Foreign Ministry Recovers documents (Spread)

THE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration has recovered a significant portion of the documents lost in the fire that gutted its offices in Accra in October, last year.

The ministry got the documents through secondary sources and from its partners and is currently pursuing other avenues to update its information profile.

The sector minister, Mr Mohammed Mumuni, made this known when the South African Minister of International Relations and Co-operation, Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, paid a courtesy call on him at the ministry on Wednesday.

South Africa and Ghana established formal diplomatic relations in 1994. Before then, Ghana was among the many African countries that denounced the apartheid regime by advocating its abolition.

While the two countries share the same colonial legacy, Ghana is now South Africa's second-largest trading partner in Africa after Nigeria, with South African investment in Ghana diversified but dominated by mining, the largest and most lucrative.

Other sectors with significant South African investment are multimedia communication, tourism, banking, telecommunication, construction, services, franchising, manufacturing, advertising, aviation and energy.

According to the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA), South African exports to Ghana increased from R21.7 billion in 1992 to R1 162 billion in 2003, while import rose from R4 billion to R52.5 billion over the same period.

Mr Mumuni said the blaze was a major setback as a number of documents of national importance and equipment were destroyed, adding that adequate steps had been put in place to offset the damage.
On the international front, he said Ghana would continue to lead the crusade for an integrated African continent, saying integration would ensure that Africa was better positioned to battle globalisation, which was skewed against developing countries.

He said a united Africa agenda could only be achieved if the various building blocks were strengthened, coupled with the creation of sustainable jobs for the people.

He expressed the hope that the trade imbalance between the two countries would be worked on so that Ghanaian goods and services would also flood the South African market and bring mutual benefit to the people of the two countries.

He commended the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the South African Ministry of Art and Culture and its Ghanaian counterpart, the Ministry of Chieftaincy and Culture, stating that “it is a worthy enterprise to build the structures that would bring us together, build our economy and show the way to guide others”.

Mr Mumuni urged South Africa to showcase Africa’s potential to the highest point while hosting the 2010 World Cup, saying, “your achievement so far is a matter of pride for the entire continent”.

Ms Mashabane, who was accompanied by the South African High Commissioner to Ghana, Ms Zodwa Lallie, lauded Ghana’s role in the Economic Community West African States (ECOWAS) sub-region, indicating that building strong regional bodies with strong democratic credentials was important to achieving the United States of Africa goal being championed by the Africa Union (AU).

She said the foundation of a united Africa could only be built on stronger regional bodies like the ECOWAS and Southern African Development Community (SADC).
She called for a strong transnational infrastructure, which would ultimately promote integration for the continent.

She said it was time to build bridges and highways to develop a transport sector that would link the entire continent while pushing for a strong telecommunication sector.
“Africans do not need to fly to Europe to reach another African country by air,” she stressed.

Ms Mashabane paid tribute to Nkrumah for his foresight, which, she indicated, was instrumental for the development and unity of the African continent.

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