President Akufo-Addo welcoming Dr Angela Merkel, German Chancellor with a kiss to the Jubilee House yesterday, as Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia looks on
German automobile giant Volkswagen (VW) has finally decided to set up an assembling plant in Ghana.
The announcement was made by the visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel at a joint press conference with President Akufo-Addo when she paid a day’s working visit to Ghana yesterday.
An agreement was subsequently signed at the event held at the Kempinski Gold Coast Hotel in Accra to begin the process.
Even though details of the deal are sketchy, it’s expected to deepen relations between the two countries.
It would boost the Ghanaian economy and the industrialization drive of the Akufo-Addo-led New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration to create jobs.
The recent launch of a similar assembling plant in Rwanda became topical.
The German Chancellor reiterated her country’s commitment to supporting efforts by the Ghana government to focus on industrialization.
She said her administration has keenly monitored how the Akufo-Addo administration is building a ‘Ghana Beyond Aid’.
Germany would collaborate with Ghana to make available best practices that have helped the country to industrialize, she added.
The deportation of about 4,000 Ghanaians living illegally in Germany was also discussed at the meeting yesterday.
“Given the opportunity to live legally, they will jump at the possibility, but that is a matter for the German authorities to decide,” President Akufo-Addo said.
President Akufo-Addo said between 40,000 and 50,000 Ghanaians are living in that country, the number (4,000) is relatively small since they make up less than 10 per cent of the population of Ghanaians resident in that country.
That notwithstanding, he indicated that “we are working with the authorities in Germany to find a way in dealing with this small population of illegals that are there.”
He made a passionate appeal for the German government to consider the possibility of granting them amnesty.
He reiterated his government’s determination to modernize agriculture and develop the country’s manufacturing and industrial sectors while strengthening the financial sector.
President Akufo-Addo said Ghana would welcome the assistance of German government since they have the capital, knowledge and the capacity.
“We think that the picture that is being painted of what we are trying to do provides those incentives and those opportunities; we are very concerned about finding sources of finance for the development of our infrastructure as well as sources of finance for our industrial development,” he noted.
He, therefore, expressed hope that the visit of the Chancellor could provide the opportunity in that regard.
Chancellor Merkel also commended Ghana for the smooth transfer of power from one political party to another since Ghana’s return to democratic rule in 1992.
“Ghana generally speaking is the vanguard of those who are fighting for development in Africa and as President I am in a position to say that Ghana and Germany share values and principles,” she stated.
Chancellor Merkel commended President Akufo-Addo for his achievements since assuming office and for his leadership role in the ECOWAS Region.
She also praised the President for encouraging the youth in the country to develop their own vision in a confident manner through the plethora of initiatives put in place by his administration.
Currently, the German Chancellor indicated that about 42 universities in Germany who offer scholarships to Ghanaian students.
“Government is looking at ways of scaling up such scholarships for countries like Ghana with good democratic credentials,” she added.
The German Chancellor was accompanied by a high-powered government and business delegation to explore opportunities in the country while President Akufo-Addo was ably supported by Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, Ghana’s Ambassador to Germany, Gina Ama Blay, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Shirley Ayorkor Botchway and a number of high-ranking government officials.
Earlier, Vice President welcomed the German leader at the Kotoka International Airport and they drove straight to the Jubilee House.
By Charles Takyi-Boadu, Presidential Correspondent