President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has underscored the need for Ghana and Korea to continue to enhance their bilateral relations and cooperation.
He said that had become necessary, especially at the time when Ghana was seeking to embark on an ambitious programme of social and economic transformation modelled on the programmes used by the ‘Asian Tigers’.
The President said this when Mr Lyeo Woon-Ki, the outgoing South Korean Ambassador to Ghana, called on him at the Flagstaff House to bid him farewell at the end of his two-and-a-half-year tour of duty of Ghana.
He said “Many of us see your country as an inspiration of how, with organisation, determination, hard work and creativity, a poor nation can, within a generation, transform itself to become one of the leading economies of the world.
“It continues to be a beacon for us because we all know about the parallel periods of the birth of Ghana and South Korea, and, yet, Korea is one of the advanced economies and we are still struggling,” Nana Akufo-Addo said.
He said under his tenure, he would intensify efforts to deepen the relations between the two countries, stressing that economic exchanges between the two countries had a lot more room for growth and development.
“We are, particularly, interested in getting Korean industries to interest themselves in Ghana as a basis for producing things not just for the country but for regional and continental markets. We are about to institutionalise the continental free trade area. All of this is to give us an opportunity to develop our own industrial and manufacturing basis. I think the involvement of Korea in this exercise will be mutually beneficial for all of us,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo expressed the appreciation of Ghanaians to Mr Woon-Ki for the work he did during his stay which, among other achievements, led to the signing of a framework agreement between the two countries enabling Ghana to obtain a concessionary loan of $200 million from the Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF).
“We know how committed you have been to developing and deepening the relations between our two countries and that is why Ghanaians will always have a very fond memory of you as ambassador. We know very well that in you Ghana has a committed friend.
“Ghana-Korea relationship will grow and flourish, and it will all be as a result of the work that you have done here. You go back to Korea with your head held high; you have done a great job for your country,” President Akufo-Addo said.
Belief in Ghana
For his part, Mr Woon-Ki described leaving Ghana as “the moment I have been afraid to face because I fell in love with Ghana during the last two and a half years”.
He said he was confident in Ghana’s future because “President Akufo-Addo has a great vision for the development of the country. He has a strong commitment to enhance our bilateral relations. In a sense, I feel very sad leaving this country, but I am also confident that our bilateral relations will be much stronger in the coming years”.