Ministers Ngafuan & Tetteh Exchange Notes (left) and gifts (right) at the Foreign Ministry in Monrovia
The Republics of Liberia and Ghana have signed an Agreement that will lead to the establishment of a Permanent Joint Commission between the two West African nations.
Liberia’s Foreign Minister Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan and Ghana’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Hanna Serwaa Tetteh, signed on behalf of their respective countries as the latter ended a two-day official visit to Liberia on Tuesday, June 19, 2014.
Through the Agreement, signed at the Foreign Ministry on Capitol Hill, the two governments will seek to expand cooperation in mutually rewarding areas including Economic, Trade and Investment, Energy and Mineral resources, Agriculture and Livestock Development, Education Health, Tourism and Culture, Science and Technology, Security and Military Cooperation, as well as Foreign Affairs, Legal and Judicial matters aimed at solidifying and strengthening the existing friendly relations between both countries.
After the signing ceremony, Minister Ngafuan expressed happiness because of the huge Ghanaian and Liberian communities cut across both countries. “We have not put together a legal framework for our cooperation which appears a little strange, but we know that we were cooperating [to the extent] that our predecessors didn’t even think that they needed to sign some documents. Now that we have done it, we have created the legal basis.”
While anticipating that the Joint Commission will meet once every two years either in Monrovia or Accra, Minister Ngafuan reflected on pre-independence efforts led by Liberia, Ghana and Ethiopia for the formation of the then Organization of African Unity (OAU), now African Union (AU): “Besides, we have worked together in the formation of ECOWAS and ECOWAs has reached a point where they have contributed immensely to the peace and security and the development of our region.”
He then called for serious engagements in the various areas especially in education, trade, agriculture among others.
Minister Ngafuan then thanked the Ghanaian Foreign Minister for her visit, adding that the Liberian Government looks forward to working with her Ambassador here in making sure “we proceed to implementations of our expectations.”
For her part, Ghanaian Foreign Minister Tetteh stressed the importance of both countries having the framework that allows for engagement across other ministries, departments, and agencies, as well as the private and public sectors that will help to strengthen a relationship she describes as a ‘deep one’.
She joined her Liberian counterpart in emphasizing the importance of Liberian and Ghanaian communities found in both countries, adding, “As a Member of Parliament, I represent a constituency that surrounds the Buduburam Camp [in Ghana]. And so, I have the opportunity to engage with Liberians for a very long time.
She said the fact that Liberian and Ghanaian citizens have integrated into societies in their respective host countries means that the citizens of both countries were ahead of both governments: “I think that it is important that we put a formality through this agreement so that they [Liberian and Ghanaian citizens] can also realize their mutual interests. You can understand that the two countries are committed to working with each other and they have a platform on which to build and do other things.”
She clarified that the Agreement is not an opportunity to dominate but rather to partner in such a way that capacities are built and new innovations and ideas are learned by both countries: “The signing of the Agreement and ceremony is one thing, but following each particular initiative and development from point to point to make sure they are successful to be beneficially rewarding requires commitment on both sides.
She then pledged her government’s commitment to the process.
Earlier, Deputy Foreign Minister for International Cooperation, Elias Shoniyin said Liberia and Ghana relationship can be traced to pre-independent days: “Beyond that, Ghana and Liberia have from strength to strength extended their relationship into other areas of trade and investment and regional cooperation which was reflected in the participation of Ghana during the 1990’s during the ECOWAS military operations to restore Liberia to democratic governance.”
He added that as the Deputy Minister for International Cooperation, he looks forward to the full utilization of the Agreement which will lead to the mutual benefits of the two Peoples in the form of exchange of entrepreneurs of Ghanaian investment in Liberia and Liberia’s outward investments in Ghana which at the end of the day would further deepen Liberian-Ghanaian integration and bilateral cooperation.