The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Madam Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey has arrived in Beijing, the Chinese capital to begin a 6-day official visit, 10th to 16th June, 2018.
Madam Ayorkor Botchwey, who is in China at the invitation of her Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, is being accompanied by the Chief Executive officer of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC), Mr. Yoofi Grant.
Strengthening bilateral ties between Ghana and China is high on the radar as well as wooing investors to help translate Ghana’s industrial transformation, which include the one district one factory agenda into reality.
The Foreign minister, Madam Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey was met on arrival at the Beijing International airport by Ghana’s Ambassador to China, Mr. Edward Boateng and staff of the embassy and officials of Chinese foreign ministry. And as part of formalities, the minister exchanged pleasantries with representatives of China and later held a short meeting behind closed doors.
The next day, which was Sunday, 10th June the Ghanaian delegation, visited one of the world’s leading Telecommunications giant, Huawei’s office in Beijing.
Officials of the company showcased their latest products and services including the smart city project and teleconferencing. After the tour, a meeting was held where the narrative of Huawei was shared–that is from a humble beginning of 8,000 dollars to the present with a revenue base of 92 billion dollars in 2017.
Huawei projects that by 2030 it will be a global household brand surpassing Apple and Samsung.
Ghana’s envoy to China, Mr. Edward Boateng lauded Huawei for supporting students from Ghana to come over to its headquarters in China to have their ICT skills sharpened.
"Ghana has a youthful population who are highly educated and will be prudent if Huawei set up a chair at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, KNUST to train Ghanaian students in ICT to enable Ghana take advantage of the digital economy,” said Ambassador Edward Boateng.
He added that a report from the Brookings Institution indicates that the internet can transform developing economies, enabling businesses to access services, improve productivity and increase their competitiveness both domestically and in the global market.
In January 2016, World Bank released its annual World Development Report, which unequivocally shows that Internet connectivity can boost economic growth across the developing world when accompanied by good Internet policies.
Indeed, Huawei's Global Connectivity Index 2016 reveals that investing in ICT infrastructure correlates with economic dynamism, efficiency and productivity, a one-point increase in a nation's GCI rating correlates with a 2.3 percent increase in competitiveness, a 2.2 percent rise in innovation and 2.3 percent jump in productivity.
The Chief Executive officer of GIPC, Mr. Yoofi Grant said the Internet has the power to be the great equalizer, providing access to communications, information and opportunity. Mr. Grant added that “the vision of government of President Akufo-Addo is to make Ghana a preferred business destination in Africa and financial hub in West Africa. However, he stressed that without a strong ICT base these goals cannot be achieved.
The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Madam Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey told management of Huawei that 44 countries including Ghana have signed onto the continental Free Trade Agreement and this implies that Africa will have a market of over 1 billion.
She stressed the “free trade coupled with the youthful population boom on the continent means that Ghana with her political and economic stability will be the place to do business”.
She appealed to the management of the third largest telecommunication company after Apple and Samsung to establish one of its research and development centres in Ghana.
Huawei has been in Ghana since 2006 and has played crucial role in Ghana’s march towards improving telecommunication service including internet penetration. For instance the 4th generation project undertaken by MTN was done by Huawei as well as the national security project dubbed the “Alpha”.
The phase one of the Alpha project, which also includes extending ICT to rural areas in Ghana at a cost of 176 million dollars was signed in 2012 and completed in 2017.
The second phase of the Alpha project, which is estimated at 234 million dollars is expected to begin anytime soon if the agreement with the Chinese EximBank is finalized. Officials of Huawei say the completion of the Alpha project will go a long way to help in government’s drive to digitize the economy. That is enhancing moves to reduce business transactions with cash.