The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey on Tuesday, hailed the of level cooperation between Ghana and Jamaica, particularly in the areas of trade, health and education.
The Minister said this when she received Letters of Credence from Mr Esmond St Clair Reid, the Jamaican High Commissioner-Designate to Ghana in Accra.
Madam Ayorkor Botchwey congratulated Mr Reid on his new appointment as High Commissioner-designate of Jamaica to Ghana.
She recalled the longstanding friendly relations that existed between Ghana and Jamaica, based on shared values and mutual respect and acknowledge that the relations between the two countries had grown from strength to strength.
She acknowledged with appreciation, the untiring efforts of his predecessor in enhancing the relations between Ghana and Jamaica.
The Minister expressed the hope that the High Commissioner-designate would build on the remarkable achievements of his predecessor and further enhance the bonds of friendship and cooperation that existed between Ghana and Jamaica.
She congratulated the Government of Jamaica on its resounding electoral victory in the country’s General Election held on 3rd September 2020, and the Prime Minister’s subsequent inauguration for a second five-year term and emphasized that the retention of the Prime Minister in Office was testimony to the confidence that the people of Jamaica reposed in him.
Madam Ayorkor Botchwey commended the Government of Jamaica for the warm reception accorded President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo during the Presidential visit to Jamaica in June 2019.
She noted that the Year of Return held in 2019, reinforced the deep-rooted ancestral and historical connections between Ghana and Jamaica as Jamaicans formed one of the majority group of diasporans, who made the life-changing decision to visit their roots.
The Minister said Ghana was rolling out the “Beyond the Year of Return” initiative, which was a sequel to the “Year of Return” and expressed the hope that Jamaica would support the initiative by encouraging Jamaicans to visit Ghana and thereby, boosting tourism between the two countries.
Madam Ayorkor Botchwey acknowledged the positive strides being made by Jamaican companies operating in Ghana namely, LASCO company, a producer of dairy products; GraceKenendy Ghana Limited, producer of non-alcoholic beverages among other products and the Jamaican National Bank.
She referred to the establishment of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and explained the great potential it presented for increased intra-Africa trade and attracting Foreign Direct Investment from the Caribbean and encouraged Jamaica to take advantage of AfCFTA for enhanced economic engagement with Ghana
She said the debt burden of middle-income countries, including Ghana and Jamaica, had been worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic, thus, making it imperative for both bilateral and multilateral creditors to consider a moratorium on debt servicing and payments to assist the affected countries to rebuild their economies.
In that regard, the Minister urged Jamaica to partner with Ghana to advocate for debt forgiveness.
Mr Reid on his part acknowledged the friendly relationship Ghana and Jamaica had enjoyed over the years, saying, “we in Jamaica, we consider Africa as the fatherland….”
He said Ghana was like an extension of Jamaica in many ways and that they were very happy that the “Year of Return” was successful, which Jamaicans patronised.