Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, the Asantehene, yesterday organised a durbar at the Manhyia palace in Kumasi in the Ashanti Region to welcome the Malian President, Amadou Tourmani Toure, who is on a three-day state visit to Ghana. Accompanied by President John Agyekum Kufuor, Mr Toure was greeted with tumultuous cheers from the crowd and sounds from the Fontomfrom drum were heard on their arrival at the durbar.
President Toure noted that there was an improved relation between Ghana and Mali stressing that the long historical and commercial trade connection between Ghana and Mali was growing from strength to strength.
The Malian President said he was happy to be in Kumasi to greet the Asantehene and the good people of Kumasi, the town where he grew from infancy and hoped that the social and commercial activities between Ghana and Mali would continue to improve.
President Toure asked God to give Otumfuo Osei Tutu long life and President Kufuor and the people of Ghana success.
The Asantehene in an address read on his behalf by Oheneba Adusei Poku, the Akyempemhene of Kumasi, commended the Malian President for his efforts to promote democracy in his country.
Otumfuo Osei Tutu II called on Malians in the Ashanti Region to construct warehouses at the Boankra inland port to promote trade in the West African sub-region. He also urged President Toure to ensure effective business transactions among the people of the sub-region adding that language or administrative barriers should not be a hindrance to economic activities.
The occasion, which was also attended by chiefs, Ministers of State, Members of Parliament and diplomats witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on economic co-operation, cultural exchange and ideas to enhance cordial relations between the people of Kumasi and Mopti in Mali.
Mr Emmanuel Asamoah Owusu-Ansah, Ashanti Regional Minister, signed on behalf of Madam Patricia Appiagyei, Chief Executive of the Kumasi Metropolis, while Mr Mahmoud Ben Labrat, the Malian Ambassador signed for the Mayor of Mopti.