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24.01.2004 General News

Germany urged to advocate for Africa's development

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Accra, Jan. 23 GNA - President John Agyekum Kufuor on Friday urged Germany to be an advocate for Africa's development within the G-8 and the European Union (EU).

He said Germany could prevail upon other members of the G-8 and the EU to summon the moral courage to confront the challenge of eliminating trade and other invisible barriers that were holding back Africa's development.

"If these barriers persist our bid to fashion a single economic entity under ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) would face great difficulty. The same is true of NEPAD (New Partnership for Africa's Development), which has won the unanimous endorsement of Germany and the G-8."

President Kufuor made the appeal while proposing the toast at a State Banquet he held in honour of German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, who is on two-day state visit to Ghana.

Ghana is the last leg of Chancellor Schroeder's one-week four African nations tour that had already taken him to Ethiopia, Kenya and South Africa.

Chancellor Schroeder would hold bilateral talks with President Kufuor and sign a debt cancelling agreement on Saturday after both leaders have inaugurated the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping and Training Centre (KAIPTC), the construction of which Germany assisted with 2.8 million Euros.

President Kufuor said the benefits of globalisation continued to elude large parts of the world's population, adding that frustration and disillusionment bred despair and created the conditions, which terrorists could exploit.

He said for Africa, in particular, the prevailing imbalances in the world economy had become a matter of life and death and most of the intractable conflicts on the continent had their roots in poverty and disillusionment.

President Kufuor said corruption and bad governance had as much to do with the moral failings of public officials as with the scramble over limited resources.

"We cannot hope to build a stable and peaceful world without creating real opportunities for people to improve their circumstances", he said. On Ghana-German relationships, President Kufuor said since 1960, Germany's overall technical assistance to Ghana had exceeded 900 million Euros and vital sectors of the economy such as education, agriculture, health care and private sector development had all benefited.

He said Germany's assistance towards the establishment of the KAIPTC was a welcome recognition of the fact that economic growth and prosperity could only thrive when peace, stability and fundamental human rights were guaranteed.

"With this Centre, Ghana is being helped to realise its cherished ambition to become a gateway to much of this huge continent of Africa for the positive development of peace and prosperity. Ghana acknowledges Germany and you Chancellor Schroeder as very dependable partners into the future", he said.

The ECOWAS Chairman expressed the appreciation of the Organisation to Germany and the G-8 Countries their contribution in the implementation of the ceasefire in Cote D'Ivoire.

He said the material and financial contribution of G-8 ensured the speedy dispatch of Ghanaian troops to Cote d'Ivoire and that ECOWAS looked up to Germany to continue to provide the requisite leadership within the EU in resolving conflicts and sustaining peace in Africa.

Chancellor Schroeder in reply to the toast said the relationship between both countries over the years had improved and deepened not only in the political sector but also in the economic and cultural fields. He said Germany shared many ideas with Ghana on the international scene and believed in the talents, ability and strength of the African.

Chancellor Schroeder said Germany's decision to cancel Ghana's debts was based on the confidence it has in the ability of the Government to put the debt relief to good use, for the benefit of Ghanaians. He commended President Kufuor for his willingness and readiness to promote regional economic groupings on the African continent to facilitate trading.

Chancellor Schroeder said President Kufuor had in addition contributed tremendously to the restoration of peace and stability in most African countries and had shown his determination to work towards peace in conflict areas.

He said his administration looked forward to improved relationships between Ghana and Germany for the benefit of their peoples.

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