President Akufo-Addo is to pay a two-day state visit to Switzerland tomorrow, February 28 and Friday, February 29, 2020.The visit will make President Akufo-Addo the first President from sub-Saharan Africa to pay a state visit to Switzerland, a gesture the Swiss see as a sign of the deepening bilateral relations between the two countries since Ghana’s independence.
According to Mr Stalder, a number of activities had been lined up to celebrate President Akufo-Addo’s visit to further strengthen the ties between the two countries, adding: ‘We will, of course, have a very festive programme, including mounting a guard of honour for the President.’
President Akufo-Addo will be a special guest in the Swiss Parliament and also be hosted to a state dinner and entertained by a cultural troupe.
The President will also have the opportunity of visiting a chocolate factory which makes use of Ghana’s cocoa beans.
The ambassador announced this when he hosted some journalists to a breakfast meeting at the Swiss Embassy in Accra yesterday to brief them on preparations being made for the state visit of the President.
Mr Stalder said the visit by the Ghanaian President, who was invited by the President of the Swiss Confederation, Mrs Simonette Sommaruga, would further boost economic relations between the two countries in the areas of trade, investment and development.
“At the core of the official talks will be not only the establishment of a closer partnership in the fight against climate change but also discussions on trade and economic relations, development cooperation and Switzerland’s continuing support for peace and security via the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre in Accra,” he added.
He further described the bilateral relations between the two countries as ‘excellent and rich in tradition. Ghana is of growing importance in tackling global challenges and cooperating politically and economically’.
The ambassador said under its development cooperation programme, Switzerland had invested more than $370 million to support Ghana to diversify its economy through the sustainable use of its resources.
“For example, Switzerland works with the Ministry of Finance to improve the management of revenues from natural resources. Switzerland also cooperates with Ghana under the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) and also launched the Swiss Platform for Sustainable Cocoa with the aim of improving the social, environmental and economic sustainability of the cocoa sector,” Mr Stalder said.
The Deputy Head of Mission and Head of Cooperation at the Swiss Embassy, Mr Matthias Feldmann, said Ghana had been one of the few priority countries benefitting from the economic development cooperation of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) of Switzerland since 2002.
He said Ghana was not only an economic and political partner of Switzerland but also one of 13 priority countries globally and one of two in sub-Saharan Africa for SECO.
“So Ghana is not only an important political and economic partner of Switzerland but also a very important partner for our economic development cooperation. That shows the importance we attach to Ghana as a partner country," Mr Feldmann added.
He said since 1960 Ghana had benefited from over $365 million in grants financing from the Swiss government.