Ghana is prepared to join forces with India and all other stake-holders to fight terrorism and its associated violence around the globe, Foreign Minister-designate Shirley Ayorkor Botchway has said….writes Francis Kokutse
Opening a two-day conference by Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA) on ‘Indian-West Africa Partnership for Enhancing Security, Development and Growth,’ she commended India for the successful partnership it had created with West African countries and pledged the county’s support to cooperate with India “and all other stake-holders in combating terrorism and other kinds of violence, not only in West Africa, but the world at large’.
Botchway said India continues to invest in West Africa despite the insecurity problems facing the region.
She also said time has come for more cooperation to create the stability required for the right atmosphere to support more investment to bring about development.
She drew a link between security and development and said, “there can be no development without security”, adding that, lack of security inhibits investor confidence and consequently derails economic growth and development.
Botchway said though many African countries were experiencing growth, there was still a long way to go in translating these achievements into sustainable development and creating employment opportunities because majority of the region’s teeming youth have become “vulnerable targets of extremist groups”.
“The rising threats of global terrorism and the presence of groups like Boko Haram and the Arab Maghreb in some parts of the sub-region means that, more than ever, we need to address security challenges, abject poverty and the lack of development, protection in the course of these efforts, basic civil and human rights,” she said.
She commended India for the growth in trade with West Africa and described the financial support for projects across the region especially Ghana, clearly presents India as “a strategic partner,” adding that, the consistent and impressive cooperation with the trade sector needs to be extended to other areas of cooperation, such as human resource development, agricultural cooperation, energy generation and the fight against terrorism.
Indian High Commissioner, Birender Singh Yardav said the choice of Ghana for the conference was because of the country has lived to its image as a “beacon of strong and robust democracy not only in West Africa but the entire African continent”.
Yardav said India’s relationship with West Africa has resulted in a partnership that has developed a trading relationship that led to the growth in trade with the region accounting for approximately, 40 per cent of India’s trade with the entire African continent worth $72 billion.
He was hopeful that the conference would examine the “challenges confronting the implementation of agreed frameworks and find out ways to resolve the obstacles impending the faster implementation of agreed upon agenda of the two sides”.
The deputy director ICWA, Ajaneesh Kumar said India had provided several opportunities to African countries and mentioned the importation of pulses from Mozambique, Tanzania and Malawi as some of the agricultural gains that farmers in West Africa could replicate.