South Africa and Ghana Forging Closer Economic Ties

Ghana South Africa
Gahana's President on his recent visit to S.A.

South Africa’s Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe on Wednesday led a South African delegation to Ghana for a visit that will elevate the level of cooperation in energy security and energy-related technology.

The Ministers of Energy Dipuo Peters and Public Enterprises Malusi Gigaba as well as International Relations Deputy Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim are also part of the delegation.

The visit is expected to play a vital role in solidifying relations with Ghana – whose petroleum industry is still in its infancy stages, with production having started in 2010.

Tshwane is looking at supplies from new oil markets to maintain its growing economy and energy demands.

Environmental issues, including the management of national parks, will also make it to the agenda that will also pave the way for the South Africa-Ghana Permanent Joint Commission for Cooperation to be held later this year.

According to the International Relations and Cooperation Department, Ghana represents a major export market for South African goods in West Africa after Nigeria.

“While total trade volumes are still relatively low in global terms, it is expected that these figures will grow,” said the department.

In recent years, trade between the two countries has grown significantly. South African exports have grown from less than R1 billion in 1998 to over R3 billion in 2009.

Equally, imports from Ghana have shown a constant increase during the same period. Products such as vehicles, machinery, mechanical appliances, electrical equipment, base metals, aircraft, vessels and associated products contribute to the increased exports to Ghana.

There are more than 80 South African companies registered in Ghana in various sectors such as mining, retail, insurance, transport, tourism, banking, telecommunication, construction, franchising, manufacturing, aviation and energy.

Meanwhile, South Africa will also roll out the red carpet for India’s President Pratibha Patil next month.The President will visit the country at the invitation of President Jacob Zuma.

Although the visit will focus on the strengthening of political and economic relations between South Africa and India, Cabinet spokesperson Jimmy Manyi said the visit to South Africa was a farewell tour as Patil will be leaving office in mid-June.

Manyi said much of the programme will be extended to pay homage on the Gandhi Heritage Sites, where Mahatma Gandhi set a footprint during the years he spent in South Africa. These are mostly located in Johannesburg and Durban.

Touching on other international issues, Manyi said Cabinet had expressed concern at the recent developments in Guinea-Bissau, particularly the military intervention which has led to the imprisonment of several Bissauan politicians and left the country in a state of uncertainty.

Manyi said Cabinet would support all ECOWAS, AU and UN mandated efforts to reverse the coup d’ tat.

“Cabinet’s position is that no government should come to power through the use of force or unconstitutional means.”

Closer to home, Cabinet is expected to release the Mid-Term Review Report and the 2011 Development Indicators soon.

“The focus of the release will be on the progress government has made in implementing the 12 outcomes and chart the way forward for the remainder of the term.”