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GHANA’S EYES ARE “WIDE OPEN” ABOUT SINOHYDRO DEAL

General News

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo says the Sinohydro deal that Ghana has signed with China, centred around a US$2 billion package to finance infrastructural development, will benefit both countries.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo says the Sinohydro deal that Ghana has signed with China, centred around a US$2 billion package to finance infrastructural development, will benefit both countries.

The President acknowledged that he is aware of the increasingly loud anxieties of some about the ever closer economic ties between China and African countries, including Ghana. He said some even see it as a new colonisation of Africa by the Chinese.

“It is fair to say that we are all much wiser about these things and we are going to go into these relations with our eyes wide open,” the President said on Monday, as he delivered a speech at the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics in the United States of America.

“Nobody is coming pretending to be bringing God’s words in one hand and taking our land and resources with the other.”

Win-win agreement

Addressing students of the university and a cross-section of Ghanaians living in Chicago, President Akufo-Addo said this time around, the interests of the nation will be given priority, just as other nations put their own interest first.

“We’re not the only one dealing with China: everyone is dealing with China, and we are doing so with our eyes wide open,” he said.

Throwing more light on the Sinohydro deal, the President said that the end results will be twofold.

He said there will be much-improved infrastructure, as well as a significant industrial facility for Ghana ‒ “which will be our Bauxite Development Authority, in control of refining, smelting and producing aluminium”.

Another high point of the deal is that it will allow Ghanaian contractors, who will be primarily responsible for the development Ghana’s infrastructure, to develop their own capabilities.

“As far as I am concerned, it is a good deal for Ghana,” President Akufo-Addo said. “It is a deal that allows us to deal with critical deficits in our economic architecture.”

The President said with Ghana’s economy in fast growth, having a good railway system will ensure that growth becomes even stronger.

He said that the original agreement was to pay back the money with Ghanaian bauxite deposits but his government, on taking power, insisted on sending the Chinese alumina products instead.

Prosperity for all

President Akufo-Addo touched on how his government, through innovative policies and programmes, has managed to get the economy back on track after inheriting a debt-ridden economy from the National Democratic Congress.

The new government has outdoored a number of ambitious programmes for socio-economic transformation hinged around restructuring the institutions of government, modernising agriculture to enhance productivity and rationalising the financial sector.

“In my view, this is the best way to build a robust economy, create progress and prosperity for the Ghanaian people and lead the country to a situation beyond aid. That is indeed our goal ‒ a country beyond aid,” he said.

The President added that on assuming office, his first task was to get the fundamentals of the economy right.

He said the government has been able, with some degree of longer-term success, to ensure the growth of the economy. There have been substantial increases in areas such as agriculture which have ensured that Ghana, for the first time in a long while, has begun exporting food to countries such as Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire and Togo, her three immediate neighbours.

Driving investment

President Akufo-Addo further declared that the NPP government’s ability to create a business-friendly economy has attracted the attention of such global car giants as Volkswagen of Germany, Sinotruk of China, Nissan and Suzuki of Japan, all of which have expressed an interest in establishing assembly plants in Ghana.

“The tech giant Google has also decided to build its Africa Artificial Intelligence Centre in Ghana, the first in Africa,” he said.

He told the academics and students that the US oil multinational ExxonMobil and Aker Energy, the Norway-based petroleum resources development company, have entered into agreements with Ghana National Petroleum Corporation to undertake deepwater oil and gas exploration.

President Akufo-Addo said the government projects that the current output of 200,000 barrels of oil per day will increase to 500,000 by 2024.

“We are at the same time not forgetting about the development of our renewable energy,” he said, stressing that the NPP government has decided to make solar energy 10 per cent of the country’s energy mix by 2020. Renewables currently account for 1 per cent of power provision.

“Today Ghana is the leading recipient of foreign direct investment in West Africa,” the President said. “To foster our development, we will look west, east, north and south, without prejudice. But there should be no surprise if we are more welcoming to those who are prepared to invest in our priority areas.”