Madam Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, has called for the deepening of the long-standing cordial relations between Ghana and São Tomé and Príncipe.
She said the prospects for mutually beneficial cooperation between the two nations looked promising.
“We believe that the bonds of friendship between our two countries today provide the foundation for our peoples and businesses to take advantage of the bigger market we represent together,” Madam Yorkor Botchwey remarked during a courtesy call on Madam Edite Ten Juan, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sao Tome and Principe in São Tomé City.
“Our deeper cooperation will position our two countries to take advantage of the fast-evolving economic landscape of our continent.”
Madam Ayorkor Botchwey said the new continental arrangements and instruments, such as the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), the Single African Air Transport Market and the Protocol on the Free Movement of Persons were creating possibilities for an ambitious agenda for progress for the people of Africa, which they must seize the moment.
This, she said means working together, building on their different strengths and capabilities to create opportunities but also to take advantage of the new opportunities.
“I see strengthened relations with Sao Tome in all spheres as an important step in this direction,” she said.
She said, she was pleased that their two Governments were united in purpose and vision on the appropriate framework that would guide their interactions in a focused and purposeful manner, to reap the full benefits of this partnership.
She welcomed the technical level consultations that had taken place to enable their two countries signed four instruments.
These include the General Cooperation Agreement between the Government of Ghana and the Government of Sao Tome and Principe; fields of cooperation such as trade, agriculture, mining, education and scientific research, culture activities, health, transport, tourism, small and medium scale artefacts, youth and sports, ICT and energy.
There was A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for political consultations between the Government of Ghana and the Government of Sao Tome and Principe.
After the MOU there was also an Agreement between the Government of Ghana and the Government of Sao Tome and Principe concerning waiver of Visa Requirements for holders of diplomatic, service/ official and ordinary passports.
There was a further MoU between the Government of Ghana and the Government of Sao Tome and Principe on co-operation in the field of Tourism and Arts Culture.
Madam Ayorkor Botchwey said implementing these agreements upon their signature, had become even more urgent as the COVID-19 pandemic had set their countries back.
“Ghana stands ready to deepen her engagement with Sao Tome and Principe in all areas of bilateral cooperation, including in trade and investments,” she said.
She said, she was confident that with their agreement, they would have initiated a new era of a more vibrant engagement between their two countries, for the mutual benefit of our two peoples.
“Indeed, my presence here in Sao tome and Principe, and the agreement reached to sign these four important instruments, amply demonstrate our political will and readiness to work together, assiduously, in deepening our relations,” she said.
“As we give effect to our commitment to see increased partnerships between our two countries, through the signature of these four agreements, I take this opportunity to invite Sao Tomean business operators to consider Ghana, a member of the 350 million economic community of West African States, as a destination for investments and trade.”
She said on the multilateral front, Ghana and Sao Tome and Principe had demonstrated a shared conviction for the maintenance of international peace and security, including defeating violent extremism on the continent.
“We also share common positions on the sustainable management of the environment and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals as well as the safe, orderly and regular migration of our citizens, Ghana will continue to collaborate with Sao Tome and Principe, especially in the coming two years as we assume non-permanent membership of the United Nations security council,” Madam Ayorkor Botchwey said.
She restarted her firm conviction that their cooperation and their deep affinity for and integrated Africa was the surest way to achieve the socio-economic transformation of their countries and the well-being of their peoples.