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New Switzerland President Visits Ghana to Map Out 2017-2020 Trade Plans

July 12, 2017

On July 12, President Doris Leuthard of Switzerland held meetings in Ghana to discuss a 2017-2020 strategy for expanding the two countries' already excellent trade relations. Ghana is Switzerland's main trading partner in Africa.

The cooperation strategy for 2017 to 2020 was launched in the presence of Ms Leuthard and Ghana’s president, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

Ghana is one of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs’ (SECO) priority countries for economic development cooperation. One of the aims of this programme is to increase Ghana’s economic competitiveness. Ghana is an anchor of stability in West Africa and since 2010 has been classed as a middle-income country.

State Secretary Marie-Gabrielle Ineichen-Fleisch, Ghana’s vice president Mahamudu Bawumia and several members of the Ghanaian government took part in the discussions. SECO director Ms Ineichen-Fleisch and Ghana’s minister of finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, signed a declaration of intent to launch the Swiss Platform for Sustainable Cocoa. This is an initiative by the Swiss chocolate industry, civil society and SECO to improve social, ecological and economic sustainability in the cocoa industry.

Ghana is Switzerland’s main cocoa supplier. Trade between Switzerland and Ghana was worth CHF 2.38 billion in 2016, a significant increase over the previous year. There was a particularly sharp rise in gold imports from Ghana to Switzerland (+ 81.6 per cent). Ghana has been Switzerland’s main African trade partner since 2016, ahead of South Africa.

The official talks focused on economic and trade issues. The delegations also underlined their constructive cooperation in the field of migration and their dialogue on energy and environmental policies. Security and the regional situation were also key topics of the talks. Switzerland and Ghana support the work of the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC), which trains staff for peacekeeping missions. 

Speech to think-tank in Accra

On Tuesday evening, Ms Leuthard met Swiss businesspersons operating in Ghana. The following morning, the Swiss delegation visited a sustainable pineapple production project in the Eastern Region which enjoys Swiss support. Ghana’s minister for trade and industry, Mr Alan John Kyerematen, accompanied Ms Leuthard on this visit, which was followed by an official meal held in Flagstaff House, the presidential palace in Accra.

During the remainder of her visit to Ghana, Ms Leuthard is invited to give a speech on governance and social media to the IMANI Center for Policy & Education, a think-tank based in Accra. On Wednesday evening she will travel on to Benin, where official talks will be held with President Patrice Talon.

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