President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo will pay a historic state visit to the Central European country of Switzerland from Friday, February 28 to Saturday, February 29.
Mr Philipp Stalder, the Ambassador of Switzerland to Ghana, Benin and Togo, who announced this at a media engagement in Accra, on Tuesday, 25th February 2020 said the trip would make President Akufo-Addo the first sub-Saharan leader to do so in more than 60 years.
The visit, which is at the invitation of Mrs Simonetta Sommaruga, the President of the Swiss Confederation, is expected to strengthen the bilateral bond and forge closer partnerships to boost trade, economic and cultural relations.
It would also promote development cooperation and joint efforts at dealing with Climate Change challenges and the continued support for peace and development through the Kofi Annan International Peace Keeping Training Center, in Accra.
Ghana is Switzerland’s second biggest trading partner in Africa with the latter recording a trade volume of 2.5 billion USD with Ghana.
Gold and cocoa exports to Switzerland account for the majority of the trade.
Ghana’s main imports from Switzerland are pharmaceuticals and machinery.
President Akufo-Addo, with his delegation, would be received by the seven Federal Councillors, with military honours, Ambassador Stalder said.
He would also address their Parliament.
The official talks would be headed by President Simonetta Sommaruga, Mr Guy Parmelin, the Vice-President of the Federal Council, and Mr Ignazio Cassis, the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
The Ambassador said: “A State Visit to Switzerland has a very special significance: the foreign guest is not only received by the yearly rotating President of the Confederation, but the Swiss Federal Government, as a whole.
“The state visit of President Akufo-Addo is thus a sign of the excellent bilateral relations that exist between Ghana and Switzerland since Ghana’s independence”.
The Ambassador recalled the official visit of Mrs. Doris Leuthard, the Former President of the Swiss Confederation, to Ghana in 2017 and the regular engagements between the two sides at the highest level.
He described the bilateral relations as excellent and rich in tradition.
“In fact, the Embassy of Switzerland in Ghana this year celebrates its 60th Anniversary. For Switzerland, Ghana is of growing importance in tackling global challenges and cooperating politically and economically,” the Ambassador.
“This demonstrates the growing depth of our long-standing and friendly partnership”.
Under the Development Cooperation Program of Switzerland, Mr Stalder said it had invested more than 370 Million USD and was supporting Ghana to diversify its economy and use its resources sustainably.
Throwing light on some Swiss-funded interventions, Mr Matthias Feldmann, the Head of Cooperation State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, said his country was working with the Ministry of Finance to improve the management of revenue from natural resources.
It was cooperating with Ghana under the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative and had launched the Swiss Platform for Sustainable Cocoa, aimed at improving social, environmental and economic sustainability of the cocoa sector.
“Ghana has been one of the few priority countries for the economic development cooperation of State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) since 2002.
“It will remain one for the next strategy period,” he said.