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AfCFTA-Focused Afro-Italian Relations Deepened With Pres Mattarella’s Visit To Ghana

The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and his Italian counterpart, His Excellency Sr.  Sergio Mattarella has taken the longstanding Italy-Ghana relations a notch further following the post-easter state visit of President Mattarella to Ghana on Friday 5th April, 2024.

The purpose of this visit by the Italian President to Ghana is to re-affirm the ties of cooperation and the bonds of friendship that the two countries attach to their relations with each other and explore trade ties with the continent under the ambit of the African Continental Free Trade Area.  

Pushing towards strengthening intra-Africa trade, President Akufo-Addo called on Italy to lend its support to the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), whose Secretariat is located in Accra.

He explained that, “the AfCFTA intends to link fifty-four (54) markets, covering 1.3 billion people, with a combined GDP of three-point-five trillion United States dollars ($3.5 trillion). By 2050, it will cover an estimated 2.5 billion people, and have over a quarter of the world’s working age population. The investment and business opportunities offered to the Italian and European private sectors, by the infrastructure required to link these markets more effectively, are enormous.”

Aside trade, discussions between the two leaders and their Ministerial teams centered on the expansion of relations in the sectors of pharmaceuticals, manufacturing, ICT, financial services, water management and environmental protection in furtherance of our longstanding collaboration with Italy to find solutions to contemporary challenges such as the eradication of widespread poverty, elimination of irregular migration, insecurity and human rights violations, terrorism and violent extremism, human and drug trafficking, piracy, as well as climate change and its attendant, negative impact on the environment and livelihoods.

Speaking to the press after bilateral engagements, President Akufo-Addo said, “the relations, between Ghana and Italy, have spanned several decades dating from colonial times, where small communities of Italians, came to settle in the then Gold Coast.

According to him, subsequent exchange of high-level visits between high-ranking officials of State from both sides, have ensured and re reinforced the continued commitment to engage with each other further to this end.

The second of such visit to the country by an Italian President, President Akufo-Addo described the visit by President Matarella, “as a landmark one, as it is the second time in the history of the 4th Republic that a President from Italy, in the person of then President Giorgio Napolitano, is paying a State Visit to Ghana. Indeed, the first time was in 2007 under the Kufuor-led New Patriotic Party Government.”

“With this second visit by another Italian President, it is safe to conclude that Italian Presidents love visiting Ghana when the NPP is in office,” he quipped.

Continuing, he disclosed that, “President Matarella and I first had the opportunity of meeting in Rome in July 2023, when I paid an official visit to Italy, in which I had the privilege of meeting not only Italy’s dynamic Prime Minister, Signora Giorgia Meloni, but also His Holiness Pope Francis.”

Recalling with fondness the last high-profile visit to Ghana by then Prime Minister, Sr. Giuseppe Conte in November 2019, he said, the visit led to the inauguration of the Okuafo Pa Project, which is being undertaken by ENI SpA together with Government at Dormaa in the Bono Region.

He added that the visit also led to the signing of the important Defence Co-operation Agreement between Ghana and Italy.

Touching on the shared aspirations and values underpinning the friendship and democratic credentials of the two countries, he said “we have both turned our backs on our authoritarian pasts, and have embraced democratic governance with its respect for human rights and the rule of law. We are member states of the United Nations.

“We have collaborated effectively on several matters over the years, and a major outcome of this afternoon’s meeting was the reaffirmation of our commitment to work together, and provide mutual support at both bilateral and multilateral levels.”

The two leaders announced their commitment to tackling emerging security threats within the region, particularly those of terrorism, border security and maritime piracy, with President Akufo-Addo expressing Ghana’s appreciation for Italy’s assistance in the fight against piracy, and their decision to promote democracy in West Africa, and mutually reject unconstitutional changes of government.

He solicited the support of Italy and the European Union, to correct the injustice with regards to the composition of the UN Security Council and prioritise the reform process as set out in Africa’s Common Position on UN Reform, based on the Ezulwini Consensus, as well as, continue to work together with Italy on climate action by taking steps needed to achieve the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, thereby pushing for an end to the ravages of the phenomenon.

President Akufo-Addo sought Italian investment towards Ghana’s burgeoning automobile industry, “One-District, One-Factory” policy, “Planting for Food and Jobs” programme, and the One-Village-One-Dam projects.

About Ghana

Ghana, is a west African country, bound on the north by Burkina Faso, on the east by Togo, on the south by the Atlantic Ocean,and on the west by Côte d'Ivoire.

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