Ghana-South Africa relations must prioritize youth development – Akufo-Addo

President Akufo-Addo says the empowerment and development of the youthful populations of Ghana and South Africa, must be the driving force underpinning the renewed relations between the two famous African states.

The President made this call in his proposal of toast address at a state dinner held at a makeshift Banquet Hall at the Jubilee House, yesterday the 4th of December, in honor of South Africa’s President Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa, as part of his three-day state visit to Ghana from 3rd to 5th December 2021.

President Akufo-Addo noted that as the West African state of Ghana deepens her relations with South Africa, there is the urgent need to ensure that the youths of the two countries are the main focus of all trade and economic cooperation efforts between the states.

“I share wholly the vision of the possibilities of enhanced trade and investment relations cooperation between Ghana and South Africa. It is the most effective way towards building a sustainable future of progress and prosperity for our respective countries and populations and maintaining a healthy relationship between our two nations,” President Akufo-Addo said.

“For me, one of the essential pillars of our relations must be the mutual nurturing of our young people. They are the ones to inherit the legacy of our current cooperative endeavors. We should work towards preserving and further enriching it,” Akufo-Addo added.

According to President Akufo-Addo, his desire is that Ghana and South Africa pay “closer attention to educational and cultural exchanges between Ghanaian and South African youth” to enable the two iconic African states “deepen understanding” between their two peoples and “make better use of the strong friendship” they share.

Sports Cooperation

In the area of sports, President Akufo-Addo indicated that it is time for Ghana and South Africa to have “formal relations and cooperation in sports and cultural exchanges”.

In an obvious referral to the recent defeat the South African national soccer team suffered at the hands of the Black Stars, which defeat, became a subject of litigation between Ghana and South Africa at the football world governing body, FIFA, President Akufo-Addo said South Africa has a lot to learn from Ghana in soccer just as much as Ghana has a lot to learn from South Africa in rugby.

“I am sure there much South Africa can learn from Ghana in soccer where we are obviously your senior brothers just as Ghana can in rugby, where we are some way away from producing a Siya (Siyamthanda) Kolisi, the great captain of South Africa’s world cup winning side,” President Akufo-Addo said.

South African President

The South African President, Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa, in his response to the toast proposed by President Akufo-Addo, noted that South Africans can never forget the pivotal role Ghana played in the struggle against apartheid, adding that currently Africa is facing new challenges that must be confronted with the same vigor and purposefulness that she fought for political emancipation.

Forbes Magazine Award

On a personal note, President Ramaphosa, congratulated President Akufo-Addo, on his selection as the African of the Year 2021, by Forbes Magazine, a global media company, which focuses on business, investing, technology, entrepreneurship, leadership, and lifestyle.

“Allow me to be personal and congratulate you for being chosen as the African of Year by Forbes Magazine. The recognition of this magazine is about your vision not only for Ghana but for the people of our continent as well,” the President of South Africa said.

We are proud of this recognition Your Excellency because it speaks of your commitment, it speaks of your creativity, your innovation and your clear strategic vision of showmanship in your own country as well as on our beloved African continent, – he added.

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By: Wilberforce A. Asare

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