Madam Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration-designate, has appealed to Serbian investors to come and invest in Ghana.
The Foreign Minister-designate, made the appeal on Tuesday, when Mr Djura Likar, Ambassador of Serbia to Ghana, paid a courtesy call on her in Accra.
She noted that though bilateral trade between the two countries was modest, it was her expectation that it would improve with the coming into force of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), which would create a huge market of 1.2 billion people, an opportunity for Serbian investors to explore new opportunities on the African continent, with Ghana as the entry point.
She urged Serbian investors to take advantage of the development, identify their areas of interest and use the conducive business environment in Ghana as a springboard to access the continental market.
She mentioned the need for countries such as Serbia to act as advocates for developing countries such as Ghana to have access to affordable vaccines in the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic that had badly hit the global economy and stated that it behoves on countries to utilise traditional friendships to jointly battle the pandemic.
Madam Ayorkor Botchwey further commended the Government of Serbia for their continued collaboration with Ghana and extending vital support for Africa on the very important matter of the reform of the UN Security Council.
She recalled that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo was instrumental in the processes leading to the Ezulwini Consensus and Expressed the hope that Ghana would continue to count on the support of Serbia for consensus and work closely together to move the negotiations forward, but in the right direction.
She stated that Ghana was looking forward to working closely with Serbia on the issue of the Revitalization of the Work of the General assembly during negotiations at the upcoming 75th session.
Madam Ayorkor Botchwey acknowledged the excellent tradition of cooperation and support for each other’s candidates for positions at various multilateral institutions and express the hope that both countries would continue to cooperate and support each other in that regard.
She said in the spirit of the aforementioned tradition, requested support for Ghana’s bid for a non-permanent seat at the UN Security Council for the period 2022 to 2023 and the Ghanaian candidature for membership of the United Nations Board on Narcotic Drugs for the period 2022 to 2025 as well as for membership of the International Narcotics Control Board for the period 2022 to 2027.
The Foreign Minister-designate reaffirmed Ghana’s commitment to enhancing the warm relations between Ghana and Serbia for mutual benefit.
She noted that the friendship and cooperation between Ghana and Serbia, particularly in recent times, have been marked by the exchange of notable high-level visits such as the visit to Belgrade by the former Speaker of Parliament, Professor Aaron Mike Oquaye in 2018 and the visit to Belgrade in 2019 by herself as Minister for Foreign Affairs, testify to the growing exchanges between the two countries.
She expressed the hope that high-level visits would increase in the coming years to facilitate closer cooperation and give further impetus for the common efforts to deepen and broaden relations and cooperation in diverse spheres for the mutual benefit of the Ghanaian and Serbian peoples.
Madam Ayorkor Botchwey expressed appreciation to the Government of Serbia for their continued support to the human resource development of Ghana through the offer of Serbian Government scholarships to Ghanaian students to pursue various degree and post-graduate programmes in Serbian Universities.
She applauded the Serbian Government for the 12 scholarship slots offered to Ghanaian students for the 2021 academic year, for deciding to extend the deadline for submission of applications for Ghana and stated that the Scholarship Secretariat of Ghana is working assiduously to submit names of the selected beneficiary students for submission to the Serbian Authorities.
She commended Mr Likar for taking time to come to Accra to commiserate with the family of the late Mr Steve Mawuenyega, who until his death on January 12th, was the Honorary Consul of Serbia to Ghana.
She stated that the late Mr Mawuenyega, during his tenure, worked assiduously to strengthen the relations between the two countries, which have been longstanding, warm, and cordial since the establishment of diplomatic relations in the 1950s.
Mr Likar suggested the creation of a Parliamentary friendly group between the two nations as part of strengthening their relationship.
He noted that his Government would continue the scholarship scheme to enable more Ghanaian students to study in Serbia.