Ghana-China relationship boosted amid plans for a direct flight from Guangzhou to Accra

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Ghana’s Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Dr. Winfred Nii Okai Hammond, has urged Ghanaian businesses to take advantage of the immense potential of the Chinese commercial and industry boom in the midst of efforts to secure a direct flight from Guangzhou in China to Accra, Ghana.

According to Dr. Hammond, the trade volumes between Ghana and China has moved from US$7billion to US$10billion in the last three to four years. However, travel between the two countries have remained a challenge as at some point, Ghana could only count on one airline to China.

“It was Turkey, and even that came with all of its challenges. Currently, most people use Ethiopia Airlines, which has about two flights a day. You may find out that more than 50 percent of those on such flights end up in China. Emirates also has daily flights, and you will find out many of them end up in different towns in China. So the question I ask myself is, why can’t we have a direct flight between China and Ghana?”

He said the Ghana Embassy realised that the most strategic place to have an airline connecting Accra will be Guangzhou in China because it doesn’t only host Ghana’s Consulate General, but also hosts most Ghanaians and hundreds of thousands of West Africans in general, who ply their trade from that city.

He said Accra and, for that matter, Ghana have a lot to offer because Accra has become a commercial hub with the oncoming of the African Continental Free Trade (AfCFTA) Secretariat located in Ghana.

“Today we are talking about the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)with the Secretariat in Ghana. China has a great interest to help develop this because a strong continental free trade area will also boost Ghana and China-African relations; and so it is very important that if we have link up and have a direct flight between China and Ghana, it’s going to be an airline that is serving West Africa, maybe even go further all the way to Cameroon with a direct flight.

“And we know in business time is money. Instead of going through transit times, sometimes ranging between 20 – 24 hours, you are going to look at a direct flight that brings you 15, 16 hours – saving of 6 to 8 hours is a whole lot; it’s very significant.”

The ambassador said it is for this reason that the Ghana Embassy has advanced discussions with support from the Finance and Transport Ministries of Ghana and the entire Government of Ghana to ensure that there is a direct flight between China and Ghana in the immediate future.

“So, I think it is very important for us to have this direct flight, and we are praying that God will help us to get the right airline, as we have the likes of China Southern in mind, who has also indicated interest and looking at the feasibility.

“Discussions are far advanced with all relevant agencies and at the end of the day, it is in the interest of Ghana that we can link up in China in terms of commerce, etc., and our businesses must consider this a significant step.

“In a world of digitalisation today and with China leading the way, I think with the vision that we have – the current Vice President of Ghana leading the efforts of pushing this agenda of significantly improving the Ghana-China Corporation, I believe strongly that Ghana has a lot to do with China going into the future.”

He said it is Ghana’s policy to add value to its raw materials and be competitive on a continent that is engaging in free trading; and he continues that collaboration with a country like China cannot be over-emphasised.

“The products that we take out there must be competitive and we can then leverage on the technology over there in terms of agricultural machinery and the health sector. As we are talking today about digitalization, that is centre; and China is one of the leading ones in all of these areas that Ghana needs to strengthen these ties.”

He said China also played a significant role in supporting Ghana to secure its loan from the IMF in both the first and second instances.

“I’m happy to say that China supported Ghana to get the loan from the IMF in both instances because without China, it may not have been possible to get the loan as the Ghana mission worked hard in creating the necessary environment for this to happen as well.

“Therefore, it is my hope that Ghanaian businesses will recognise all these efforts being made by Ghana’s Government to strengthen this all-important interest and cooperation between Ghana and China and take advantage of the Chinese business climate to do legitimate businesses and grow their enterprises.”


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