Ghana’s President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo recently paid a 3-day visit to Germany to attend the G20 Africa Partnership Conference. He also met the Ghanaian community in the country during the visit. Our correspondent Nelly Sarpong reports on the meeting in Berlin.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of Ghana paid an official visit to Germany on 11-13 June mainly to participate at the G20 Africa Partnership Conference in Berlin. As part of his official schedule he also met the Ghanaian community in Germany on 11 June at the Maritim Hotel in Berlin to discuss pertinent issues of governance in Ghana. He also allowed the Ghanaian Community to air its views about, and expectations of, his government.
The president was accompanied to the meeting by top government officials, including Foreign Minister Shirley Ayorko Botchway, Finance Minister Kofi Ofori Atta and the newly-appointed Ghana’s ambassador to Germany, Mrs Gina Blay.
The various Ghanaian socio-cultural and religious groups in Germany were represented at the event, which was massively attended by Ghanaians from all walks of life.
It was the president’s first visit to Germany since he was sworn in on 7 January. The excitement of the community was therefore understandably palpable as many would like to know how Nana Akufo-Addo intends to fulfil his many campaign promises.
His Excellency Akufo-Addo acknowledged the mass attendance of the event and expressed his excitement about the bond Ghanaians in Germany had forged with his government. The president thanked Ghanaians in the Diaspora for their support for his election and promised not to disappoint them.
Nana Akufo-Addo assured that the country’s economy had improved over the past few months and would improve even more as the years go by. He stated that this improvement was as a result of the measures that had been put in place by the finance ministry. He revealed that the new budget had helped cut down on government expenditure which has now made it possible to implement the free Senior High School education (“free SHS”), which was one of his major campaign promises. The president announced at the event that Senior High School education would be free as from September this year.
Nana Akufo-Addo also addressed illegal mining or as it is commonly called ‘Galamsey’, a major problem in the country. He assured Ghanaians living in the Diaspora that measures had been put in place to put a stop to the plague, which is not only causing economic losses but damaging the environment as well. The time when Ghanaians did nothing about their environment was over, the president assured, promising that all those involved in illegal mining would be made to face the full weight of the law.
He urged Ghanaians abroad to be the best at what they do and to contribute their quota in ensuring that Ghana is put on the global map and maintains its status as the gateway to West Africa.
Ghanaians in Germany assured President Akufo-Addo of their commitment to the development of the economy and promised to support him in his efforts to industrialise the country by establishing as many factories as possible in Ghana. In addition, the community pleaded with the president to review the law on dual citizenship in Ghana, pointing out that that various African nationals could possess the citizenship of their countries of origin as well as another country’s without renouncing their countries’. The community said renunciation of Ghanaian citizenship upon the acquisition of the German nationality was taking a toll on them as well as the country.
Furthermore, the community complained about service fees, including visa application fees, charged by their Embassy in Berlin which were higher than those charged by Ghanaian missions in other European countries. They urged the president and the new ambassador to see to it that consular fees were reduced to ensure that Ghanaians are able to travel with ease to Ghana since this would not only help Ghanaians come home to see their families but it would also help them to effectively participate in the country’s economic development.
The president was also implored to see to the implementation of the right of Ghanaians abroad to vote as provided for in the Representation of the People’s Amendment Law (ROPAL). Nana Akufo-Addo assured of his support for the law but pointed out that only the Electoral Commission, which is an independent body, could implement the legislation. He therefore urged Ghanaians in the Diaspora to lobby more actively for the full implementation of ROPAL.
The Ghanaian community’s meeting with President Akufo-Addo was a success since the goal of the meeting was reached. The president’s briefing as well as the community’s views increased the zeal of all Ghanaians living in the Diaspora to do more to ensure that Africa’s Black star, Ghana, keeps shining.