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General News of Friday, 29 July 2011

Source: GNA

Ghana/Mali sign MOU on PJCC decisions

Accra, July 29, GNA- Ghana and Mali have signed a Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) between their Ministries of Foreign Affairs for the joint monitoring and implementation of the sessions of the Permanent Joint Commission for Cooperation (PJCC). The MOU, which was signed at the closing ceremony of the 11th Session of the Ghana-Mali Permanent Joint Commission on Cooperation in Accra, on Friday, was to ensure effective implementation of the decisions of the PJCC for the benefit of the citizens of both countries.

In line with this, the two countries have agreed to meet during the third quarter of 2012 to evaluate the progress of the implementation of agreed decisions and programs, in order to address challenges identified.

They also agreed to set up a Standing Committee, consisting of the co-chairmen of the five working groups, established during the 11th session, to follow, monitor and evaluate the implementation of the decisions of the session in their respective areas of competence. The five working groups were: the Trade Industry, Finance and Investment, Transport, Energy, Agriculture and Environment, Research and Development, Employment and Social Welfare, Education, Health, Culture, Sports, Tourism, Security, Defence, Foreign Affairs and Legal and Judicial matters.

The Session also yielded several agreements geared towards improving relations between Ghana and Mali in the areas covered by the working groups, which were included in a joint communiqu=E9 signed by the Ghanaian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration and the Malian Minister of Foreign Affairs and international Cooperation at the closing ceremony.

Some of the agreements included the organization of meetings between the customs administrations of both countries, to help find solutions to problems hindering trade, provision of broad information to the customs administrations and economic operators within the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) region on the form and content of documents required for cross-border trade and popularizing the investment codes of the two countries so as to attract investors.

The communiqu=E9 said the two parties would also take political decisions to adopt the necessary stringent policies to address the issue of sustainable environmental management, stressing that, 93poorly managed environment threatens the health and food security of the respective peoples".

They identified Jatropha, Sweet Sorghum and Sugar cane as alternative sources of renewable energy, and agreed to urge their sovereign governments to support the research and production, especially of sweet sorghum beyond subsistence level to commercialization.

On transport, both parties noted the effective operation of the improved road transport government project and the support of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA)/Trade Hub, in monitoring the situation on the Accra-Tema-Techiman-Paga-Sikasso-Bougonni-Bamako corridor.

Ghana however expressed concern over non-compliance of the UEMOA states, including Mali, of the ECOWAS Axle-load Protocol. Ghana and Mali also agreed to review the existing Air Services Agreement, in line with the provisions of the Yamoussoukro Decision by the end of 2011, as well as the cooperation agreements on Transport and Maritime transit.

Both countries have further agreed to establish social cooperation to share the experiences of women's agricultural associations, exchange training programmes in handicrafts and textile production and best practices on domestication of international and regional protocols.

Other areas that they agreed to increase cooperation in were health, culture, sports, education and tourism; where Ghana extended an invitation to Mali to participate in Ghanaian events such as the Pan-African Festival (PANAFEST) and the National Festival of Arts and Culture (NAFAC).

They agreed also to cooperate in the areas of security, foreign affairs, legal and judicial matters and renew cooperation on bilateral and multilateral issues especially at the level of ECOWAS, the African Union, United Nations and other international bodies to which they belong.

Alhaji Muhammad Mu muni, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, commended the delegates for the open and constructive manner in which they approached deliberations, saying that, the session represented an important and long overdue milestone in the development of the closer relations between Ghana and Mali. He stated that the agreements made constituted the basis for cooperation between the two countries and called on officials to concentrate on their practical implementation to realize concrete achievements.

He also urged them to involve all identifiable implementing agencies, both public and private to ensure that they obtain the requisite synergies towards attainment of their goals. Dr. Badara Aliou Macalou, Minister of Malians Abroad and African Integration of the Republic of Mali, expressed the hope that the recommendations made at the session will be a dashboard for future cooperation between the two countries and when implemented, help to reduce poverty.

He expressed appreciation to the government and people of Ghana for the warm and brotherly reception given to him and his delegation. The 12th session of the PJCC would be held in Bamako in 2013.

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