By Kathrin Ammann
Feb 28, 2020 – swissinfo.ch
For the first time in 60 years, Switzerland has organised a state visit for a leader from Sub-Saharan Africa – Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo. Two Ghanaian journalists give their insights into his visit.
Unlike other western countries, Switzerland and Ghana do not share a long history, explains Isaac Kaledzi, a journalist with Deutsche Welle. Switzerland’s influence in the west African country has been religious, he adds. From 1815 onwards, Christian missionaries from the Basel region travelled to Ghana to win converts. They translated the Bible into local languages and founded schools, hospitals and businesses.
For the Ghanaian people, Akufo-Addo’s visit to Switzerland is just “one of many” foreign trips, explains Kaledzi, adding that many locals are probably not aware that the president is in Switzerland. They have other things to worry about such as “how to find their next meal”, he says.
The state visit will therefore probably not make the main news headlines in Ghana. But Salifu Abdul-Rahman, senior assistant editor of the Ghanaian Times newspaper, believes the local press will not just ignore the visit; several journalists from Ghana are accompanying the president.
Ghana is a priority country for Switzerland’s economic cooperation and development programmes implemented by the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).
From 2017 to 2020, a total of some CHF75 million (around $77.6 million) is earmarked for SECO’s economic development cooperation with Ghana.
Ghana is Switzerland’s main supplier of cocoa beans and among its top ten gold suppliers.
The talks in Bern on Friday will focus on economic relations and the possibility of closer cooperation on environmental matters, such as climate protection and the disposal of hazardous waste. They will also address cooperation in the field of peace and security policy.