The Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Austria, Karl Nehammer, and President of the Republic Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo have agreed to cooperate in a number of crucial sectors, with a focus on enhancing the two nations’ already strong bilateral ties.
According to President Akufo-Addo, the topics of attention were, among other things, challenges connected to economic growth, trade and investment promotion, support for peace and security in West Africa, and climate resilience and adaptation.
This was in response to the Austrian Chancellor’s visit to Ghana today, Wednesday, April 26, 2023, the first by an Austrian Chancellor since the two nations’ diplomatic relations began.
In his brief remarks after the bilateral talks, President Akufo-Addo disclosed that, “a major outcome of our meeting today, is the affirmation of our commitment to collaborate further on tackling emerging security threats within the region, particularly on issues of terrorism, border security and maritime barriers. We also have resolved to work together to promote democracy in the region, and reiterate and affirm our mutual stance against unconstitutional changes in government.”
He stated that, “Ghana has also called on Austria to lend it’s support to the African Continent Free Trade Area, whose Secretariat is located in Accra. The AfCFTA intends to link fifty-four (54) markets, covering 1.3 billion people with the combined GDP of some 3 trillion United States Dollars.”
He added that, “by 2050, it will cover an estimated 2.5 billion people, and have over a quarter of the world’s working age population. Investment and business opportunities offered to the Austrian private sector, by the infrastructure, required to link these markets more effectively, are enormous.”
According to President Akufo-Addo, the two nations have also agreed to cooperate on stepping up efforts to limit global emissions in order to achieve the 1.5 degree Celsius goal. They will also work together to push for the swift implementation of the UN Reforms process, based on the Ezulwini Consensus, and to ensure that the issue of UN reform is brought back to its original priority status.
“It is time to correct the longstanding injustice that the current structure and composition of the UN Security Council represent for the nations of Africa,” he added.
On the issue of migration, President Akufo-Addo bemoaned the high numbers of young people and added that, “Africans taking distressing risks across the Sahara and around the Mediterranean trying to reach a better life in Europe. Whilst we strive to provide the youth with the right environment in Africa, which will enable them enhance their skills, receive appropriate training and have access to digital technology and enhance economic opportunities.”
He said that the Austrian Chancellor and his delegation had reaffirmed their commitment to fighting for the preservation of illegal immigrants’ human rights and the necessity for compassionate treatment of them in accordance with international law in Austria and throughout Europe. We also talked about the potential for a Russian invasion of Ukraine and the global impact the COVID 19 epidemic is having.
On the situation in Ukraine President Akufo-Addo, explained that, “the reason why Ghana led the fight for the liberation of the African continent from colonialism and imperialism and became of the five initiators of the historic Non-Aligned Movement is because of our history which has always been against great power domination of the affairs of the world.”
Therefore, he continued, “It is this same principle, that led us to vote in the United Nations General Assembly in favour of the motion condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine and this is a position that we continue to hold. Great powers of whatever make, including friendly ones trampling on small nations is not something we will welcome and within our modest means, we will register our disapproval of that. “
According to Chancellor Nehammer, Austria will work towards setting up an embassy in Ghana to assist and further deepen and bi-lateral engagements.