To establish an Association is not an easy job, and especially when it becomes a journey to undertake. The first major step was taken by the Osagyefo, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, when on August 18, 1961, he and his host, President Liu Shaoqi signed the first FRIENDSHIP TREATY between the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of Ghana.
This was however, a government to government relationship which was signed before a crowd of over 250,000 spectators in then Peking – now Beijing. It was thus thought that there was the need for a better opened avenue to bring the peoples of the two countries closer beyond the political friendship avenue.
That is how the GHANA-CHINA FRIENDSHIP ASSOCIATION (GHACHIFA), undertook a journey some twenty (20) years ago 1999, to where we have reached.
As the Chinese have the saying of old that; “A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step…” so did it happen to the Ghana-China Friendship Association when after the first step was taken in 1961 in the bilateral context, a second one was taken in 1979 on a direct people to people rapport. It was initiated by a stalwart politician of blessed memory, the late Alhaji Imoro Egala, which was then in short known as “The Association”. That was however short-lived.
Twenty years thereafter, nobody heard of an Association of the sort until 1999 when a ‘young’ old man upon retiring as a Diplomat, felt he was too ‘young’ to be called a retiree/pensioner and so, chose to occupy himself – doing ‘something’. That something is the story of GHACHIFA.
Aside the above consideration, what drove him most was the fresh reminiscing of his last duty tour being China, as Ghana’s Ambassador to that country. China happened to be the longest and last place of stay in his diplomatic carrier. He still wanted to have the Chinese feel of finding himself in their midst – and not he alone, but pooling Ghanaians along with him.
This living eulogy is in honour of His Excellency, Ambassador Kojo Amoo-Gottfried. He is the lead founder and President of the Ghana-China Friendship Association (GHACHIFA). By divine occurrence, he witnessed the signing of the TRIENDSHIP TREATY when he was a student activist and transited in China, on his way to Vietnam. This experience of witnessing the signing of the political Friendship Treaty also influenced him to form the Association which will advance further the bond of friendship.
Ambassador Kojo Amoo-Gottfried took that visionary lead and consulted other progressive-minded stalwarts of the land such as; the late Jun Tak Hu (a Chinese Business Executive), Mr. John Emmanuel Kwamena Moses, Mr. William Yiji Cobblah, and Nana Ekua Busia, which led to the registration of the GHACHIFA in 1999. The late Industrialist, Madam Esther Ocloo, lent her support in that journey before departing to eternity.
One of the objectives that spurred them on to form the Association was/is to, aside the bilateral relations Ghana has with China since both became Sovereign States, to foster a direct PEOPLE TO PEOPLE relationship. As such membership of the Association is opened to citizens of both countries who believe in the principles upon which GHACHIFA is founded.
But one may ask, why join the Association and what benefits can one derive from it?
In collaboration with the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China and the Ghana-China Chamber of Commerce, GHACHIFA is to engineer the following:
- Facilitating members to study Chinese languages for a fee
- Facilitating programmes in Technological transfer from China to Ghana to enhance the development of some of the strategic sectors of the economy; be it in Communication, Agricultural sectors as well as the Private Sector
- Promotion of Ghana’s Cultural diversity in China and vice versa
- Making available, packages for both students of Second Cycle and Tertiary Institutions to advance in fields of knowledge in Academics, Social and Culture of the Chines people.
The dream, vision – and all that influenced the formation of GHACHIFA, though not totally achieved, has made significant inroads.
The People to People relationship encompasses a whole lot which include:
- To enhance and promote deeper collaboration between the People, Institutions and competent Authorities of Ghana and China;
- To strengthen the bond of solidarity which happily exists between the two countries;
- To foster collaboration in the political, economic, social and cultural spheres of both Ghana and China;
- To encourage exchange of visits, initiate and promote projects of mutual benefits for both Ghana and China;
- To help establish SISTER-CITY relations between cities in Ghana and China; and
- To promote the study of Chinese languages among the Ghanaian Community and vice versa. Much of the above projections have been achieved as GHACHIFA cruises further to accomplishing more of her goals.
GHACHIFA’s success story so far could not have been possible without the tremendous support given by the Chinese Embassy and her citizens in the country. It is this wonderful relationship that has given GHACHIFA out as the most fledgling and somehow flamboyant countries’ People-to-People relationship in Ghana.
The Embassy, since GHACHIFA’s formation, embraced it and has since worked hand in hand with its Executives and members to our mutual benefits. Areas it has teamed up with the Association to give support recently and worth recording here, is the building and equipping of Information Technology and Communication Centers in the Asante, Northern, Upper East, Upper West and Eastern Regions of Ghana. The rest will be covered as time moves on. It has always engaged the Association in areas it deems the Association can collaborate to the benefit of the people of both countries.
One other area the Embassy has lent credence and support is the Commemoration of signing of the Friendship Treaty annually since 2011 when we commemorated the event on August 18. It has ever been so since.
Beyond the above, GHACHIFA has over the years effectively engaged citizens of China living in Ghana who have together either as individuals or groups in activities that bring us closer to each other. Notable groups within the Chinese Communities that have dealt with GHACHIFA over the years include: The Ghana-Chinese Chamber of Commerce; Association of Chinese Societies in Ghana; Fujian Provincial Residents in Ghana etc.
The Embassy, Confucius Institute of the University of Ghana, and the Association of Chinese Societies in Ghana must be singled out for special mention for having culturally integrated us in a number of the yearly celebration of some important Chinese festivals they observe here in Ghana. The ‘Animal Symbol Calendar’ they celebrate every year, be it the Dog, dragon, Monkey, Snake etc, has been revealing.
As GHACHIFA launches its year-long GHACHIFA@20 ANNIVERSARY, it will be ungrateful on our part if we don’t appreciate individual Ghanaian/Chinese personalities and companies who have been resourcing and dealing with the Association over the two decades of its formation. Some of them have been that magnanimous in sponsoring even our oversea engagements
The few to be captured are: Mr. Tang Hong of CAITEC fame and the proud owner of TANG PALACE HOTEL; Mr. Samuel Adetola and the proud owner of THE CAPITAL GROUP LIMITED; REGENCY INSURANCE; Mr. Ningqiang Xu and his SENTUO STEEL LIMITED; Mr. Kwabena Abankwah-Yeboah and his SHARP PHARMACEUTICALS LIMITED; Kirvin Xia Dedong and his CHINA GEZHOUBA GROUP INTERNATIONAL ENGINEERING COMPANY LIMITED; Mr. Al-Hassan Ligbi and proud owner of the NASSA GROUP; Mr. Gabriel Forson of GOLDMAN CAPITAL GROUP and lastly KIRK INSURANCE who just joined as one of our corporate members. There is a tall list of others which space will not allow us capture all.
As we launch the year-long celebration of GHACHIFA@20, the Association appreciates all those who, in the near-two decades of its formation have in diverse ways helped in growing it to this stage – we say AYEKOO to you all. GHACHIFA is grateful to all the prominent people and organizations for their benevolence to us.
Whether your name is mentioned here or not you deserve to ‘beat’ your chest with pride – being part of the success story as we launch the celebration under the theme: DEEPENING THE FRIENDSHIP TIES BETWEEN THE PEOPLES OF GHANA AND CHINA: OPENING A NEW CHAPTER IN CORPORATE ENGAGEMENT BETWEEN GHANAIAN AND CHINESE BUSINESS ENTITIES.
All are welcome as the celebration begins on August 18, 2018 throughout to 2019.
By: Dr. Benjamin Anyagre, (Ag. General Secretary)