‘Venezuela interested in joining the African Continental Free Trade Zone’

  • July 13, 2018

The Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, His Excellency Jorge Arreaza disclosed that Venezuela was interested in joining the African Continental Free Trade Zone which was being arranged by the African Union, adding that, “this will not only benefit the two countries but African and Latin American countries”.

He stated this during a two-day visit to Ghana as part of a three-nation tour of Africa. During the visit, Ghana and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela signed a Memorandum of Understanding to renew the cooperation between them for their mutual benefit.

At the signing event which took place on Monday July 9, 2018 the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Hon. Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey (MP) stated that the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries dates back to 1964 and had flourished over the years.  However, it was time to extend the mutually beneficial cooperation into other sectors particularly, security, health, education, technical expertise and skills development.

Hon. Ayorkor Botchwey indicated that “although Ghana and Venezuela had signed a Cooperation Framework Agreement and a Memorandum of Understanding for Political Consultations, there is now an urgent need for both sides to take advantage of the various opportunities that exist in our countries by enhancing interactions in trade and investment activities particularly in the Oil and Gas Sector”.

The Minister added that, as a leading player in the global oil and gas industry as well as a founding member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Venezuela holds the world’s largest proven oil reserves with crude oil being its main export product, “it is my hope that our two countries would partner in the oil and gas sector for our mutual benefit”.

She noted that Government has adopted a three-pronged economic transformation programme to accelerate investments in agriculture, strategic infrastructure and industrialization, through the introduction of initiatives such as the “One District One Factory”, “One Village One Dam” and “Planting for Food and Jobs”.

She further indicated that Government believes that these initiatives should be the catalyst to propel the nation’s economic transformation agenda through job creation to improve livelihoods. She urged Venezuela to consider partnering Ghana in the initiatives.

Hon. Ayorkor Botchwey also took the opportunity to express Ghana’s appreciation to Venezuela for assisting the country with the supply of subsidized oil in the past. She also thanked them for offering scholarships to 10 Ghanaian students in 2010 to undertake undergraduate studies in medicine and food science as well as the donation of teaching and learning materials to the Likpe Mate Primary School in the Volta Region.

For his part, Mr. Jorge Arreaza indicated that his country had a large reserve of gold and cocoa and will count on the expertise of Ghana to develop them for the mutual benefit of both countries. He added that Venezuela believed that the future of the world depended on cooperation between countries and was confident that the relations between Ghana and Venezuela would be further strengthened.

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