Benin President Visits Ghana

President Patrice Talon interacting with President Akufo-Addo upon his arrival

The relation between Ghana and Benin witnessed a major boost yesterday following a visit to Ghana by Beninoise President, Patrice Talon.

He arrived in the country with a high-powered delegation to strengthen the ties between the two countries and was met on arrival at the Kotoka International Airport by President Akufo-Addo and some government officials where a guard of honour had been mounted in his honour.

Later in the afternoon, he paid a courtesy call on President Akufo-Addo at the Flagstaff House.

After talks behind closed door, both presidents addressed the media, with President Akufo-Addo sharing his delight to discover that he and his Beniniose counterpart hold similar views on issues pertaining to both countries as well as the West African 1sub-region.

The discussions centered on the need for a faster integration of the people of West Africa and on the need to strengthen security in the sub-region.

He described President Talon’s presence in Ghana as “important” because the relation between the two countries had been greatly renewed, and also for the fact that Benin and Ghana hold the same values that have spearheaded democratic governance in the sub-region.

On his part, the Beninoise President considered his visit within a wider framework of enhancing cooperation between Ghana and among the countries of the sub-region.

He could not but thank President Akufo-Addo and the people of Ghana for the hospitality accorded him and his entourage.

Considering the fact that he (Talon) is married to a Ghanaian, he noted that although the West African people share socio-cultural similarities, the process of integrating the region, which would bring tangible benefits to the region, was not being pursued with the urgency it deserves.

“Our region has reached a level of integration that should lead to real progress in the region…What our forebears did not succeed in doing, we should do it now to guarantee our development,” he charged.

He said, “The onus is on us as leaders to work towards the integration of the region for the benefits of our people.”

Going forward, the Beniniose President has indicated his decision to spend more of his vacation in Ghana than in Europe, saying, “We would have to do our best for our people and get to know our countries better than Europe.”

President Talon seized the opportunity to express his heartfelt condolences to the government and people of Ghana for the lives lost in the tragic gas explosion at Atomic Junction over the weekend, which claimed seven lives – including a member of the presidential press corps – and injured 132 others.

Benin and Ghana have had a healthy relation bordering on politics, economics and culture dating back to 1962.

Both have followed similar socio-economic development strategies since attaining independence, with they sharing similar orientation and common positions on issues of international concern.

The socio-economic cooperation between both nations have been conducted mostly within the framework of a Ghana-Benin Permanent Joint Commission, signed in August 1976 and ratified on February 8, 1979.

The two nations have within the framework of the Commission, concluded various agreements of cooperation ranging from tourism, agriculture, road transport, telecommunications, health, extradition, civil aviation, with the last being a Protocol Agreement on military cooperation signed in Accra  in October 2011.

By Charles Takyi-Boadu, Presidential Correspondent