The bilateral relations between India and Ghana have remained cordial since the two former British colonies became independent. The solid foundation of these relations was laid down by former political leadership of both countries. It was Jawaharlal Nehru, the fi rst Prime Minister of India and on the part of Ghana, it was Kwame Nkrumah who fostered their friendly ties.
India established diplomatic relations with Ghana by opening a consulate in Accra in 1953, and later opened its High Commission. Ghana reciprocated by opening its High Commission in New Delhi. Consequently, the fraternal relations went to greater heights with a series of state visits. From Ghana, it was Kwame Nkrumah himself who paid a visit to India in 1961. Other Ghanaian leaders who followed his example were President Limann in 1981, President Rawlings in 1991 and 1997, President Kufuor in 2002. On the part of India, P.V. Narasimha, Former Prime Minister of India, visited Ghana in 1995 which yielded the signing of an agreement to form the Joint Commission. Several other highprofi le visits by Indian Ministers were effected, for instance Anand Sharma, former Minister of State for External Affairs also visited Ghana in 2006. It is, therefore, not surprising that Ghana is now home to more than 10,000 Indians.
Present Bilateral Cooperation
Insocio - political and economic cooperation, India and Ghana support each other in different international fora such as the United Nations, African Union, Commonwealth, Non-Aligned Movement, South- South Cooperation and India- Africa Forum Summits. India is the second-highest investor in Ghana with about 800 registered companies. The Governments of India and Ghana have been cooperating in various areas including economic development, capacity building, education, culture, transport infrastructure, industry, trade, energy, science and research. India chose Ghana as one of the nine West African countries to be included in the Government of India (GOI) Team 9 Initiative. Therefore, Ghana is now hosting various partnership projects like India-Ghana Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence for Information Communication and Technology (ICT) and the E-Network Project. Several other projects worth mentioning are rural electrifi cation, agro-processing, fi sheries and the list continues.
There are long-term projects which India and Ghana are implementing as development partners. For instance, in 2016 the Government of Ghana secured two Lines of Credits from the Export-Import Bank of India (EXIM Bank) to fi nance railway construction and sugar projects respectively. His Excellency Seth E. Terkper, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning signed the loan agreement on behalf of the Government of Ghana and Pushpesh Tyagi, Resident Representative based in Cote D’Ivoire signed the loan on behalf of Exim Bank of India. The total amount for the LoC was $422.87 million. The money was budgeted as follows: $398.33 was for design and construction of the 84-km railway line from Tema and Akosombo ports. The tender for the project was won by Indian company AFCONS Infrastructure. Then $24.54 million was for sugarcane development and irrigation project. Ghana has received such kind of loans seven times.
A Focus on Future Bilateral Cooperation
An assessment of the current strong relations between India and Ghana, gives a clear indication that such cordial relations will continue to grow from strength to strength. For instance, bilateral trade relations are growing at a fast rate and it is anticipated that trade will expand from the current $3 billion to $5 billion in the next three years. Now, the Government of India is willing to give Ghana a Line of Credit which is more than $500 for future projects.
Indeed, the future of Indo-Ghana relations is very promising owing to the political will demonstrated by the incumbent leadership of both democracies. The historic visit to Accra by His Excellency Pranab Mukherjee, Former President of India, from 12-14 June 2016 elevated the bilateral relations to insurmountable heights because Mukherjee apparently became the first Indian President to visit Ghana.
The visit yielded the following three agreements/ Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) which were signed on 13 June 2016: First was the agreement on exemption from visa requirement for holders of diplomatic and offi cial passports. H.E Dr. Jithendra Singh, Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Offi ce signed the pact representing India and H.E. Hanna Serwaah Tetteh, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration signed the agreement representing Ghana. The second MoU was on the establishment of a Joint Commission; Amar Sinha, Secretary (ER), signed the pact representing India and H.E. Tetteh signed the MoU representing Ghana. The third MoU was on capacity building of diplomats between the Foreign Service Institute, Ministry of External Affairs of India and Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration of Ghana. This MoU was signed by K. Jeeva Sagar, High Commissioner of India representing Ghana and H.E. Tetteh on behalf of Ghana.
In his welcome speech, Former President of Ghana John Dramani Mahama told President Mukherjee that the two countries need to continue to cooperate in promoting agricultural productivity, research, nuclear power development and rural electrifi cation projects. He also said that a Line of Credit worth $35 million would be provided by India to fi nance Komenda Sugar Factory and a similar facility worth $24 million would be provided to finance sugarcane cultivation in order to feed the factory. He said that his country would need another facility worth $30 to finance fish processing project and further implement the Yendi Water Project located in the Northern Region of the country. He also included urban transport development by collaborating with India to acquire heavy-duty buses which are manufactured by TATA and Ashok Leyland companies. In energy, Ghana is ready to cooperate with India in the sector of solar power.
In his response, President Mukherjee agreed to continue India’s cooperation with Ghana in enhancing international security. He pledged that India will in future continue to deepen bilateral relations in the areas of trade, investment and expand economic cooperation. He also added that Ghana qualifi es to receive a substantial amount of the $10 billion facility which India has planned to provide African states in the next fi ve years to come. As a positive indicator of future bilateral relations, President Mukherjee assured President Mahama that India will do everything possible so that Ghana, as a development partner, continues to receive more support and assistance under the three agreements for Ghana to prosper in the international socio-political development. Symbolically, future relations between India and Ghana were cemented by President Mukherjee’s gesture of planting a tree of life at Kwame Nkrumah’s Mausoleum and also the gesture of unveiling the statue of Mahatma Gandhi at the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research at the University of Ghana.
India and Ghana will continue to cooperate in promoting the One-District-One Factory Initiative wherein Ghana has planned to rollout business enterprises in at least 51 districts of the country. This was discussed in 2017 when a high powered delegation from Ghana led by Aaron Mike Oquaye, Speaker of Parliament of Ghana, accompanied by delegates from One-District-One Factory Initiative from the President’s Office, the Exim Bank of Ghana and Ghana Commercial Bank visited the city of Mumbai to attract the Indian business community to invest in Ghana. All these prospective investments will consolidate bilateral relations because there is also political will from the legislative arm of the Government of the Republic of Ghana.
The Government of India donated $1 million to the Government of Ghana to be used for the renovation of the Flagstaff House, Offi ce of the President of Ghana which was fi nanced and constructed by the Government of India with $135 million in 2009. M.J. Akbar, Minister of State for External Affairs, offi cially presented the donation to President Nana Akufo-Addo on 15 August, 2017 on the occasion of India’s 70th independence anniversary when he paid a courtesy call on the Ghanaian President. President Akufo- Addo used the opportunity to cement ties between the two countries. He also appreciated the efforts which Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India, is making to strengthen the bilateral relations.
Finally, a glance at the political will demonstrated by the leadership of both India and Ghana led by Prime Minister Modi and President Nana Akufo-Addo is a clear manifestation of the cordial relations which both countries are enjoying at present. The fraternal gestures speak louder for themselves that the future of the Indo-Ghana bilateral relations will continue to flourish to a foreseeable prosperous zenith for the mutual benefit of the peoples of India and Ghana.