His Excellency Edward Boateng, Ghana’s Ambassador to China has marked the first anniversary of his reign as an ambassador to China.
The business mogul was appointed in July 2017 by President Akufo-Addo to represent Ghana as ambassador in the Asian country.
Speaking to Ghanaian journalists who visited him at Beijing on his first anniversary as ambassador, coupled with wide range of issues, Ambassador Edward Boateng said he would work assiduously to strengthen the relationship between Ghana and China.
Describing the first anniversary as interesting, haven’t gathered enough experience to guide his path, he said the country’s relationship with the Asian country had gone down following lacklustre attitude adopted by successive governments in providing leadership to consolidate gains made by President Kwame Nkrumah, first republic and John Agyekum Kufuor in the fourth republic.
He said Ghana was the 2nd country to create diplomatic ties with China in Africa through frantic effort made by Chairman Mao Zedong, first President of China, and Kwame Nkrumah, first President of Ghana.
According to him, Ghana, despite previously failing to capitalize on the beautiful relationship that existed between Ghana and China, the Asian tiger, still identifies the country as being the 3rd oldest Embassy in China.
Consequently, he explained that Ghana and China would strive to revive the ailing relationship and foster greater collaborations because the two countries historically have got good stories to tell.
He recalled the gains made during the first meeting of the founding presidents of both countries and expressed optimism that, new groundbreaking deals would be witnessed between the two nations in the coming days.
These, he disclosed would include business development with particular emphasis on investment drive, social and political development, entrepreneurship through vocational skills training in exchange programs, implementation of shared policies targeting growth among others.
He said whilst countries around the world have been rushing to partner China on reasonable grounds, Ghana was not building the relationship with China with the speed it required.
“I am working hard to reverse that and put Ghana on the map ” he pointed out.
The media guru said due to new moves made over the last one year, Ghana is now being recognized in China.
He said following the visit of Vice President Dr. Mahmudu Bawumia to China, the relationship has further been enhanced with measures put in place to consolidate what has been achieved.
He described the visit by the second gentleman as successful and indicated that another successful visit of high powered delegation from Ghana was the First lady, Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo. Following that, he said Ministers of State have also visited.
According to him, the Embassy would be expecting President Akufo-Addo in China early September this year to meet Xi Jinping, the Chinese President to further cement the relationship.
“Ghana has a lot to learn from China in terms of poverty eradication. China lifted 600 million people out of poverty within a short period of time and therefore we can learn from them”
Among the measures employed to rescue Ghana from obvious social challenges, he said was to first manage to increase the number of students studying in China from less than 2000, to over 6,380.
Again, he said President Akufo-Addo has been talking about two billion dollar agreement signed between Ghana and the Chinese government which could facilitate the transformation of the country’s economy.
A reason he said the Minister of Trade, Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen was in China to engage the right partners for the actualization of this big financial dream .”China has been generous to Ghana” he stressed.
Ambassador Edward Boateng assured that he would continue to establish rapport with as many Chinese institutions as possible to bridge the gap between the two countries.
In the education sector, he revealed that 24 school kids from both countries would visit each other for exchange programs to inculcate in them the bond between Ghana and China
“They (Ghanaians) would learn as much from the Chinese, and the Chinese would also learn from the Ghanaians ”
He said plans have also been advanced for Ghana to upgrade the Chinse Embassy from second tier to first tier to conform to international standards.
“Plans to enhance the status of China as first tier mission to be at par with US, UK, Germany etc is underway” Ambassador Edward confirmed.
He condemned the environmental degradation being caused by illegal mining activities (galamsey) in Ghana, saying that the practice irrespective of who was involved remained unacceptable.
He said “In my personal view, those bringing them ( Chinese ) must be responsible. I believe we can work hand in hand with them (Chinese authorities) to address the issue”.
Instead of importing the Chinese engaged in illegal mining, he said Ghana could utilize their expertise in agriculture and tap into their experiences for quick advancement of development.
Agriculture and mining, he revealed have been well positioned in the municipality in China where most of these illegal miners come from and that could be tapped. “Let us turn the effort positively”.
The authorities in China, he observed, see it as a systemic failure on the part of Ghana in holding citizens to account for their actions and inaction in environmental management.
Aside that, he said Ghana seems to lose a lot because local authorities don’t work with speed to utilize opportunities coming from Chinese authorities, investors and development partners.
“Capital has options, but cynicism in Ghana is very worrying” he lamented.
He said the 58 years of the Republic of Ghana should be celebrated, but appealed to Ghanaians to appreciate hard work and good attitude towards addressing the avalanche of challenges facing the country.
For instance, he said it was not right for a child to go to school hungry when agriculture, commerce and industry should be providing food for Ghanaians.
In addition, he said Ghana must work hard to address increasing spade of avoidable deaths which have become very rampant.
He said strides have been made in the area of development but could improve further with greater effort and commitment by all citizens.
“We can do more. Reflect on these difficulties, and improve on gains made”
He wondered why China with only 15% arable land and a huge population of about 1.4 billion, could utilize technology and hard work to transform its agricultural sector to feed its citizens and export to available markets and Ghana boasting of huge arable lands failing its citizens.
By: Daniel Kaku