Forging a new future

By Zhang Xin Source:Global Times Published: 2017/6/18 22:38:39

Ghanaian Ambassador Edward Boateng discusses the African nation’s developing relationship with China

Ghanaian Ambassador to China Edward Boateng Photo: Lu Wen'ao/GT

 Editor's note:

Ghanaian Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia will arrive in China on Monday for a seven-day official visit.

Global Times reporter Zhang Xin (GT) interviewed Edward Boateng, the newly appointed Ghanaian Ambassador to China on Friday, talking about the development of bilateral ties and economic cooperation.

GT: Mr Bawumia will come to Beijing soon for an official visit. What will he discuss during the visit?

He'll be meeting with the governor of the People's Bank of China to talk about currency. We are also going to talk to a lot of financial institutions and the CNBM (China National Building Materials Group).

He's coming with several leading business people from Ghana because we really believe that China has done very well in the past 30 to 40 years and there is a lot of that we can learn. We want to learn from China in terms of production and manufacturing. We want to understand why China has done so well. And I think for him that's key.

GT: As the newly appointed ambassador to China, what's your vision for this role?

Our president wants us to deepen the relationship between China and Ghana. He says this is a new era for us, and a new era for Ghana's relationship with China. We want to be China's trusted partner on the continent of Africa when it comes to business and political issues and to be a friend that China can rely on. We want the same thing in Asia. We know that if there is one friend, one partner that we can also trust and rely on, it should be China. That's also my job here.

I think one of the things that I was going to help China to develop, not only in Ghana but also in Africa, is soft power. I think China is very good with money, building bridges, building houses… What it hasn't done very well, in my opinion, is its soft power. And that's what I hope I can contribute to the China-Ghana relationship. It's also important for bilateral relations, for better understanding, and for appreciation of each other's culture.

GT: What's your take on the development of economic cooperation between Ghana and China in recent years?

In the last few years, Ghana has had a lot of help from China. We have a lot of major highways and the construction was done by Chinese companies. We've seen a lot of investment in the agricultural sector. And cocoa, which is one of our major products, has begun to see exports to China grow. Before, we only sold it in Europe. And now we are beginning to sell it to China. We are hoping that through the new interplay, China will become one of the biggest importers of our cocoa. We have also begun to see Chinese companies moving into our mining sector. Before, Africa didn't know China and China didn't know Africa. It's up to us now with good technology to improve that.

GT: China's Belt and Road initiative is widely seen as a way to push for international cooperation and economic growth. What's your view of this initiative?

I think this initiative couldn't have come at a better time. I mean, we signed up for it because it is important for our economic development. It's important for us to tap into the resources of China, to make them available for Africa. It's also important for us to realize that the world is now interconnected.

I think it's a very important initiative that has been started by China. We have to make it work because, at the end of the day, it is in our interest. My vision is to make it work because I know if it works it will work for my people. We have to lift our people out of poverty. China has done it. And we have to learn from that.

GT: In recent years, China has been increasing its input into Africa, both in terms of manpower and finance. Ghana is an important country in Africa, what role do you think China will play in Africa's future?

I think China is a good development partner for African countries. We see China as a partner that we want to build a friendship with and depend on. China is one of the world's super powers, the second biggest economy in the world. And I believe it will become the biggest economy soon. So in terms of our vision, we want to be a trusted and reliable partner. We want to use our expertise to help people out of poverty and develop the country. I think if we can get it right, other African countries will follow.

GT: How will you introduce Ghana to Chinese people? What do you think will attract Chinese tourists to Ghana?

The people in Ghana are very friendly, very nice. I think most people want to go to a country where they feel welcome. The food is good, and we have the best cocoa. We have a lot of water, the sea, rivers and waterfalls. We have forests and animals. We have huge elephants that you can get very close to. And Ghana is right in the center of the world, with latitude zero. So if you want to be at the center of the world, you should come here.


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