By Frank Amponsah
The President, His Excellency Nana Akufo-Addo yesterday bid final farewell to the Chinese Ambassador to Ghana, Her Excellency Sun Baohong, after her four-year official duty in the country.
At a farewell lunch held by the President in her honour at the Jubilee House in Accra, President Akufo-Addo described Madam Sun Baohong as a great friend of Ghana, whose duty tour in Ghana witnessed significant and tremendous expansion of cooperation between the People Republic of China and the people of Ghana.
According to Akufo-Addo, the relationship between Ghana and China dates back to the early years of Ghana’s independence, and since then the relationship has been strong.
This relations, he indicated, has been rekindled by the leadership of former President John Agyekum Kufuor in the year 2001 to 2008.
“It is not surprising that in his time that relationship was revitalized and expanded,” he acknowledged.
The President also enumerated that the Chinese contribution towards the growth and development of Ghana’s infrastructural expansion has been tremendous and commendable.
He mentioned the significant contribution of the Chinese government towards the expansion project of the Bui Dam as one major works that the presence of Ambassador Sun Baohong had achieved and indicated that any objective and passionate observer will see that within these five years, Ghana had witnessed remarkable progress in her relationship with China.
Nana Akufo-Addo also mentioned the recent agreement the outgoing Ambassador helped signed between Ghana and her country, China, of a $66 million support for the implementation of the Jamestown Fishing Port Complex projects and the second phase of the University of Health and Allied Sciences.
Under that Bilateral Agreement, the Government of the People’s Republic of China is providing a grant of about $16.0 Million to Ghana for the implementation of projects including the Phase 2 of the University of Health and Allied Sciences.
The project is in three major parts, involves the dredging (about 118,000 cubic meters) harbour basin and shipping channels; construction of hydraulic structures (about 1,200 meters) composed of berths, Seawall and a break water; and construction of administration, production and supporting facilities, including an office building, kindergarten, trading market, processing area, commercial area and other production and supporting facilities.
According to President Akufo-Addo, these are evidence of the fact that Ambassador Sun Baohong has worked the extra miles for the people of Ghana.
In her farewell speech, Ambassador Sun Baohong said China and Ghana have been very important development partners, leading to the growing bilateral trade between the two countries over the past years.
According to her Ghana and China last year reached 6.67 billion US Dollars and it ranked sixth among 54 African countries.
“China is Ghana’s largest trading partner and what is worth noting is that Ghana’s export to China surpassed 1.85 billion dollars and registered an increase of over 41 percent,” she said.
Last year, China’s financial investment in Ghana reached $123 million and they have invested in 25 projects, the number of the projects ranked top among all the foreign investment countries.
Madam Sun Baohong said China 80 satellite TV project to 300 Ghanaian villages would be implemented in May while the James Town Fishing Port Complex would kick off within this year.
She said: “We are doing feasibility studies on the phase two of University of Health and Allied Sciences now and we are going to do the feasibility for Cocoa Processing Project in Sefwi Juaboso, and we have begun the implementation of donation of police vehicles and equipment.”
According to her China fully supported Ghana Beyond Aid initiative of the government and wishes that this aspiration will be realized with the help of international partners as she pledged China’s continuous support for Ghana.
She said: “Please allow me to take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude to your Excellency for this extremely friendly gesture. It demonstrates Your Excellency’s strong commitment to promoting China-Ghana friendship and further development of our relations. I have only fulfilled my duty as ambassador to Ghana, while Your Excellency, the government and people of Ghana have given me much more.”
Madam Sun Baohong arrived in Ghana on March 27, 2014.
She recounted that over the last four years, she had witnessed the smooth development of China-Ghana relations where the two countries have maintained close high-level exchanges, saying that “I have witnessed the growth of economic and trade cooperation between our two countries. The bilateral trade volumes have risen from 5.6billion USD in 2014 to 6.68 billion USD in 2017, with Ghana’s export to China reaching a historical high of 1.85 billion USD.”
China and Ghana, she mentioned enjoy profound traditional friendship and that their 58-year diplomatic ties have “withstood the test of international vicissitudes and the changes of each other’s domestic situation and are facing new opportunities. The Chinese side has noted with delight that due to your strong relationship, the NPP government has adopted a number of strong measures to develop the economy and improve peoples’ livelihoods, resulting in the improvement of macro-economy and fast GDP growth. The international community is upbeat that Ghana will become the fastest growing country in Africa this year.”
Looking forward, Madam Sun Baohong said Ghana and China cooperation is expected to boom with a number of major projects to kick off, among which are the expansion of the Tema Port, the oil exploration in the Volta Basin, the James Towm Fishing Port Complex, Pahse II of the University of Health and Allied Sciences, the Cooca-processing factory, and comprehensive development of bauxite.
“China supports Ghana’s initiative of One District One Factory, One Village One Dam and Planting for Food and Jobs and welcomes the Ghanaian side to participate in the construction of the One Belt One Road and share the development opportunities,” she noted.