Akufo-Addo Optimistic Of ECOWAS Project

President Akufo-Addo being presented with a gift by the Chairman of the Ghanaian Community in Cape Verde

President Akufo-Addo, who returned home yesterday from a tour of some countries in the West African sub-region, including Cape Verde, has expressed confidence in the ability of countries within the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to deepen bilateral relations in the areas of trade and economic relations amongst themselves.

“Everywhere I have been so far, I have been met with a lot of enthusiasm and warmth, because people are reassured about Ghana’s role in ECOWAS, and to me, that is very important. If we can make a success out of ECOWAS, it will help us a lot in the economic development of our countries,” he said when he met the Ghanaian community in Cape Verde on Saturday.

He expressed satisfaction with the outcome of his tour of some of the countries in the ECOWAS region.

For him, “What these tours are trying to do is to reassure the ECOWAS world that we are still very much engaged.”

Briefing them on the situation in Ghana, President Akufo-Addo said the Asempa Budget – the first fiscal statement of his administration – has outlined the economic vision of his government, as well as pointed to the direction in which his government wants the country to go.

“We believe that if we can empower and stimulate the private sector in Ghana – those who do their own businesses and take risk – if we can strengthen them, it will be the quickest way we can develop our economy and thereby create jobs and bring prosperity to our country,” he said.

The president indicated that “a lot of taxes that had been irritating many private sector operatives were removed; GH¢1 billion in taxes was taken out of government’s revenue, in order to have this money remain at the level of private businesses for them to be able to reinvest it in the economy.”

President Akufo-Addo reiterated the commitment of his government towards fulfilling the promises he made to Ghanaians in the run-up to the December 7, 2016 elections.

Visits To CERMI, National Data Centre
Later in the day, he visited the Centre for Renewable Energy and Industrial Maintenance (CERMI).

CERMI was established to build capacities on the different technologies of renewable energy such as solar, photovoltaic and wind.

By the year 2020, Cape Verde aims at achieving a 100% penetration rate of renewable energy in use in all parts of the country.

The ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency, whose Executive Director is a Ghanaian, Mahama Kappiah, is working closely with CERMI to this end.

President Akufo-Addo was also taken on a tour of Cape Verde’s National Data Centre (NOSi), which was established in August 2015.

The Centre aims at providing services in areas such as finance, distance higher education, research and development of software and other solutions in the field of new technologies.

Coordinator of NOSi, Jorge Lopes, who took President Akufo-Addo on the tour said, “This infrastructure allows us to store and process the data safely; from this centre, Cape Verde can offer storage services and data processing, software development, ‘hosting’ websites, etc., to institutions – national and international – amongst others.”

Among the several places he visited was Cidade Velha (Portuguese word for old city) former capital of Cape Verde and the oldest settlement in that country, which is currently the seat of the Ribeira Grande de Santiago municipality.

The old city was the first European colonial settlement in the tropics.

Some of the planned original designs of the site are still intact, including a royal fortress, two towering churches and a 16th century town square.

Today, Cidade Velha is an Atlantic shipping stop and centre for Creole culture.

The city became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2009.

President Akufo-Addo was welcomed back home by Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia and senior government officials.

By Charles Takyi-Boadu, Presidential Correspondent