Ghana and Malta signed four Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) on Cooperation, Sports and Youth Development, Fisheries and Education in Accra on Friday to enhance Maltese assistance to these sectors and enhance their activities.
Ms. Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration of Ghana, met with Dr. Ian Borg, Minister for Foreign and European Affairs and Trade of Malta, after which the MoUs were signed.
Ms Botchwey and Dr Borg signed the Ghana-Malta Permanent Joint Commission for Cooperation (PJCC), while Mr Mustapha Ussif, Minister for Youth and Sports, signed the MoU on Sports and Youth Development.
The Fisheries MoU was signed by Mr. Moses Anim, Deputy Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, while the Academic Cooperation MoU between the Mediterranean Academy of Diplomatic Studies, University of Malta and the Legon Center for International Affairs and Diplomacy ( LECIAD), University of Ghana, was signed by Professor Emmanuel Debrah, Director, LECIAD.
Madam Botchwey noted that Ghana treasured the strong relations between the two countries, a relationship that dates back to the early 1970s.
He recounted the numerous bilateral cooperations, including the visit to Accra of the then President of Malta, Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, in 2017, which was reciprocated in 2019 by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
She said that Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, the Asantehene, and Nana Otuo Siriboe II, the President of the Council of State, were in Malta for a visit.
Ms Botchwey said those high-level visits saw the signing of agreements and memorandums of understanding on bilateral cooperation, prevention of double taxation and visa exemption for diplomatic and service passports.
He praised Dr. Borg for launching the Maltese High Commission building in Accra, which cements Malta’s presence in Ghana, and also praised him for heading a 50-member business delegation to Ghana.
Linking the private sectors of the two countries was extremely important because they needed to see very tangible results from their cooperation in terms of economic ties and business investment, to make relations between Ghana and Malta visible, Madam Botchwey said.
“We want your companies to see Ghana not just as a market of 31 million people, but as a Ghana that is a stepping stone to the West African market, which is over 300 million,” he said.
“And also, to see Ghana, even more as that stepping stone to the 1.3 billion Continental Free Trade Area (Africa) (AfCFTA) market.”
Referring to the Standing Joint Commission for Cooperation, Ghana’s Foreign Minister said adding their signatures meant they endorsed the Commission’s work for its implementation.
He said that Ghana was working to open direct air transport between Accra and Valletta, the capital of Malta, and expressed his gratitude to Malta for awarding scholarships to Ghanaian students and donating vaccines to Ghana.
Madam Botchwey congratulated Malta on joining the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) as a non-permanent member and where members would work together to make the world a better place.
Dr. Borg, for his part, praised Ghana’s democratic credentials and for being a shining example in the sub-region.
He said Malta opened its first embassy in sub-Saharan Africa in Accra because Ghana was the most politically stable country in the region.
He pointed out that the high-level visits between the two countries say a lot, along with the MoUs, which indicate the broad areas of bilateral collaboration.
Mr. Ussif, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency, said the MoU on Sports and Youth Development would enhance exchange programs between the two countries.