President Akufo-Addo and the Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Austria, Karl Nehammer have agreed on key areas of cooperation primary on strengthening existing bilateral ties between the two countries.
The two parties signed a Memorandum of Understanding ( MOU) on Political and Economic Consultations between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration of the Republic of Ghana and the Federal Ministry of European and International Affairs of the Republic of Austria which was signed by Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration of Ghana, and Amb. Peter Launsky-Tieffentha, Secretary General of the Federal Ministry of European and International Affairs of Austria.
The other was an Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and the Government of the Federal Republic of Austria on Defence Cooperation which was initialed by Hon. Dominic Nitiwul (the Minister for Defence) for Ghana and Amb. Peter Launsky- Tieffentha for Austria.
This was upon the visit of the Austrian Chancellor to Ghana, the first of an Austrian Chancellor since bilateral ties begun between the two countries, today Wednesday, April 26, 2023 at the Jubilee House in Accra.
In his brief remarks after the bilateral talks, President Akufo-Addo disclosed that, “a major outcome of our meeting today, is the affirmation of our commitment to collaborate further on tackling emerging security threats within the region, particularly on issues of terrorism, border security and maritime barriers. We also have resolved to work together to promote democracy in the region, and reiterate and affirm our mutual stance against unconstitutional changes in government.”
He stated that, “Ghana has also called on Austria to lend it’s support to the African Continent Free Trade Area, whose Secretariat is located in Accra. The AfCFTA intends to link fifty-four (54) markets, covering 1.3 billion people with the combined GDP of some 3 trillion United States Dollars.”
He added that, “by 2050, it will cover an estimated 2.5 billion people, and have over a quarter of the world’s working age population. Investment and business opportunities offered to the Austrian private sector, by the infrastructure, required to link these markets more effectively, are enormous.”
President Akufo-Addo stated further that, due to the fact that vulnerable countries suffer the most devastating effects of climate change, the two countries have also agreed to cooperate on increasing efforts to limit global emissions towards achieving the 1.5 degree Celsius goal whilst working together to push for the expeditious implementation of the process of UN Reforms, based on the Ezulwini Consensus and ensure that the matter of UN reform, be restored as a priority item to the global agenda.
“It is time to correct the longstanding injustice that the current structure and composition of the UN Security Council represent for the nations of Africa,” he added.
On the issue of migration, President Akufo-Addo bemoaned the high numbers of young people and added that, “Africans taking distressing risks across the Sahara and around the Mediterranean trying to reach a better life in Europe. Whilst we strive to provide the youth with the right environment in Africa, which will enable them enhance their skills, receive appropriate training and have access to digital technology and enhance economic opportunities.”
He revealed that, he Austrian Chancellor and his delegation have reiterated their determination to champion the need for humane treatment of illegal migrants as well as the protection of both their human rights in accordance with international law both in Austria and in the European space. Our discussions also centered on the threats of Russian invasion of Ukraine, coupled with the effects the COVID 19 pandemic are having across the world.
On the situation in Ukraine President Akufo-Addo, explained that, “the reason why Ghana led the fight for the liberation of the African continent from colonialism and imperialism and became of the five initiators of the historic Non-Aligned Movement is because of our history which has always been against great power domination of the affairs of the world.”
Therefore, he continued, “It is this same principle, that led us to vote in the United Nations General Assembly in favour of the motion condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine and this is a position that we continue to hold. Great powers of whatever make, including friendly ones trampling on small nations is not something we will welcome and within our modest means, we will register our disapproval of that. “
According to Chancellor Nehammer, Austria will work towards setting up an embassy in Ghana to assist and further deepen and bi-lateral engagements.