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23.10.2005 General News

Ghana/Jamaica Sign Communique for Cooperation

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Accra, Oct. 23, GNA - Ghana is to participate in an International Conference on Social and Environmental Cost of Poverty in Kingston, Jamaica next year.

The conference is meant to design effective measures towards the eradication of poverty in the two countries.

The decision is part of an agreement reached in a Communiqu=E9 signed between Ghana and Jamaica at the end of two-day meeting of the Ghana-Jamaica Permanent Joint Commission for Technical Cooperation held in Kingston from October 19-20, 2005.

Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo Addo, Minister of Foreign Affairs led Ghana's delegation to the talks while Mr K.D. Knight, Jamaica's Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade represented his country. Other members of Ghana's delegation were Mr Jake Obestebi Lamptey, Minister of Tourism and Modernization of the Capital City, Professor Dominic Fobih, Minister of Lands, Forestry and Mines.

According to the Communiqu=E9 Jamaica will meanwhile establish a mechanism to evaluate the impact of Ghana's poverty alleviation programmes.

The two countries are also to exchange experiences in the resettlement and integration of street children into normal productive lives.

In the area of health, Ghana agreed to reconsider renewing the exchange programme involving Ghanaian nurses and other health professionals.

"This would be considered during the medium to long terms when Ghana has gained adequate numbers as opposed to the short term during which there exists a shortage of health professionals in Ghana," the Communiqu=E9 stated.

The two countries would then collaborate in 'managed migration' of Ghanaian health professionals to Jamaica.

According to the Communiqu=E9 signed by Nana Akuffo Addo and Mr Knight, Ghana and Jamaica would also explore possibilities of having short-term assignments of medical doctors in Ghana from Jamaica. They are also to exchange visits in areas of research into plant medicine as well as genetically determined diseases, such as sickle cell and certain skin conditions akin to the two countries.

The Communiqu=E9 said health tourism would also be promoted in Ghana by making contact with private institutions in Jamaica involved in the development and operations of convalescent homes and the establishment of recuperative centres for patients.

Jamaica would also examine the Ghana National Health Insurance Scheme as it becomes more established and sustained and also offer technical expertise in supporting programmes targeting people with HIV/AIDS in Ghana.

On trade, Ghana expressed interest in exporting to Jamaica, cocoa and cocoa products, veneer plywood, handicrafts, fish and fish products and kente primarily to the Rastafarian market. Ghana is also to receive technical assistance in the agro-processing sector to increase the value to their exports especially the food and beverage industry.

Consequently, Jamaica has agreed to participate in Ghana's International Trade Fair in 2006 as a means of firming up trade links between the two states.

It is also to collaborate with the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre/Ghana Export Promotion Centre culminating in the signing of a Memorandum of Un derstanding with the view to promoting inter-agency cooperation.

Mining was a topical item at the meeting at which Ghana proposed for development of vertically integrated bauxite mining, alumina refining and aluminium smelting operations were discussed. They therefore agreed to explore information on Ghana's bauxites, environmental requirement and examination of the legal framework for future joint venture agreements.

The Jamaican Bauxite Institute (JBI) according to Nana Akuffo Addo is to receive by the end of November 2005, detailed technical information on Ghana's bauxite, its geology, reserves, land ownership and use arrangement and the existing legislative framework. Dr Calton Davis, Cabinet Secretary and Chairman of JBI will visit Ghana before the end of the year to conclude discussion on the technical information.

The Communiqu=E9 acknowledged the settling of financial arrangements related to costs of providing technical guidance and mentioned the Commonwealth facility framework to be used as was discussed by President John Agyekum Kufuor and Prime Minister Perceval Patterson when the former visited Jamaica last July. The Commission agreed to explore tourism potentials of the two countries and development of technical cooperation for the enhancement of the industry.

Citizens of the two countries are also to make each other's capital a definite destination on their itinerary.

Jamaica requested an academic research and exchange of Jamaican/Ghanaian scholars with the revival of links between the Institute of African Studies of University of Ghana, Legon and the African Caribbean Institute of Jamaica, further development of the Dubois Centre, exchange of expertise in museum management and scholarship attachments in hospitality training in Jamaica. Ghana proposed cooperation in tourism promotion and marketing with multi-destination collaboration as top of the agenda.

Other areas that came up for discussion and things that the two countries would learn from each other were culture and the promotion of PANAFEST, handicraft, women and children affairs and issues towards developing laws on domestic violence, human trafficking, adoption and a policy on orphans and vulnerable children which Jamaica was willing to share ideas with Ghana.