President John Evans Atta Mills and his Chinese counterpart, Hu Jintao, on Monday signed a deal for China to give Ghana a loan of three billion dollars to develop her energy sector. Specific areas to be targeted under the deal include infrastructure development, job creation and the development and other derivatives of oil and gas.
The package, which would be disbursed through the China Development Bank, constitutes the first phase of Chinese assistance, which would start rolling out in the next six months after the Government of Ghana has devised a framework for the package.
The deal was announced following close-door bilateral talks between President Mills and the Chinese President held at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, on the second day of President Mills’ five-day state visit to China.
In addition to the three billion-dollar package, China would also give Ghana preferential buyers’ credit of 260 million dollars for the expansion of the Kpong Water Works project and another loan of $150 million for Ghana’s e-governance project.
Briefing journalists after the meeting, Mr Koku Anyidoho, Head of Communications at the Office of the President, said President Mills committed himself to supervising the operational areas of the facility. Consequently, the project areas are clearly and comprehensively demarcated for monitoring.
“On the basis of equality, mutual benefits consultation, the Government of Ghana and China Development Bank shall set up a long-term strategic co-operation through a long-term project financing for infrastructural development and have agreed to bring export competitiveness and co-operation in the oil and gas sectors, their derivatives and the agricultural sectors,” Mr Anyidoho said.
President Mills, in his remarks before the meeting went into a closed-door session, commended the Chinese leader for his astute leadership and marketing of China to the world.
He recalled that they had exchanged visits when they both served their nations as Vice Presidents, and shared fond memories of activities in those days for the mutual benefits of their people.
President Jintao observed that the relationship between the two nations dated back to the last 50 years, adding that the visit would make for new opportunities in the relations of their nations. President Jintao thanked Ghana for sharing the pain when China was recently hit by a landslide.
In all, eight agreements that cover Chinese financial assistance, transfer of medical equipment, malaria drugs from China to Ghana, would be signed.
Earlier in the day, President Mills laid a wreath at the Monument of the Peoples Heroes and visited the Chinese National Olympic Stadium called the Bird’s Nest.
On arrival in China on Sunday, President Mills stressed Sino-Ghana relations and collaboration for mutual benefits.
He said it was time the two nations, and for that matter China and Africa, got together to chart a new path because they had similar backgrounds and past experiences, stressing that collaboration among them would help to achieve the common objectives of raising the living standards of the people.
In a brief statement on his arrival at the Beijing Capital International Airport, President Mills told the welcoming party, led by the Chinese Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister, Zhat Jin, that Ghana welcomed collaboration and improve ties with China to accelerate her level of development. GNA