By Adu Koranteng
Ghana and Israel have rekindled their ties with a resolve to deepen their bilateral and economic cooperation. This follows a discussion held in Jerusalem between the minister for foreign affairs and regional integration, Madam Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey and the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem. Mr Netanyahu lauded Ghana for the 8 percent economic growth and pledged to increase Israeli investment in Ghana.
Ghana and Israel have had long standing relations which dates back to 1950s. Ghana was the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to recognize Israel in 1958. The then Israeli prime minister, Golda Meier and Dr Kwame Nkrumah were very good friends. The first presidential aircraft used by President Nkrumah was given to Ghana by Israel. This continued during the era of Dr Busia’s government which led to the beginning of the Accra Sewage project but it was halted when his government was toppled in a coup d’etat by military led General I.K. Acheampong in 1972.
The Ghana -Israel ties took a nose dive in the seventies when organization of African Unity, OAU, which is now AU took a common position against Israeli actions against Palestine. This resulted in the cutting off diplomatic relationship until 2007, when it was revived. Since then both countries have established strong presence in Accra and Telaviv. In pursuance of Ghana’s economic transformation agenda which is anchored on the industrialization and trade, the minister for foreign affairs and regional integration, madam Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey is in Israel to share the vision of the government to woo Israeli investment community.
Madam Ayorkor Botchwey met with the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu and said Ghana has a population of 30 million with 60 percent of them being in the youthful bracket. Also she told the Israeli premier that the skilful youthful population coupled with Ghana’s resources it will be mutually beneficial if ICT and agribusiness companies from Israel invest in Ghana.
On the investment climate, she assured the Israelis that the government of Ghana has put in place laws that protect the interest of investors and urged them to put Ghana High on the map of investment.
Prime Minister Netanyahu described Ghana’s economic strides made in the last 20 months as very impressive. He said his government is prepared to scale up its investment in Africa and Ghana is one of the countries, Israel wants to do business with. He added he is looking forward to host President Akufo Addo in Israel in the first quarter of 2019.
Mr Netanyahu commended President Akufo Addo for his leadership and stressed that he wants to ensure that the bond of friendship between the two countries is taken to another height in order to better the lot of their citizens.
Trade volumes between Ghana and Israel is less than one billion dollars but the trade balance is in favour of Israel. Some of the Israeli companies in Ghana include Dizengoff, Sonitra, STL and PW2. Israel is a world leader when it comes to security, technology, agriculture and water