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General News of Thursday, 9 September 2010

Source: GNA

Ghana to help develop Equatorial Guinea's agricultural sector

Accra, Sept 9, GNA - Ghana on Thursday pledged its support to the Republic of Equatorial Guinea to develop its agricultural sector, with an assurance of Government assistance to develop the private sector to make investment in agriculture more attractive.

Acknowledging that the private sector is the engine of growth, President Mills bemoaned the not too many wealthy private businessmen in Ghana, and assured actors in that sector of Government support to make them really become the engine of growth to attract more investors into the economy.

President Mills gave the assurance on the third day of the four-day state visit of President Teodoro Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea, during which he commissioned the SIDALCO Fertiliser Factory, located on the Accra-Tema Motorway.

The visit of the Equatorial Guinean President, which is at the invitation of President Mills, is to strengthen the bilateral ties between the two sister African nations, which dates back to history and has been growing in recent years.

The factory, established in 1998 from very humble beginnings in a garage by Mr David Lamptey, a former Member of Parliament, has grown into a $70 million venture, which produces liquid fertliser, with the capacity to supply the product to other West African nations.

President Mills stated his admiration for Mr Lamptey and his wife, Aku Shika, for what they had been able to achieve, which had become a showcase of 93what a Ghanaian has been able to do."

President Mills observed that agriculture remained the backbone of the economies of African countries, and that Government would co-operate with actors in the sector and make agriculture one of the pillars on which the economy would rest.

He assured his guest that Ghana would do whatever had to be done to support Equatorial Guinea's agricultural sector without any disappointment from SIDALCO.

For his part, President Mbasogo said he and his entourage were in Ghana to learn from the country's experience in the agricultural development.

He expressed the hope that agriculture would be the starting point of a joint co-operation between the two nations.

President Mbasogo announced the Government of Equatorial Guinea was in the process of diversifying its economy from the reliance on oil to the development of its agricultural sector, since oil reserves could be depleted.

He emphasised that the only way for African nations to maintain their sovereignty was to break all sorts of dependency with their colonial past, and promote intra African trade and the exchange of goods and services.

The Equatiorial Guninea President later visited the Cocoa Research Institute at Tafo in the Eastern Region to familiarise himself with the Institute's operations.

A joint communiqu=E9 is expected to be signed by the two leaders, who would also hold bilateral discussions before the Equatorial Guinea president leaves on Friday.

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