Madam Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration-designate, has requested Spain to support Ghana’s candidature for a non-permanent seat on the United Nations (UN) Security Council for the period 2022 to 2023.
She also urged Spain to support Ghana’s candidature for membership of the UN 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.
She further requested Spain to support Ghana to meet its commitment under the Paris Agreement on Climate Change
Madam Ayorkor Botchwey made the appeal on Friday, when Madam Cristina Gallach Figureas, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation of Spain, paid a courtesy call on her in Accra.
The Foreign Minister-designate also reaffirmed Ghana’s commitment to enhancing the existing warm relations between Ghana and Spain for mutual benefit.
The Spanish Deputy Foreign Minister, who was on a two-day visit to Ghana, led a delegation of 11 officials to hold bilateral discussions with officials in Ghanaian institutions.
Madam Ayorkor Botchwey said the relations between the two countries, dating back to the 1960s had been characterized by the regular exchange of high-level visits and indicate that visits have enhanced cooperation between the two countries.
She referred to the working visit undertaken by Mr Charles Owiredu, a former Deputy Foreign Minister to Spain from 16th to 19th June, 2019 during which he held discussions on a wide variety of issues including; Defence, Finance and Social Affairs with Spanish officials including; the then Spanish Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Mr Fernando Martin Valenzuela Marzo.
She recalled the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in Accra in December, 2005 covering issues of mutual interest including; political consultation and suggested a renewal of the pledge to maintain regular contacts possibly on a bi-annual basis.
She said pending Agreements would be ratified in the coming months; namely, agreements on the fight against crime, labour, and migration as well as an MoU on exchange of prisoners.
She said although the Spanish side ratified the Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) in October 2006 and awaiting Ghana’s reciprocal ratification, a renegotiation of the BIT would be in the interest of both parties since there was a change in Ghana’s investment regulatory environment, the adoption of the Pan-African Investment Code and an evolution in international best practices;
With regards to trade investment, Madam Ayorkor Botchwey noted Spain’s foreign policy on Africa as embodied in the third Spanish African plan and welcomed the willingness to engage the continent in the area of trade and investment.
She said the start of trading under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) with a market size of 1.2 billion, would provide a big opportunity for Spanish businesses.
She underscored the need for the two countries to explore new areas of cooperation particularly in the areas of gender equality, education, mining, pharmaceuticals, vehicle parts manufacturing, ceramics, entrepreneurship and football training especially since both Ghana and Spain were football loving countries with Spain possessing enormous expertise.
In line with the Ghana COVID-19 Alleviation and Revitalisation of Enterprises Support (CARES) Programme, she solicited support for the intended expansion of health infrastructure in Ghana and also the modernization of agriculture in the country by complementing Government in the Planting for Food and Jobs and the Rearing for Food and Jobs (PFJ/RFJ) initiatives which aims at mitigating the impact of the pandemic on the lives and livelihoods of Ghanaians.
She invited Spain to consider the development of Strategic Anchor Industries in Ghana such as the petro-chemical industry, pharmaceuticals, manufacturing of machinery and machine components, industrial chemicals, the integrated aluminium industry, iron and steel.
She expressed regret that even though the Spanish authorities came up with the proposal of 7,000,000 Euros pledged under the EU/Archipelago fund for entrepreneurial training in Africa, it was not approved by the European Union.
Concerning COVID-19 and its impact, she acknowledged the European Union’s contribution of €86.5 million in emergency budget support to help Ghana in tackling the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
She commended the Spanish Government for the donations made to Ridge Hospital and the Ghana Police service to help manage the negative effects of COVID-19.
She expressed the hope that Spain and the rest of the world would collaborate to win the battle against the pandemic and urged Spain to advocate for access to vaccines for developing countries.
On her part, Madam Figureas said Ghana could always count on Spain as a solid and experienced partner in the EU.