Opening Remarks by His Excellency President Jacob Zuma during the Occasion of State Visit to the Republic of Ghana, 26 November 2013
Your Excellency, My Dear Brother, President of the Republic of Ghana, Mr. John Dramani Mahama,
Honourable Ministers and Deputy Ministers,
Your Excellencies, High Commissioners,
Thank you for the invitation Your Excellency and dear brother, to undertake the State Visit to Ghana.
We are very humbled by the warm welcome we have received from you and your people since our arrival in Accra.
This is indeed indicative of the warm, solid and fraternal relations that exist between our two countries, which will invariably guide our deliberations during this State Visit.
We truly feel at home here because as you know, South Africa and Ghana have enjoyed close historical ties of solidarity dating back to the period of our struggles for freedom and independence.
As the pioneer of the decolonization process in the African continent, Ghana served as an inspiration for South Africa.
I am reminded of the famous speech given by Kwame Nkrumah in 1957 where he indicated thatthe independence of Ghana would be meaningless unless it was linked to the total liberation of Africa.
Indeed Ghana played a significant role in the struggle against colonialism and apartheid and we will forever be grateful for your support.
Allow me to congratulate and commend Ghana on its free, fair, peaceful and transparent Presidential and Parliamentary elections held on 7 December 2012.
We also welcome in particular the conduct of Ghanaians in the wake of the court verdict regarding the disputed elections results. This has further strengthened democracy in Ghana.
My Dear brother
In 2011 during the State Visit to South Africa by the late President of Ghana, Professor John Evans Atta Mills, our two governments signed seven Agreements/Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs).
On 5 November 2013 in South Africa, our Ministers of Foreign Affairs adopted action plans developed for the implementation of these Agreements.
As partners we need to ensure that the fruits of these Agreements/MoU’s translate into jobs and the creation of prosperity for our peoples.
We are happy that we are making progress on collaboration in various sectors including energy, science and technology, trade and industry, tourism, environment, agriculture and transport.
We welcome the conclusion of agreements that will be signed today which take our collaboration further.
These include among others the MoU on Cooperation in Electricity; Bilateral Air Service Agreement, the MoU on Cooperation in Transport Related Matters and one the bureau of standards.
We are particularly pleased with the collaboration in the Square Kilometre Array project bid and the continued collaboration between our two countries in the design of the SKA Implementation Strategy and the Africa Very Long Baseline Interferometry programme.
I am also pleased that we will meet with the business community of our two countries later. It is important for us to further boost economic ties and trade relations building on current successes.
Ghana is now South Africa’s second largest export market in West Africa, while South Africa’s investment in Ghana’s economy amounted to more than Five Billion Rands in 2012. We have to encourage a further improvement in this area.
We also need to further strengthen people to people engagements. South Africa will celebrate 20 years of democracy in 2014 and Ghana is one of the key countries with whom we wish to share our celebrations.
As our two countries share strong democratic values, we need to continue to cooperate in promoting democracy, good governance and human rights on our continent and the world at large.
Our two countries have also played a critical role in peaceful resolution of conflict in Africa. We need to rally other countries in the continent and outside of our continent around this crucial task.
As member states of the African Union we all pledged during the 50th Anniversary of this institution that we will all partner in silencing the guns on our continent.
This will enable us to achieve our ideal of an Africa that is at peace with itself and the world.
South Africa and Ghana also need to collaborate in the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as well as in the post-2015 development agenda.
We should continue to cooperate closely in continental and international forums, working together towards the shared objectives of developing our countries, regions and the continent so as to claim our rightful position in the world.
At multilateral level, we need to put our efforts together towards the reform of the United Nations, United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and the Bretton Wood Institutions.
These institutions need to reflect the realities of the 21st century.
Once more, please allow me, My Dear Brother, to thank you and your people for the warm reception afforded to me and my delegation.
We look forward to a successful visit.
I thank you.
Issued by The Presidency