ECONOMY : Ghana, France sign financing agreements
|Min. of Finance & Economic Planning, Dr Kwabena Duffuor|| |
Ghana and France have signed four financing agreements to support various sectors of the Ghanaian economy. They include a loan of 40 million euros and a grant of 500,000 euros for the financing of Ghana’s urban management pilot programme.
The remaining two were signed between officials of CAL Bank and Fidelity Bank, on the one hand, and Proparco, the private sector arm of the French development agency, to support private sector development.
President John Evans Atta Mills and the French Prime Minister, Mr Francois Fillon, who is on a two-day official visit to Ghana, witnessed the signing and renewed their countries’ commitment to raise their bilateral relations to a higher level.
The Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Dr Kwabena Duffuor, initialled for Ghana, while the French Minister for Co-operation, Mr Henri de Raincourt, signed for France.
In the case of the two agreements with the two local banks, the Chairman of the Board of Proparco, Mr Dov Zerah, signed for Proparco, while the Managing Director of CAL Bank, Mr Frank Adu Jnr, and the Chief Executive Officer of Fidelity Bank, Mr Edward Effah, initialled for their respective banks.
Under the agreement, CAL Bank will benefit from a loan of $10 million, with a maturity period of seven years, to support its growth, while Fidelity Bank will receive $8 million, with a maturity period of five years, to support private sector investment.
In his introductory and post-signing remarks, the French Prime Minister announced a proposed increased investment by France in non-French speaking West African countries, with Ghana as the preferred country.
Mr Fillon’s visit is the first by a French Head of Government. He arrived in Ghana Friday, in the company of a delegation of senior government officials.
He has since held discussions with top Ghanaian officials on enhancing bilateral relations between the two countries.
Welcoming the French Premier, President Mills said the visit underscored the importance of the strong relations between Accra and Paris and lauded France for its support to Ghana in the areas of water resources development, energy and democratic governance.
He said Ghana’s position, as a country surrounded by French-speaking countries, should make it compare notes with its neighbours and come up with similar solutions, as the countries had similar problems.
President Mills reiterated the need for unity among nations in Africa, contending that there was a lot they stood to achieve if they worked together.
He expressed Ghana’s readiness to assist other nations, in spite of its own challenges, and underlined that nations should come together to take advantage of the resources available to improve upon the standard of living of their peoples.
He urged French business people to take advantage of Ghana’s investment climate and strike investment deals that would be mutually beneficial to all.
Mr Fillon, for his part, commended Ghana for its political stability, respect for democracy being a shining example of democracy in Africa, and said the world was undergoing changes that brought with them a future which belonged to nations that practised democracy and the rule of law.
Mr Fillon drew a link between democracy and the rule of law and said there could be no sustainable development without them.
He announced a new investment and assistance programme for West Africa and said France had made Ghana a priority among non-French speaking countries because of Ghana’s acclaimed respect for the rule of law and democracy.
The French Premier also commended Ghana for its contribution to the Ivorian peace process and called for concerted efforts towards lasting peace in Cote d’Ivoire and Libya.
AYB / Daily Graphic