Russia - Ghana relations/

Ghana Marks Its 46th Anniversary

A message of greetings by the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Ghana H.E. Francis Yahaya Mahama

About 19 million Ghanaians who live in the country and abroad are celebrating the 46th Anniversary of Ghana's Independence. On March 6, 1957, Ghana gained independence from the British colonial rule. Initially, the country was called the "Gold Coast." This name given by early Portuguese explorers, who first set foot on the country's shores of in 1471, aptly describes Ghana's abundance in gold and other natural resources. From the end of the 15th century until the mid-19th century, the country's natural and human wealth attracted a large number of explorers from European kingdoms such as Denmark, Holland, Sweden and England. As a result, several forts and castles were built which served as trading posts. Eventually, the British colonized the Gold Coast from 1844 until 1957 when it attained independence and changed its name to Ghana. Vestiges of the extent of the European colonial presence in the country are evidenced by the fact that 29 of the 32 European colonial forts and castles along the West African coast are in Ghana.

Ghana is a unitary republic. The Constitution of Ghana approved in April 1992 makes provision for a multi-party political system. It follows presidential executive system and guarantees democratic freedom. Executive power is vested in the president who is the head of state and commander-in-chief of the armed forces. The president and vice president are elected by universal adult suffrage. The duration of the tenure of office of the president is limited to two four-year terms. Legislative power is vested in a 200-member unicameral Parliament elected by direct adult suffrage every four years.

The current President, H.E. Mr. John Agyekum Kufuor was sworn in for a four-year term on January 7, 2001 after leading his New Patriotic Party (NPP) to power in a general election.

Relations Between Ghana and Russia

The cordial relations between Ghana and Russia date back to the 1950s. On December 25, 1991, the then Ambassador of Ghana became accredited to the Russian Federation.

Russia has been assisting Ghana in its human resource development. It offers scholarships to Ghanaians each year to undertake courses in such areas as medicine, engineering, computer science, and IT. In addition, there are a number of private Ghanaian students who are pursuing their studies at various universities throughout the Russian Federation.

Since 1991, many Russians have shown interest in visiting Ghana for business and for pleasure. The number of Russians coming to Ghana has been increasing annually and this trend is likely to continue in the years ahead.

Ghana and Russia have been cooperating at the international fora as well as on global issues. The two countries enjoy each other's support on matters regarding international peace and security and have condemned terrorism in all its forms.

Investment Opportunities

Ghana is rich in agricultural resources, timber, gold, and other valuable minerals. The main exports are gold, cocoa, diamonds, timber, manganese, and bauxite. These are now being supplemented by processed and semi-processed industrial and agricultural products, with tourism as the third largest foreign currency earner after cocoa and gold.

The economy has traditionally been dependent on the export of primary products. About 60 percent of the labor force is employed in the agricultural sector, which contributes about 46 percent to the GDP. Agriculture is characterized by small-scale operations, principally staple food crops and cocoa productions. The services sector, which is the second largest employer, and the industrial sector account for over 40 and 14 percent of the GDP respectively.

Ghana is an ideal location to do business. It has a stable political environment and is dedicated to the principles of free enterprise. Ghana has long been seen as one of the most promising countries in Africa. It has abundant, adaptable, easily trainable, and cost-effective labor force, excellent sea and air connections with Europe and the U.S. It is located strategically within the West African sub-region which provides access to a total market of about 250 million people.

Ghana has always been a special African country with a wide range of attractions and facilities. It abounds in an unbelievable array of excitingly striking attractions, succinctly distinctive and peculiar to each of the ten regions of the country. There are miles of sun-drenched and unspoilt beaches and national parks which boast of unique flora and fauna.

The President himself, a successful businessman before assuming the presidency, has declared a "Golden Age of Business." Thus investors are actively encouraged and assisted to go into the following areas:

* resource-based activities in agro-business, agro-processingľ-fish, fruit, vegetable, wood products; mineral processingľ-gold, diamond and salt export manufacturing;

* tourismľ-investment in hotels, development of some of the attractions and sites of interest;

* real estate development;

* general infrastructureľ-agriculture and industrial estates, toll roads and highways, railways and ports, sea and air services;

* development and operation of export processing zones.

I would like to conclude by stressing that the key to the success of our development efforts lies in bilateral cooperation. It is pertinent for both countries to work together for our mutual benefits. On this auspicious Day of Independence anniversary, I extend felicitations and greetings to all my fellow Ghanaians living in Russia and other CIS countries.

For further information please contact
the Embassy of the Republic of Ghana,
14 Skatertny Pereulok, Moscow, Russia

Website: www.ghanaemb-mos.ru

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