Brazil and Ghana are both countries of influence in their respective continents, with strong, energetic economies and steady growth. United by historical and cultural ties, our two nations are also solid commercial partners, with a level of trade that has more than tripled from $106m in 2003 to $446m in 2011.
Food products, such as cocoa, cashew nuts, sugar and chicken top the list of imports and exports between the two countries. However, there is room to diversify the number of products we trade to grow our exchange levels even further. Several opportunities lie beyond food trade, and we have worked together to expand our relationship into new areas, such as trade in services, for example.
Africa has become a strategic partner for Brazil, and Ghana in particular is a privileged point of entry for investment into the various programmes we are determined to expand. Under the cooperation project “More Food for Africa”, which aims to help modernise agriculture on the continent, we have opened up a $95.4m credit line for Brazilian companies wanting to export agricultural machinery and equipment into Ghana. Authorisation for this move was given by the Brazilian Chamber of Foreign Trade (Camex) in late 2011. Ghana was also one of the countries chosen by the Brazilian government to host an office of the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa).
The strengthening of the relationship between Brazil and Ghana must also be guided by the constant search for mutually beneficial investments that create jobs for both countries. We have expanded this search and made Ghana into an African priority for Brazil, beyond the Portuguese-speaking countries of Mozambique, Angola and Guinea. This drive across the Atlantic was initiated in 2003 under President Luiz Iná- cio Lula da Silva and has been solidly maintained under the leadership of President Dilma Rousseff.
In a context of increased trade, political dialogue is inevitable and has been gradually encouraged through a number of periodic official visits. Over the past few years, the Brazilian government has engaged in several trade missions to Ghana, bringing Brazilian businesspeople interested in exporting their products and looking for investment opportunities and partnerships with Ghanaian companies.
Representatives of the Ghanaian government have also visited Brazil on several occasions. We have had the pleasure of receiving the then vice-president and current president, John Dramani Mahama, a number of times. Together we discussed the creation of a working group that will focus on increasing mutual support between the two countries.
Brazil can also contribute to Ghanaian efforts to enhance its logistics infrastructure development through the financing of Brazilian companies wanting to operate in the country. This credit allowance is done through Camex. Using this support system, there are already a number of Brazilian companies working in construction and transport projects that are contributing to Ghana’s economic growth and improving the business environment.
Taking advantage of Ghana’s economic boom and the prospects of higher earnings from oil exploration, President Mahama has informed us of his government’s willingness to increase investment in infrastructure projects. One of the main goals will be the establishment of a logistics corridor in eastern Ghana to connect the north and south of the country, as well to open up trade routes into neighbouring countries. Additionally, we have signed a memorandum of understanding with the Ghanaian government to commit financing to the revamping of Tamale Airport in the Northern Region, facilitating its transformation into an international airport.
As one of the continent’s most established democracies, Ghana is a strategic partner in Brazil’s growing connection with Africa and has an essential role in encouraging political stability throughout the region. For this reason, Brazil will be increasingly committed to fostering cooperation between the two countries.
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