While France pledged to increase its support for Ghana’s growth agenda, Ghana pledged to fully partner France in pursuing development initiatives, as well as the consolidation of democracy in Africa.
President John Evans Atta Mills and the French Prime Minister, Francois Fillon, made the pledge after holding bilateral talks at the Castle and stressed the need for strategic partnership between their two countries.
The French Premier, who was in Accra over the weekend for a two-day official visit, among other things, assured Ghana of France’s support and cooperation, following reforms in France’s foreign policy which had seen Ghana become a priority in its relations with non-francophone countries.
To demonstrate its commitment to Ghana, four financing agreement were signed after the bilateral talks, in which France will be providing millions of Euros in loans and grants support a number of projects in Ghana.
The agreements were for a loan of 40 million Euros, and a grant agreement of 500,000 Euros for the financing of the Ghana Urban Management Pilot Programme (GUMPP), signed by Ghana’s Finance Minister, Dr Kwabena Duffour, and Henri de Raincourt, French Minister of Cooperation and Dov Zerah, Chief Executive Officer of the French Development Agency.
The support for the GUMPP is to ensure success in the implementation of the programme aimed at addressing the challenges of increasing urbanization in Ghana.
Mr Zerah, who is chairman of the Board of Proparco, the private-sector arm of the French Development Agency, also signed two financing agreements for the funding of two local banks – CAL and Fidelity Bank.
The first one was signed by Frank Abu Jnr, Managing Director of CAL Bank, for a loan of 10 million dollars while the second was signed by Edward Effah, Chief Executive Officer of Fidelity Bank, for a loan of eight million dollars, to support the two banks’ credit financing to small and medium scale enterprises.
The agreements come days after the French Development Agency announced a 50 million Euros loan for the government for the expansion of the kpong hydroelectric dam.
In his remarks, Mr Fillon noted that the project for which the facilities had been provided were a true reflection of French cooperation’s dynamism which provides adequate responses to development challenges in developing countries.
France, he said, had a lot of admiration for Ghana based on her laudable democratic credentials as well as her contribution to peace and good government in Africa.
He commended Ghana for the assistance it continues to offer Cote d’Ivoire in the former French colony’s efforts to get back onto the path of democracy, saying the French government highly respects Ghana for its achievements in the area of democracy.
Mr Fillon, who becomes the first French Prime Minster to visit Ghana, said observing political happenings around the globe, especially the recent uprising in the Arab world, “the future belongs to those who respect democracy and the rule of law”
President Mills, thanked the Prime Minister for the visit, which underscored the importance of the ties between the two nations, and said “there is a lot we can achieve when we work together”
Touching on the compliment by Mr. Fillon about Ghana’s democracy, President Mills noted that Ghanaians chose the path of democratic rule because of the enormous benefits, although it comes with challenges.
“Democracy is the only choice to help us to develop,” he said.
He expressed appreciation to the French government for the financial aid and improved bilateral co-operation, and gave the assurance that the resources would be utilized purposefully for the benefits of all Ghanaians.
On the investment front, President Mills encouraged French businesses to consider investing in Ghana which he said abounds with investment opportunities.
Source: Ghanaian Times