.

The rehabilitation of the Bom Jesus irrigation project with technical studies currently in advanced stage and public works are part of the 12 identified areas.

He also spoke of excellent relations of cooperation in the field of energy between Angola's Electricity Company (ENE) and Volta Energy Authority (Ghana), and commercial, between Angola's Chamber of Commerce and the Ghanaian Industrial Association.

The diplomat explained that Ghana started its participation in Luanda's International Trade Fair (Filda) with six businesses, a number that has now risen to 40 applications from Ghanaian commercial operators for new editions.

Geology and mining is another area of interest for bilateral cooperation, taking into account Ghana's high mine exploration level that can lead to an exchange of experience and setting up of joint companies.

He also mentioned a progress in trade and banking, with a growing participation of Ghanaian businesses, particularly in Angolan events that include Filda.

Another important domain of cooperation is that of culture, as Angola and Ghana are part of Unesco's "Slaves Route" project, the source stressed.