Ghana's President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has received a warm welcome, complete with a 21-gun salute, on a chilly Thursday morning at the Union Buildings.
The motorcade carrying Akufo-Addo and his wife Rebecca arrived at the official seat of national government in Tshwane shortly before 10am at the west wing of the historic buildings.
The two had touched down in the capital at the Waterkloof Air Force Base on Wednesday evening for a two-day State visit aimed at strengthening the already good political, economic and social relations that South Africa and Ghana enjoy.
Standing on the red carpet, President Cyril Ramaphosa and his wife Tshepo were on hand to receive their visitors.
South African and Ghanaian flags lined the boulevard outside the buildings, with a statue commemorating the soldiers who died at Delville Wood in France overlooking that of former President Nelson Mandela.
National ceremonial guard soldiers in pristine green and gold uniforms could be seen buffing their cannons ahead of the salute.
To welcome President Akufo-Addo, the guard band played the anthems of Ghana and South Africa, and the two Presidents took the salute from the national ceremonial guard, which was marked by a 21–gun salute.
President Ramaphosa introduced President Akufo-Addo to a number of his Cabinet Ministers and deputies at the inner sanctum of the government offices.
President Ramaphosa shook hands with senior officials from the Akufo-Addo administration.
He then ushered his counterpart away from the flower-bedecked amphitheatre for bilateral talks.
The two Presidents are expected to discuss ways to strengthen and deepen bilateral relations issues, strengthen economic relations, cultural and scientific cooperation.
Furthermore, they will discuss issues of mutual interest and concern at the continental and global levels, particularly security, peace and stability in the continent.
Already the two countries enjoy solid relations, which were formalised at the advent of democracy in South Africa.
Forum for trade cooperation
The two countries established in May 2007 a Permanent Joint Commission for Cooperation (PJCC), as a structured bilateral mechanism to provide for political, economic, social, cultural, scientific and technical cooperation.
The PJCC essentially oversees the implementation of the existing 22 bilateral agreements and memoranda of understanding, which cover various fields including trade and investment, avoidance of double taxation, information and communication, transport, electricity, oil and gas, tourism, environment, science and technology and arts and culture.
South Africa and Ghana also enjoy strong economic cooperation, as evidenced by the increasing trade and investment between the two sister republics.
The major South African products exported to Ghana include nuclear reactors, boilers, vehicles other than railway or tramway, articles of iron and steel, electrical machinery and equipment as well as parts thereof and plastics.
The major products imported from Ghana include natural or cultured pearls, precious or semi-precious stones, boilers, machinery and mechanical appliances as well as wood and articles of wood, wood charcoal and rubber.
Some of the South African companies that have invested in Ghana include MTN, Anglo-Gold Ashanti, Goldfields, SABMiller, Woolworths, Engen, Hytech Engineering, African Explosives Limited, Multichoice, Alliance Media, Broll, Group Five Steeldale, Stanbic Bank, Shoprite Checkers, Sherwood, Steers, South African Airways, 3M and First National Bank.
According to the formal programme, the two Heads of State are expected to brief the media at noon before going to address the South Africa-Ghana Business Forum, which will be held in Centurion. The South Africa-Ghana Business Forum will bring together business people from both countries to explore further trade and economic cooperation. – SAnews.gov.za