Address by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe on the occasion of the working visit to the Republic of Ghana
20 April 2012
Your Excellency, Vice President John Dramani Mahama,
Government Officials from Ghana and South Africa,
Ladies and Gentlemen:
Your Excellency, it has been a great pleasure for me and my delegation to honour Ghana’s invitation to this working visit to strengthen our relations.
As you are aware, it is not too long ago that our country received President John Evans Atta Mills on a State Visit to South Africa.
Indeed, it is only a couple of weeks ago that we met on the 25th of March in Pretoria.
As such, I believe that the increased frequency of these high level engagements between our governments confirm the commitment we attach to this joint working relationship, which is rooted in our shared history of struggles against oppression and colonialism in Africa.
While our relations at a political level are solid, the volumes of trade and investment between our countries are not a good reflection of these relations.
Our countries hold enormous trade and investment potential that needs to be reinforced through closer co-operation.
There is great potential for cooperation in mining, fuel energy, transport, telecommunication, electricity generation, nature conservation and tourism as well as sharing in technology.
In order to advance cooperation on these matters we need to identify areas where complementarities and comparative advantages exist.
As the headquarters and the current chair of the African Physical Society, Ghana plays a pivotal role in Africa’s astronomy and astrophysics community, which we know will broaden skills exchanges and promote shared Research and Development programmes between our countries.
To this end, we wish to thank you for supporting South Africa’s bid to host the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) radio telescope.
We also commend Ghana for acquiring the second largest antenna in Africa, which will ultimately be converted into a radio telescope.
We look forward to working with Ghana in creating a new network of African radio telescopes.
We are looking forward to solidifying our economic relations and supporting Ghana’s newly established petroleum industry in order to promote economic growth by amongst others:
• Strengthening cooperation between our national oil companies, the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation and PetroSA.
• Committing to long-term investment in Ghana through PetroSA and other state owned enterprises as well as private corporate.
• Sharing technical capabilities and skills exchanges, drawing on the international track record of PetroSA in Upstream Oil and Gas beneficiation.
• Establishing a PetroSA office in Ghana to give effect to the cooperation with the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation.
We hope that these efforts will consequently improve long-term security of supply to South Africa and guaranteed demand for Ghananian oil.
In line with plans by the Ghanaian government to develop its rail network to increase haulage of solid and liquid bulk cargo between the ports and the interior, we are hoping to revive previous programmes with Transnet Rail Engineering.
To this end, this will be beneficial both countries in terms of increased investment in rolling stock.
Our national airline South African Airways, is keen to work with Ghana as it seeks to position herself as the gateway to West Africa.
We are favourably looking at your request for exchanges in skills to learn from each other, especially in the area of hydro electricity.
We hope that these and other collaborations, including the management of the environment, will open new avenues to strengthen our economic ties and maintain the upward trend in our trade volumes.
I am glad also that our ministers and senior officials met yesterday and discussed material programmes in the areas of energy, electricity and environment. I trust we will move with the necessary speed to implement these programmes in order to maximise the benefits to our countries.
At the end of these discussions we expect our ministers and officials to come up with time frames and measurable outcomes in rolling out these programmes.
Officials and ministers will confer on dates for the 3rd Session of the PJCC to be hosted in South Africa.
With these few remarks, I hope our delegations will have fruitful deliberations this morning.