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General News of Thursday, 1 November 2001

Source: Graphic

President in Historic visit to Canada

PRESIDENT John Agyekum Kufuor leaves Accra tomorrow for a state visit to Canada at the invitation of the Governor -General, Madam Adrienne Clarkson and the Prime Minister, Mr Jean Chretien.

The two Canadian leaders will use the visit of President Kufuor, the first by a Ghanaian sitting Head of State to seek his views on global economic, political and diplomatic issues with regard to the G8 Summit which will be held in Ottawa, Canada, next year.

As a follow-up to the invitation, the Canadian High Commissioner to Ghana, Mr Jean Pierre Bolduc, yesterday called on President Kufuor at the Castle to brief him on areas where Canada and Ghana can co-operate in the international arena, especially when the global economy is becoming more complex.

Mr Bolduc said President Kufuor’s visit is of extreme importance to Canada because “my government is determined to support democratic processes in Ghana”.

He said the relations between Ghana and Canada is multi-faceted because Canada has offered a lot of assistance in education, health, rural development and trade.

Mr Bolduc expressed the hope that President Kufuor will use the opportunity to meet Canadian businessmen who are desirous of doing business in Ghana.

President Kufuor praised Canada for being supportive of Ghana’s economic development efforts.

“I therefore, take the invitation as an honour to explore more economic avenues for Ghana,” the President said.

President Kufuor said the G8 is undoubtedly the most powerful economic bloc and the invitation will therefore give him the opportunity to state the case of Ghana, Africa and indeed the rest of the developing world.

A statement issued by the Canadian High Commission on the visit, said while in Canada President Kufuor will discuss further cooperation between the two nations, as well as the Genoa Plan for Africa, mandated at the G8 Summit held in 2001, to respond to the New Partnership for African Development (formerly called the New African Initiative).

It said : "The state Visit of the Ghanaian President provides Canada with an excellent opportunity to reaffirm our support for Ghana’s continuing democratic development and to encourage Ghana's economic reforms", said the High Commissioner". As Canada prepares to host the G8 Summit in June 2002, we welcome this opportunity to consult with a country like Ghana".

While in Ottawa, President Kufuor will meet with Governor Adrienne Clarkson and with the Honourable David Kilgour, Secretary of State for Latin America and Africa.

He will be visiting the Canadian Parliament to attend Question Period and to meet with the Speakers of both the Senate and of the House of Commons.

The President will also meet with the Honourable Maria Minna, Minister for International Cooperation, as well as senior officials at the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). They will discuss Canada's development assistance programme in Ghana, in which is one of CIDA's most significant country programme in Africa and the Middle east, both in terms of commitment to long-term development and financial resources.

President Kufuor will also visit Toronto where he will meet with members of the city's Ghanaian community and with representatives of the business community.