Some 55 years ago, Ghana and the People?s Republic of China entered into diplomatic relations to chart a path of friendship and mutual cooperation.
The founding fathers of the two nations, Kwame Nkrumah, and Chairman Mao Zedong, cherished the vision that this bilateral and diplomatic relation would work for the mutual benefit of their two countries and their peoples.
Looking back to 1960, the two countries readily admit that they have made some significant gains that must be sustained.
While Ghana supported China in the heady days of the Cold War, especially in getting her reinstated in the United Nations Ghana, the Chinese government has also supported Ghana?s development in many ways.
?We do not only have friendly relations but those friendly relations have been to our mutual benefits and it is our hope that in the years to come the relationship will continue to grow,? Hanna Tetteh, Ghana?s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration told Xinhua.
?I am optimistic that, with the goodwill and intentions of both sides to be able to succeed, certainly this will be a relationship that should grow from strength to strength,? she stressed.
China?s footprints in Ghana are legion and visibly manifested in her social, institutional, economic and infrastructural development.
For example, Ghana?s Ministry of Defense building was constructed with a 50 million-US. dollar Chinese grant.
The new 16 million-dollar five-storey office complex for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration is another Chinese landmark in Ghana.
Ghana?s military, Fire Service and other state institutions continue to receive support from China.
Ghana?s National Theatre put up through the support of the Chinese government in 1992 has become the citadel of theater in the West African country.
Amy Appiah Frimpong, Acting Executive Director, National Theater, notes: ?The National Theater?s mandate is to promote and present the performing arts in Ghana. Our mission is linked to our mandate, which is to preserve and promote the performing arts through live stage and televised performances, projecting the national identity and an African personality.?
Within the Ledzokuku-Krowor Municipal Area (LEKMA) there is the110-bed China-Ghana Friendship Hospital that was completed in December 2010 by China Geo Engineering Company, with funding from the Chinese government.
?Before the inception of the hospital, patients had to travel very far distances to access health because there were no government facilities in this municipality.
?But since this hospital came up, I think it has brought a great relief to inhabitants because they now have good health care within their reach,? Medical Superintendent Dr. Juliana Amey stated.
Moreover, with the completion of a 273 million-U.S. dollar China Exim Bank funded Water Supply Expansion Project at Kpong, about 73 km north-East of the capital, by the China Gezhouba Group Company (CGGC) at Kpong, the water supply gap, especially in the capital, has been bridged.
Stanley Martey, Communications Manager for Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL), said: ?Now, with this project and others that have come on board, we?ve been able to bridge the gap to the extent that now we have exceeded the demand by over 2.0 million gallons of water.?
Vocational institutions, universities and polytechnics, among other state educational institutions, continue to receive massive doses of Chinese support in various fields.
Again, with the support of the Chinese government, a new 33 million- U.S. dollar, 16,000- seat stadium has been built for Cape Coast, the Central Regional capital, about 144 km west of the national capital to support sports development.
Ghana has a vision to transform its economy into a manufacturing and export-led one. But one challenge to the realization of this dream is the acute power shortage the country has been facing over the past few years.
China has offered immense assistance in this direction with the development of some critical economic infrastructure, particularly energy.
Notably among these is the China Development Bank (CDB)-funded Atuabo Gas Processing Plant built by SINOPEC of China at the cost of 800 million dollars.
The plant is expected to process 150 standard Cubic feet ( 150 mm scf) of gas a day to support thermal energy generation in Ghana.
There is also the Bui Hydro Dam built by the China Hydro with 790 million dollars from China Exim Bank and 60 million dollars from Government of Ghana to provide 400 MW of power to support energy generation during peak hours.
These power initiatives, including others by Chinese private sector investors, form part of measures to make Ghana a manufacturing nation and a net exporter of power to the sub-region.
Huawei Technologies of China is helping Ghana to build an ultra modern National Data Center in the capital in pursuit of Ghana?s desire to build a robust Information and Communications Technology (ICT ) infrastructure to spur growth.
?Currently the main contractor that we have working for us is Huawei Technology. They are providing the installation for the entire infrastructure and the support infrastructure,?Senah Ocloo-Sewor, a Data Center Engineer at the Data Center, explained.
Besides these initiatives by the Chinese government, there are private firms from China doing brisk business in Ghana, from manufacturing, energy production to road construction.
Shenzhen Energy of China built the 200 mw Sunon-Asogli thermal plant near Tema; China State Corporation (CSC) built the Sambao Pharmaceuticals Limited, the largest manufacturers of Intravenous Infusion in Ghana.
Sentuo Steel Limited, a Chinese Steel Company, which invested heavily in the former Wahome Steel company in Tema, 38 km east of the capital, employs over 600 people at this stage.
Phase two of the steel plant is being developed to a total capacity of 500.000 tones to manufacture coils and employ 700 people, according to Ningquan Xu, Managing Director.
Africa World Airline (AWA) is one of the growing domestic airlines in Ghana today, thanks to investments from China?s Hainan Airlines, China-Africa Development Fund, and two Ghanaian institutional investors.
These private companies don?t only provide jobs for Ghanaians but also help to save foreign exchange for the country through exports and local consumption.
?At the celebration of 55 years of mutual cooperation between Ghana and China, we would like to take this opportunity to appreciate Ghana?s provision of conducive environment for the development of Wynca Sunshine and creating a platform for Wynca Sunshine to serve Ghana and West Africa,? said Li Chandong, Chairman of Wynca Sunshine, manufacturers of agro-chemicals.
He added: ?My products, I think, they are number one in West Africa. In Ghana, we have 40 percent market share of especially the herbicides
?I want to tell Ghana and Ghanaians there are many Chinese companies in Ghana because we all like Ghana; so we come to Ghana to support Ghana?s agriculture, the people and the market, especially Kumasi.?
Ghana has not just been at the receiving end of favors from China, as Chinese firms also receive juicy contracts from the Ghanaian government in both China-funded projects and GOG-and multilateral financed projects.
The N1 Highway was constructed by China Railway Wuju Corporation while the Sofoline interchange is being built by China Geo Engineering Company.
Chinese ambassador to Ghana, Sun Baohong, said ?China is committed to connecting its development with that of Ghana?.
She writes: ?A review of China-Ghana relations shows that the achievements of our cooperation have not grown overnight. Neither is it a gift from someone else. It is jointly cultivated and nurtured by our two countries through the following approaches.
?China and Ghana always carry out all-round cooperation on the basis of mutual political trusts. China will firmly establish the awareness of the community of common destiny and integrated interests and continue to support Ghana?s economic construction within our capacity,? Sun said. Enditem