The soaring relationship between china and the African continent will provide several economic opportunities for the latter if the cordial partnership continues to exist, both the Vice president and the Chinese Ambassador to Ghana have pledged in different ways.
The Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia used the event which was held on the theme, “Building Resilient Industries and Infrastructure for Economic Transformation in Africa: The Role of China” to deflect criticism that government had gone for a US$19bn loan from China, maintaining that it was a joint venture between two countries.
“…We developed this new financing model… We are saying we can’t borrow, so essentially what we need was a new way forward and we sought to leverage less than 5 per cent of our bauxite to unlock close to 20 billion dollars,” Dr Bawumia explained. This new deal, he said, is a “win-win” situation which government looks to replicate with other countries as a way of attracting investment.
The vice President explained, “We could not ask China to give us aid to finance this quantum of investment we needed. We could not borrow this quantum of money we needed, but we knew we had bauxite sitting in the ground.”
He indicated that Ghana has over 460 million metric tonnes of alumina, which is trading at US$ 400 per tonne, at Nyinahin and Kyebi in Ghana’s reserves, therefore if the country produces alumina, the country can earn US$184million but “if you refine it into aluminum then out of those same reserves we will get US$460billion and this is only for bauxite”.
“We have immediate infrastructure needs of say between US $15 to 20 billion in areas such as rail, water, energy and so on. So we have US $460 billion potentially sitting in the ground somewhere and we need US$ 20billion for our rapid economic transformation,” he pointed out.
He continued: “So we need development partners to refine this bauxite, but we want to develop it in Ghana. That is why we want to set up a refinery in Ghana so we can refine and export.”
Her Excellency sun Baohong, Chinese Ambassador to Ghana, told participant at a China-Africa Joint Research and Exchange Programme organised by the Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG) that china intends to strengthen the connectivity of development strategies with African countries.
Ambassador Baohong said, “China will energetically help African countries with capacity building. If the youth are strong, the country will be strong. We will continue to help lift the 400 million people in Africans out of poverty and assist the African countries to educate and train 200 million adolescents in Africa.”
According to her, China would continue to send experts, establish vocational training centres, strengthen personnel exchanges and training and provide government scholarships for excellent African students to study in china so as to help Africa solve the problem of brain drain in realizing industrialization.
The Chinese Ambassador to Ghana reiterated that China-Africa relationship has reached the best stage in history and their relationship is facing unprecedented opportunities, adding, “China will continue to make contribution to economic transformation and sustainable development of Africa.”
On his part, Dr Emmanuel Akwetey, the Executive Director praised the vice President’s efforts in securing an amount of US$19 billion from the Chinese government support the economy.
Dr Akwetey noted, “If we could do more of that I believe it will set us up very well to transform our country, our economy, our society, our nation, in the next generation of 30 years.” He was glad that part of the funds had been earmarked for government’s One-District-One-Factory programme at the district level.
“For me, the idea that US$2bn of the amount will go to the One-District-One-Factory, which for me is a metaphor for a government that sets its focus on steering our country towards industrialisation, infrastructural development, and transformation…I think that indeed it is an important breakthrough that we should celebrate because historically we have not had that amount of money going into local development in Ghana,” he stated.