Accra, Oct 4, GNA - Mr Peter Linder, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany, on Monday expressed optimism that Ghanaians would once again demonstrate the growing level of democracy in the country during the upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections. Speaking at a reception to mark the 14th anniversary of the German Reunification in Accra, Mr Linder said Germany had always held Ghana's interior policy and her successful efforts to strengthen democracy and good governance in high esteem.
He said the good progress that Ghana had made culminated in the visit early January of Chancellor Gerhard Schr=F6der to the country to show the high esteem in which the federal government held Ghana. Mr Linder recounted Chancellor Schr=F6der's firm German support for Ghana's foreign policy of good neighbourliness, regional integration and African co-operation.
He said Ghana demonstrated this through her outstanding commitment for African Reforms and integration by being the first African country to accede to NEPAD's African Peer Review Mechanism. Mr Linder said Germany appreciated Ghana's bi and multi-lateral efforts to reach a peaceful settlement of the prevailing conflicts in the region.
"My government is supporting the role Ghana, under the leadership of His Excellency President John A. Kufuor has been playing as the current chairman of ECOWAS. Germany is ready to support ECOWAS-activities designed to strengthen its role as a regional conflict mediator and to build up its own peacekeeping forces and capabilities." On the economic front, Mr Linder said Ghanaian-German Development cooperation is on a good and successful way.
Mr Linder said in line with the decision of the Paris Club in July, following Ghana's reaching of the HIPC Completion point, Germany would cancel all its debt out of commercial claims and all debt resulting from disbursed Financial Cooperation.
"With this decision, there is no outstanding debt between our two countries."
He said Ghana's firm economic and budget policy enabled Germany among nine donor countries for the first time to subscribe to Multi-donor Budget Support for Ghana in 2004.
The Private Sector Development Strategy launched by the Ghanaian Government in 2004 would strengthen the national economy and create better conditions for investment and would be supported by a German Development Cooperation Programme, he said.
"We highly appreciate Ghana's efforts to improve conditions for Ghanaian-German economic cooperation. The signing of the Ghanaian-German Agreement on the Avoidance of Double Taxation in August 2004 adds another essential prerequisite for the enhancement of private sector activity and business relations between our two countries."
He said the completion of the "One Stop Shop" planned by the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) where foreign investors could undergo all formalities and take all required steps to open a business in Ghana would undoubtedly attract more investors from Germany.
The interest of German enterprises in investing in Ghana or starting a business with Ghanaian partners was proved by the visit of a high-level business delegation accompanying Chancellor Schr=F6der to Ghana in January 2004.
"However, the best incentive for potential new investors is the example of existing successful joint ventures and projects, which we find among the members of the Ghanaian-German Economic Association," the Ambassador said.
He lauded the cultural links between the two countries, saying the relations between Ghana and Germany were not confined to arts , sciences or sports.
"In fact, the intention of German's foreign cultural policy is to establish a real dialogue not only between our societies but also in the Ghanaian and West African Society on important questions of life and changes as well as new challenges coming up with globalisation and worldwide political and social development."