Despite the long distance between the two countries, China and Ghana enjoy good economic relations which could date back to the early 1960s.
Since 1972 when the two countries resumed their diplomatic relations, the government of China has ever since been providing both technical and financial assistance in the form of loans and grants to support the socio-economic development efforts of Ghana.
According to G. D. Apatu, a senior official in the Ghanaian Finance Ministry, China has provided various financial assistance packages to Ghana in the framework of bilateral cooperation, which covers many economic sectors of Ghana, such as health, food and agriculture, education, culture, industry and roads.
The National Theater and Dangme East District Hospital are two public sector projects that were funded with the funds from the Chinese government.
The ship-shaped National Theater in Accra, capital of Ghana, was built about 10 years ago, and it has been playing an important role in holding different kinds of national activities of the West African country.
The 2003 Model Universe competition was held in the National Theater on Nov. 8, which attracted models of many countries including from China and Ghana to attend.
The Chinese government has agreed in principle to rehabilitate the 15,000-sq. meter theater, which is estimated to cost 20 million RMB (about US$2.4 million), said Apatu.
Dangme East District Hospital, also funded by the Chinese government, is located in the area of Ada, some 100 km east of Accra.
Every day, 40-50 patients could be treated in the 60-bed hospital and nowadays they don't need to go a long distance to see doctors any more.
Currently, the construction of barracks of the military and police in Ghana is underway by a Chinese company, using a grant of32 million RMB (about US$3.9 million) from the Chinese government. The project is expected to be completed next March.
Meanwhile, the Chinese government has also agreed to provide an amount of 230 million RMB (about US$28 million) to finance the reconstruction of the 17.4-km Ofankor-Nsawam stretch of the Accra-Kumasi Highway. The road is of great importance to the Ghanaians as it links the southern sector to the northern sector of the country.
As for the joint venture projects, the Chinese government has agreed to provide loans of some US$18 million to help the cooperation companies in Ghana for further development.
Meanwhile, as promised in the first ministerial meeting of the China-Africa Cooperation Forum held in China in 2000, the Chinese government on June 17, 2002, canceled part of Ghana's debt to China to the tune of over 100 million RMB.
So far, China has become fifth trade partner with Ghana. Ghana exports to China primary and semi-processed products such as cocoa beans and timber while importing manufactured goods, stationary, textiles and chemicals from the Asian country.
Citing the good economic relations between China and Ghana, a Ghanaian trade official said recently that the upcoming second ministerial meeting of the China-Africa Cooperation Forum will provide more chances for Ghanaians to develop further cooperation with their Chinese counterparts.
"The Forum will give the Ghanaians good chances to see, to trade and explore market," he added.
The second ministerial meeting of the China-Africa Cooperation Forum is expected to be held on Dec. 15-16 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, during which ministers from China and 46 forum member countries in Africa will hold discussions over the further cooperation between China and Africa in such fields as agriculture, infrastructures, investment and trade.
The first meeting was held in October 2000 in Beijing, China, to establish a cooperation system between China and Africa for common development.
(Xinhua News Agency November 18, 2003)