President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo yesterday joined the French Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Francois Pujolas, to lay the foundation stone for the construction of a new embassy building in Ghana with a pledge to protect investments by the French in the country.
The President said Ghana continued to benefit from French support in several sectors of the economy for which Ghanaians were grateful.
Only last month, he said, Air France commenced its flight between France and Accra and thus brought to 170 the number of French projects in Ghana, with services as the leading sector.
Growing interests in Ghana
“This growing interest among French companies in Ghana is welcome and I want to say that Ghana recognises the importance of the securities of such investments and I would ensure that our relevant institutions stand to protect them,” President Akufo-Addo promised.
In May 2014, the President said, the Ghana-France Chamber of Commerce was introduced in Accra as one of the initiatives of the economic development between the two countries.
He recounted that Ghana’s relationship with France was established soon after independence in 1957 and had since been growing from strength to strength.
The foundation stone-laying ceremony, he said, marked 60 years of a relationship of solidarity and support, based on cordial bilateral relations which had been strengthened by shared visions and values for the mutual benefit of the citizens of the two countries.
For him, it was an enriching experience and a moment of considerable joy as he recalled that the negotiations for the relocation of the French Embassy had been saddled with mixed feelings and a certain undue amount of anxiety.
“Change can be uncomfortable. However, this change from the old site to the current location has occurred within manageable limits and I am glad to see that the design of the new building seems to have been inspired by that of the old,” President Akufo-Addo added.
President Akufo-Addo said he was confident that the new chancery building would be the foundation stone and continuation of the growing interest of France in Ghana’s development and progress.
He said in recent times, Ghana and France had had increased collaboration in security matters for the maintenance of peace and security through technical exchanges with the police and the military.
France, the President said, agreed to support the African Union in the development of its collective security system, particularly the African Standby Force. That country also pledged financial support, and offered to train 15,000 African troops for peacekeeping.
That, he said, was an attestation of the commitment of France not only to Ghana but to the betterment of the African continent.
From the French Ambassador
For his part, Mr Francois Pujolas described the occasion as symbolic of the growing partnership between France and Ghana and the confidence that France had in the future of the latter.
He said it was equally significant that the project was taking place during the 60th anniversary of the country’s independence and 60 years of fruitful relations between the two countries.
He said the partnership between France and Ghana had seen both sides cooperating smoothly in spite of cultural and language differences and expressed optimism that the combined team of French and Ghanaian contractors would deliver on the project in record time.