President of Ghana Nana Akufo-Addo bids farewell to Barbadian officials at the Grantley Adams International Airport. At right is Prime Minister Mia Mottley. (GP)
The following Joint Communiqué was issued on the occasion of the Official Visit to Barbados by Nana Akufo-Addo, President of the Republic of Ghana.
President of the Republic of Ghana, His Excellency Nana Akufo-Addo, paid an official visit to Barbados from June 14 to 15, 2019, during which he held talks with Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley.
During the meeting, Prime Minister Mottley conveyed to the President a message of kinship and close friendship to the Government and people of Ghana. President Akufo-Addo expressed his appreciation and noted the significance of his visit as the first leader of Ghana to ever visit Barbados.
The two parties agreed that there was scope for deeper cooperation between Barbados and Ghana and that the Cultural, Technical and Scientific Agreement which was signed by the two governments in 2005, provided a good framework for that cooperation. The leaders pledged to reactivate the agreement and to identify priority areas on which to focus immediately.
Prime Minister Mottley highlighted collaboration in the area of healthcare, given the similarities both countries shared in respect of the prevalence of non-communicable diseases. There was also discussion of sharing medical research and data, as well as the possible exchange of medical students. Prime Minister Mottley informed the President of the serious shortage of nurses in Barbados, and in response, President Akufo-Addo offered the assistance of his country.
The discussions also touched on tourism and transportation, and the leaders agreed that air linkages would be key in promoting increased trade and people-to-people contact between the two countries, and that Barbados could be a gateway for travel between Africa and the Caribbean. The two sides agreed to initiate the negotiation of an Air Services Agreement as soon as possible. In addition, the Prime Minister and President each committed to the promotion of each other’s country in order to sensitise Barbadians and Ghanaians of each other and build mutual awareness.
On the issue of travel, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Dr. Jerome Walcott, spoke of the recent decision of the Government of Barbados to remove visa requirements for holders of Ghanaian passports, and he expressed the wish that this move would be reciprocated by Ghana. President Akufo-Addo indicated that he welcomed this decision and would work to have visa restrictions for Barbadians removed.
Renewable energy also featured in the talks with Prime Minister Mottley and President Akufo-Addo, with both of them expressing the desire for increased generation of renewable energy in Barbados and Ghana. The leaders agreed to work together in this regard.
Prime Minister Mottley raised the issue of the Bilateral Double Taxation Agreement and Bilateral Investment Treaty between the two countries, and was hopeful that the two signed agreements could be ratified shortly. President Akufo-Addo gave assurances that his technical authorities would work on the matter of ratification.
The leaders agreed that education was key to the development of both countries, and identified it as an area in which the two countries could cooperate. The linkages between the University of the West Indies and the University of Ghana Legon were lauded by both sides.
President Akufo-Addo informed the Prime Minister about Ghana’s Year of Return 2019, which is aimed at attracting large numbers of the Ghanaian Diaspora and a commemoration of 400 years of the slave trade. He took the opportunity to invite the people of Barbados to participate in the events to mark the Year of Return in August 2019. In turn, Prime Minister Mottley spoke of ‘Vision 2020: We Gatherin’, which is a year-long celebration of Barbadian excellence and a call for the Barbadian Diaspora to recommit to the country’s successful future.
As a demonstration of close ties between the two countries, President Akufo-Addo gave a commitment to the establishment of an honorary consulate in Barbados, to be followed by a consulate. Prime Minister Mottley also spoke of Barbados’ intention of establishing a diplomatic mission in Accra by the end of 2019.
The President of Ghana expressed appreciation for the expressions of friendship and the hospitality shown during the visit, and the two leaders agreed to actively follow up on the matters discussed and to work closer together in the future. (PR)