Pirate attacks: Ghana, Angola draft counter strategy
President Nana Akufo-Addo and his counterpart in Angola, João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço, have committed to a collaboration to combat piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.
President Akufo-Addo indicated that the activities of pirates were denting the image of the continent, which required stronger cooperation between the two countries and its sister nations to curb the menace.
He said this at a joint news conference in Accra on Monday, August 2, as part of the activities marking the visit of President Lourenço to Ghana.
“There is a very important task ahead of us. That we can work together to rid our common seas (the Gulf of Guinea) of the menace of piracy, which is confronting it,” President Akufo-Addo said.
“It is not a good idea that today, the Gulf of Guinea is reckoned as perhaps the most dangerous seas in the world, and it is extremely important that we find an opportunity within the context of the Gulf of Guinea Commission, which is already in existence to have the development and cooperation of Angola and Ghana”.
Having said this, he called on President Lourenço to join forces with Ghana, and together with the rest of the governments on the continent, to ensure that the problem is addressed.
This would make the Gulf of Guinea safe for both local and international trade and boost economic development on the continent.
Let’s enhance our cooperation for development
Aside from this, President Akufo-Addo pointed out that many areas of mutual interest tie the two countries together.
“Whether it is in the development of our hydrocarbon resources, exploitation of our mineral resources, development of agriculture and our educational systems based on science and technology, a successful cooperation between our two countries can be of great benefit to our peoples.”
Recounting the past of Ghana and Angola, President Akufo-Addo noted that during both the colonial and pre-colonial periods, Ghanaian fishermen found their way to Angola to establish a relationship with them.
In the struggle for freedom for the continent and liberation from colonial rule, the governments cooperated strongly, he said, adding that today, the countries are embarking on joint programmes for the progress and prosperity of the continent.
“We see the future in Africa in the solidarity of the African people and the ability to cooperate and work together to develop the continent. Your visit here is a strong indication of the willingness of your own people and your government to go down the same path of solidarity and cooperation,” he remarked.
On his part, President Lourenço said the main purpose for his visit was to find the best ways to strengthen economic cooperation between Ghana and Angola.
Regarding the security concern on the Gulf of Guinea, he stated that the seas in the Gulf were important to international trade, “therefore, it is our responsibility to defend, not only in our national interest but also regional interest, and above all the interest of the international community.”
Touching on connectivity among sister countries on the continent, Mr Lourenço admitted the importance of enhanced communication systems to improve cross-border movement of goods and people.
“We want to see our countries interconnected by the various means of communication; by road, highways, railways, maritime, and by air. We cannot maintain the current absurd situation of having to fly through Europe before visiting our sister country in our own continent,” he pointed out.
Let’s tap into our capacities to make ourselves rich
He noted that though the continent is the most resource-rich globally, its economic potential has remained dormant.
As such, he called for a stronger partnership among African governments in relying on each other to move away from being a raw material exporting continent to a continent that would become “effectively rich” through value addition and export.
“We would like to find here, on our own continent of Africa, many of the solutions that sometimes we seek outside of our continent. Precisely because we consider as being very important to look inside our continent, before we look outside, and that is not the sentiment of the heads of states of Ghana and Angola but a consensus among the heads of states of Africa that the way forward is this one,” he said.
AfCFTA is a great tool for Africa’s transformation
According to him, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) provides an important tool for transitioning from raw material export to countries that create wealth in their own land.
Therefore, he urged African countries to commit to the implementation of the agreement to change the status of things on the continent.