New Year Message from H.E. Akua Sena Dansua, Ambassador
Happy New Year, Dear Friends and Compatriots. Welcome to a New Year full of freshness and hope!
Last year, 2015 was an eventful year for our Mission here in Berlin. We had the rare honour of hosting twice, our President, H.E. John Dramani Mahama, on an official visit in January and in September as the Guest of Honour at the 15th International Economic Forum on Africa. He was accompanied by on both occasions by Honourable Ministers and business delegations including Hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Hon. Hanna Serwaah Tetteh, Hon. Seth Terkper, Minister for Finance and Hon. Dr. Ekwow Spio Garbrah, Minister of Trade.
Other high-level Ministerial visits hosted by Mission included that of Hon. Mahama Ayariga, Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Hon. Dr. Kweku Agyeman-Mensah, Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing and former Minister for Power, Hon. Dr. Kwabena Donkor.
These visits were significant as they symbolised President Mahama's great leadership and achievements as well as Ghana´s recognition in the Comity of Nations. These visits also provided the needed impetus for the Governments of Ghana and Germany to deepen bilateral relations and to explore new areas of cooperation. The conclusion of bilateral negotiations between the Governments of Ghana and Germany in Berlin, in June 2015 led to the commitment of 34 Million Euros (GHC 138.38 Million) by Germany to Ghana's development programme for the 2015-2017 medium term, for which Ghana is very grateful.
Also in the year under review, Mission worked closely with its stakeholders, including the various German Federal Ministries, Agencies and Institutions, Federal States Governments including the North Rhine Westphalia and Bavaria as well as other non-state actors such as the German African Business Association (Afrika Verein), and the Deutsche Welle on various programmes to among others boost bilateral, trade and investment relations with Ghana. These activities constitute a key component of our work, and we wish to thank all of you who have been part of this partnership and collaboration.
Another notable achievement of Mission last year was tremendous improvement in relations with the Ghanaian Diasporan Community in Germany with the establishment of a Diaspora Desk Office and visits to explain Government policies and programmes and to discuss their welfare. In this regard, I wish to express gratitude to the Union of Ghanaian Associations in Germany, (UGAG) as well as other Unions, Societies and Groups across Germany for their immense support and cooperation. We look forward to continuing the partnership and collaboration in mutual trust.
In our desire to improve service delivery to our clientele and also in line with global trends, Mission last year introduced the online visa application system and will this year introduce the online biometric passport application system to fast track passport acquisition by our Ghanaian diasporan community. We therefore kindly entreat our clients and compatriots to cooperate with us as we seek to improve our consular services.
Last year, Ghana experienced an energy challenge but I am happy to report that Government has taken pragmatic steps to address it. Before the end of last year, the Karpower Barge added 220 MW of power to the national grid. Other initiatives expected to actualise soon are the The Kpone Thermal Power Plant (KTPP) i220 MW, the Tico Expansion Project, 110 MW, the Asogli Phase 2 Project, 180 MW and the VRA TT 2 PP Expansion Project, 38 MW. It must however be emphasized that Ghana's energy challenge in not exceptional as several Countries in Africa and in other parts of the world are experiencing similar energy challenges due largely to global warming, equipment malfunctioning, human error and insufficient investment in the energy sector due to budgetary constraints.
On the international scene, terrorism, the enormous refugee and migrant movement were perhaps the greatest challenges in 2015 due to their scale and impact. We commend the leadership provided by Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel in the handling of the refugee and migrant crisis. The crisis is yet to be resolved and we can only hope that the international community will recommit itself and scale up efforts to finding the right and lasting solution to the crisis. We also recommend Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel on her recognition as the Personality of the Year, 2015" by the Time Magazine.
Also last year, I presented my Letters of Credence to the Heads of State of Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania and Poland, Countries to which I am concurrently accredited and also initiated some bilateral agreements some of which have already been signed.
This year is an election year in Ghana and all eyes will be on Ghana to once again demonstrate to the rest of the world that our democratic practice has indeed come of age. Government has already pledged its commitment to creating the right atmosphere for a peaceful, transparent, free and fair election. I therefore call on all Ghanaians across the world and especially in Germany, our development partners, friends and well-wishers, to support the course of a stable and peaceful Ghana before, during and after the election. Let us desist from acts that have the tendency to plunge Ghana into chaos and instability. Ghana is the only place we call home.
As Ambassador, I am committed to leading a team that will continue to deepen bilateral relations with Germany and our Countries of concurrent accreditation as well as serve the interest of Ghana and the Ghanaian Diaspora in these Countries. I will continue to operate an open door policy that welcomes positives ideas and suggestions on how to achieve these objectives. We therefore encourage our stakeholders, to work with the Mission to make 2016 a year of greater achievements and success stories.
Once again, I wish all of you a Prosperous New Year. May 2016 be a year of renewed commitment and enthusiasm to deepen our engagement for mutual benefit.
Thank You and God bless!