President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has expressed the appreciation of the Ghanaian people to Norway for the considerable support to Ghana through various interventions.
He said Norway’s “Oil for Development Programme”, which has been running successfully for more than a decade, has enhanced Ghana's capacity to manage her petroleum resources.
The President made this known when the visiting Norwegian Prime Minister, Erna Solberg, paid a courtesy call on him at the Jubilee House, as part of her two-day official visit to Ghana.
He was delighted with Norway’s new partner country initiative, which is aimed at ensuring that partner countries become independent of aid in the long term, saying, "This `fits in perfectly with Government’s vision of a ‘Ghana Beyond Aid’".
President Akufo-Addo said Ghana and Norway had enjoyed fruitful relations over many years, and the visit by Prime Minister Solberg, the first by a leader of that country, was aimed at reinforcing the strong ties of friendship and co-operation that already exist between both nations.
He noted that Ghana and Norway shared similar positions on many issues, especially the mutual attachment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, to the Paris Climate Accord, to the strengthening of the multilateral system of international co-operation, and to the need to employ peaceful means to resolve disputes.
The President reassured the Norwegian leader of Ghana's commitment to the find lasting solutions to the great issues of the day.
“I wish to reassure you that the Republic of Ghana will continue to collaborate with the Kingdom of Norway, at the bilateral and multilateral levels, in finding solutions to challenges such as the eradication of widespread poverty, elimination of irregular migration, insecurity and human rights violations, terrorism and violent extremism, human and drug trafficking, piracy, as well as climate change and its attendant impact on the environment and livelihoods,” he added
President Akufo-Addo further expressed satisfaction about the “Fish for Development” initiative signed by the two countries, and looked forward to its implementation because "it will have a positive impact on the management of our marine resources for the creation of wealth and jobs, particularly in fishing communities, in line with the realisation of SDG Number. 14."
“We are also grateful for the assistance offered to the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre, and the Ghana Nautical College, amongst others,” he added.
Encouraged that more Norwegian companies were looking to invest in Ghana, the President said his government would ensure that the climate for doing business in Ghana remained very conducive for investors
He said the presence of Norwegian Oil and gas giant, Aker Energy, in Ghana was a show of the confidence the international business and investment community had in the Ghanaian economy, adding that he was pleased with the commitment of Aker "to work with us to engineer and inspire the industrial development of our country, and help us achieve the structural transformation of our economy.”
“I wish to assure the more than fifty Norwegian companies operating in our country that my government will continue to try and maintain a conducive investment atmosphere that would not only guarantee the safety of their investments but also good returns on investments as well,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo spoke about the need to quicken the process of reforms at the United Nations, especially that of the UN Security Council, which appeared to have stalled.
“We are fully committed to Africa’s Common Position on UN Reform, based on the Ezulwini Consensus, and are anxious that the matter of UN Reform finds its way back quickly onto the global agenda.
“We solicit the support of Norway and the other countries of Europe for this long, overdue reform. It is well past the time to correct the longstanding injustice that the current structure and composition of the UN Security Council represent for the nations of Africa.”
Prime Minister Solberg on her part said Ghana had shown an impressive development record over the years and praised the vision of the Ghanaian government to move the country beyond aid.
She said that the "Ghana Beyond Aid policy that would see the country especially depending on its own resources to meet its national developmental aspirations “is a development philosophy that I really cherish," insisting it was imperative that Ghana looks at its growth potential and works toward it.
Prime Minister Solberg offered her country’s assistance to help Ghana develop her natural resources including the fisheries and oil and Gas sector.
She said there were lots of lessons to be learnt from Norway in the oil and gas sector especially in making sure that the benefits from the sector got to the people.
Herself, a co-chair with President Akufo-Addo on the UN's Eminent Group of Advocates for the SDGs, the Norwegian leader said her country would collaborate with Ghana to ensure sustainability in the Fisheries sector.
She said overfishing, plastic pollution, climate change were major problems that both nations would be looking at to ensure that the fishermen continued to earn their living.
“We often say that natural resources can be a curse for countries because it has the possibility of making differences and inequalities in society. But we can work together in all aspects including the legislative area to benefit the larger society.
She praised Ghana for incorporating the SDGs into its national development goals and wished other countries emulated the move.
As part of her visit, the Prime Minister would pay a visit to Jamestown and interact with fisher folks and also the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Centre at Teshie.