General News of Saturday, 30 July 2016
Ghana has decided to offer technical support to Liberia in the power sector. The decision was the outcome of bilateral talks held between President John Dramani Mahama and the Liberian President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, at the Flagstaff House when the Liberian leader paid a one-day official visit to Ghana yesterday.
The two leaders, who also discussed issues on trade, security and sub-regional integration, used the meeting to advance bilateral relations between the two countries.
Liberia has a challenge in power distribution, and President Mahama said the Ghana Grid Company Limited (GRIDCo), with experience in that area, would give technical support and training, both in hydro and thermal, to Liberia.
At a joint press briefing after the meeting, President Mahama mentioned the role the Volta River Authority (VRA) played in restoring power to Monrovia after the Liberian civil war and said "We believe we can build on that, especially in technical support. "
The planned support by Ghana to Liberia is against the background of the fact that VRA, GRIDCo and other companies in the power generation and distribution sector have vast experience in the area.
Ghana and Liberia have had longstanding and fruitful relations. Ghana played a key role in ending the civil war in Liberia.
The 4,000 strong ECOWAS Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) Force, under the command of Ghana's Lt. General Arnold Quainoo, that protected lives and property and provided security for the interim administration of Liberia, was drawn from Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and The Gambia
Touching on trade, President Mahama mentioned the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) and said it had become imperative for Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire to go ahead and sign interim EPAs with the European Union (EU).
"We will continue to work to ensure that we bring the whole sub-region on board so that it advances the cause of our integration," he added.
On security, President Mahama said the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) had reached agreement with Liberia to offer training and technical support to Liberia.
President Sirleaf expressed gratitude to Ghana for the support it continued to offer Liberia to overcome its challenges.
She said in the areas of infrastructure, mining and energy, Ghana had played a significant role in Liberia's development, adding, "We will learn from Ghana's experiences”.
"Liberia today is very heavily dependent on the public sector, and we are trying to change that because we know that at the end of the day sustainability is from the private sector," she said.
In that instance, she said, Liberia would learn from Ghana that had moved far in private sector growth.
Earlier, Mrs Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was received at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) by the Vice-President, Mr Kwesi Amissah-Arthur, when she arrived in Accra for a day’s official visit, reports Sebastian Syme.
The dignitaries who accompanied the Vice-President to meet the Liberian leader included the Interior Minister, Mr Prosper Bani; the Trade and Industry Minister, Dr Ekow Spio-Garbrah; the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Ms Sherry Ayittey; and Nii Lantey Vanderpuje, the Minister of Youth and Sports.
Diplomatic relations between the two countries date as far back as 1957 when Ghana attained independence from colonial rule.
The two countries have sought to expand cooperation in mutually rewarding areas, including economic trade and investment, energy and mineral resources, agriculture and livestock development, education and health, tourism and culture, science and technology, security and military cooperation, as well as foreign affairs.