Ghana and Italy have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that will enhance defence and security co-operation between the two countries.
The agreement was signed on Thursday, 28 November 2019, when the Prime Minister of Italy, His Excellency Giuseppe Conte, paid a courtesy call on President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, at the Jubilee House, the seat of the nation’s presidency.
With the talks aimed at deepening the ties of co-operation and bonds of friendship between the two countries, Mr Akufo-Addo noted that the area of security co-operation will benefit the two countries, especially Ghana, immensely.
“I think that is something that can be of significant assistance to us. As you know, West Africa is today facing all kinds of very important security challenges,” he said.
Mr Akufo-Addo continued: “The Northern part of West Africa, the Sahelian region, is embedded with a lot of struggle between the jihadists who are operating out of Mali, out of Niger and northern Nigeria. The big battle is how to contain them to make sure that the activities don’t come further south.”
He stressed that “we want to live in a West Africa where extremism and terrorist fighting are not a part of the region. This is the reason why we are interested in these forms of co-operation.”
Touching on the Okuafo Pa project, which focuses on the cultivation of corn, cocoa and cashew, in Dormaa, that are being undertaken by the Italian oil company, ENI, Mr Akufo-Addo described the project as being of great interest to Ghana.
“Our policy is to, as much as possible, develop the capacity of our country so that this migration of our people abroad can be brought under control and reversed if possible, so that the energies of our young people can be redirected into developing the country,” he said.
On his part, the Italian Prime Minister thanked Mr Akufo-Addo for the warm hospitality, adding that his presence in Ghana was to “underline the importance of this new project in the agro-industrial sector. It is a new model cooperation.”
He indicated that “Italy is in favour of this kind of model, particularly because we consider that it is the best way to make a contribution to the economic growth and the social development of your country. It means that, in a short time, we will have 800 Ghanaian entrepreneurs that will enable the economic growth of your country and we are supporting you.”
The Italian Prime Minister also expressed his satisfaction about the signing of the agreement on defence co-operation.
“This agreement in the defence sector is a tangible example of our excellent relations and we hope to deepen them. Thank you very much, and I pray that this visit will help to strengthen the friendship between our people and our countries,” he added.