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This was the first of such visits in 13 years and the latest in a series of high level UK Ministerial visits in recent months to Ghana.
Ghana-UK relations received a major boost last week following the Foreign Secretary Rt. Hon. William Hague MP’s visit to Accra. It was the first such visit in 13 years. I am delighted that the Foreign Secretary was able to come to Accra, further strengthening the excellent links we have built up between the UK and Ghana. This was the latest in a series of high level UK Ministerial visits in recent months.
I believe that we are seeing a renaissance in the UK-Ghana relationship. The UK continues a very strong development assistance commitment to Ghana through the excellent work of our DFID office. Bilateral trade is flourishing and on track to meet our target to double between 2010 and 2015. We are working ever more closely on defence and security matters, including the fight against the illegal drugs trade. Very recently we had outstanding collaboration when a Royal Air Force C17 aircraft transported the Ghanaian engineering unit to Mali to join the African led intervention force (AFISMA) there.
During William Hague’s visit, he had the honour of meeting and talking to His Excellency President John Dramani Mahama and the Honourable Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Honourable Hanna Tetteh. These were very cordial talks. Both sides agreed that the Ghana-UK relationship was in excellent shape, and looked forward to opportunities for us to cooperate ever more closely in future, including on Mali and developments in the region. Amongst the issues of mutual concern is piracy in the Gulf of Guinea. Maritime security is an area where our two countries have the opportunity to develop a strong relationship, alongside other international and regional partners. The Foreign Secretary commended Ghana for its economic achievements and prosperity, founded on good governance and the rule of law. He noted that Ghana was a model for others in the region and rightly held up as a beacon of democracy. He discussed the scope for greater trade, and stressed the importance of the private sector in driving growth.
Prior to his meeting with His Excellency President Mahama, the Foreign Secretary was in Mali to hold talks with members of the Malian Government. He met the President and Prime Minister of Mali and the Minister for Foreign Affairs as well as representatives of local Malian communities. The Foreign Secretary met the Commander of AFISMA, and the Deputy Commander of the European Union Training Mission to the Malian Armed Forces. He also spoke to some of the Ghanaian troops transported to Mali by the UK’s C17 transport plane.
All in all this was a very busy and productive visit to the region by the Foreign Secretary, and one that leaves me very optimistic for our future relationship. This has the potential to be a golden age in UK-Ghana relations. I am confident that our partnership will go from strength to strength.