President Nana Akufo-Addo will leave the country on Sunday for a nine-day official working visit to France, Belgium, and South Africa.

These working visits are part of the President’s efforts to re-engage with the rest of the world after the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic and highlight Ghana, once again, as a country with an impressive business-friendly atmosphere as well as bright economic prospects for the future. 

To this end, President Akufo-Addo will attend a Summit on Financing African Economies on May 18, in Paris, France. The Summit is being convened by the French President, Emmanuel Macron. 

The Summit, which will bring together several African and European leaders and heads of international financial institutions, will devise strategies that will boost strong, inclusive recovery in Africa, grounded in a dynamic private sector. Strategies will also be evolved to help foster sustainable progress and prosperity as well as accelerate the green and digital transition in line with the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. 

In the wake of the devastating effects COVID-19 has had on the economies of all countries in the world, Africa, in particular, has been the hardest hit – having been in a recession last year and its estimated economic recovery growth rate of 3.7% for 2021 well below the global economic recovery rate of 5.5%. 

This, according to many economic and financial experts, could worsen the problems of poverty and inequality for many Africans, a situation which leaders on the continent are keen to avoid.

It is expected that a financial package will be devised to enable African countries to overcome the economic impact of the Covid-19 crisis.

Participants are expected to agree on critical pro-growth reforms needed to enhance the private sector in Africa and tap its growth potential with the help of local and international financial support, including through risk-sharing instruments dedicated to African entrepreneurs and SMEs, as well as appropriate technical assistance. 

Hopefully, the Summit will further agree on key common rules and enforcement mechanisms that will contribute to securing strong, sustainable growth in Africa.  

Whilst in Paris, the President is scheduled to have bilateral discussions with the President of the World Bank, David R. Malpass and the Managing Director of the IMF Ms Kristalina Georgieva, who will both be attending the Summit.

President Akufo-Addo will, from May 19, at the invitation of the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, be in Brussels, Belgium, to hold bilateral talks with the President and officials of the European Council, and meet with stakeholders committed to the partnership between Ghana and the European Union. 

The talks between President Akufo-Addo and President Charles Michel are expected to centre on regional security and sustainability issues in the cocoa and fisheries sectors of Ghana and their impact on relations between Ghana and the European Union. 

The President will, in turn, meet with the President of the European Investment Bank (EIB), Dr Werner Hoyer, and participate in the ceremony for the signing of a €160 million facility between EIB and the Ministry of Finance, towards the establishment of the National Development Bank. 

He will attend an investor conference in Brussels on Ghana and hold a meeting with Jutta Urpilainen, the EU Commissioner on International Co-operation, to discuss the COVAX Facility, which is currently supplying COVID-19 vaccines to the country.    

On the last leg of his tour, President Akufo-Addo will, at the invitation of the Speaker, address the Fourth Ordinary Session of the Fifth Parliament of the Pan-African Parliament (PAP), scheduled to take place on May 24, in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Deliberations of this Session will be guided by the African Union (AU) theme for 2021: “Year of the Arts, Culture and Heritage: Levers for Building the Africa We Want.’’

President Akufo-Addo will be accompanied by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Minister for Finance, and officials of the Presidency and the Foreign and Finance Ministries.

He will be joined in Brussels by the Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, the Minister for Food and Agriculture, and the Chief Executive Officer of COCOBOD.  

The President is expected to return to Ghana on May 25.