The President of the Republic of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, has commended President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for being adjudged the “African of the Year” by Forbes Magazine.
The President of South Africa could not hide his joy when he was giving remarks at a state dinner held in his honour last Saturday, as part of his visit to Ghana.
The South African President was full of praise for his Ghanaian counterpart for recognition as the African of the Year by the renowned media entity.
Justifying why the Ghanaian President deserved the award, President Ramaphosa extolled the virtues of President Akufo-Addo, which led to Forbes awarding him.
“We are proud of this recognition, Your Excellency, because it speaks of your commitment; it speaks of your creativity, your innovation, and your clear strategic vision of what should happen in your own country, as well as on our beloved African Continent,” he said.
Recognition of vision
President Ramaphosa also stressed that the recognition of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo by Forbes was about his vision for Ghana in particular, and the African Continent as a whole.
“The recognition by the magazine is about your vision, not only for Ghana, but for the people of our continent as well,” the South African President stated.
Not only was President Ramaphosa pleased with President Akufo-Addo’s recognition as the African of the Year, but also impressed by the cultural heritage of the Ghanaian people.
Ghana-South Africa Business Forum
The President of the Republic of South Africa urged politicians and, by extension, governments in Africa to allow businesses to thrive in their various countries.
Instead of sticking their noses in projects, he believes the government should create an enabling business environment and leave projects execution to those involved in the business.
President Ramaphosa was speaking yesterday at the Ghana-South Africa Business Forum, held in Accra.
The South African President and his counterpart, President Akufo-Addo, graced the forum as part of the two-day state visit to Ghana by Mr. Ramaphosa.
In his address, President Ramaphosa highlighted what the forum sought to achieve, some of which he underscored were discussed by the two presidents a day before the forum.
“The last and most important point which I want to truly appreciate is how you have said that you want to depoliticise projects. This I support,” he said.
He continued: “Africa must now move away from too much political involvement, also by politicians. I want to stress this point, where politicians put their fingers in project awards, project executions, and, may I say, their dirty fingers in all those projects. We must move away from that.”
He believed that if African was going to be a successful continent, it needed to depoliticise project awards and executions.
He stressed that it should rely on professionals, finance those projects, and standardise the methods of executing the projects.
Further, he said, there should not be arbitrariness where a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of a company, who has not complied with a regulation is arrested and put into prison for such infractions.
We need to standardise the way we work, and I must say that this is one of the issues that the President and I discussed so that we can find a way of evolving a good value system at the business level as well, which can be adhered to throughout our continent, he opined.
President Ramaphosa stated that investors from his country continue to have faith in Ghana’s business-friendly environment.
He described the Ghana-South Africa business forum as one of opportunity and promises, and urged his people to invest hugely in Ghana.
Basing on data, he said that 16% of Africa’s combined GDP derives from intra-African trade. 72 percent of Europe’s combined GDP derives from intra-European trade.
He maintained that these two statistics told everything about the relative economic development of Africa and Europe.
So, the need for us to focus on what we can do to dramatically increase intra-African trade is laid bare by these statistics. Truly, you want to generate prosperity on our continent. The success of the AfCFTA is absolutely critical to our capacity to do that, “he remarked.
President Akufo-Addo believed it was not for nothing that the secretariat of the AfCFTA is located in Ghana and the first Secretary General was a South African. He owed it to God.
As God would have it, At this critical moment in our history,
According to President Akufo-Addo, governments on the continent cannot develop the AfCFTA, only the private sector can.
“The South African chairman of the business advisory council said that one of the things that has attracted him about doing business in Ghana is that there is a government in place that sets policy and then gets out of the way of doing business. I want to reiterate that I’m very happy to hear that the South African investor is saying that.
“Because it goes to support the statement that the South African president has made that governments should get out of the business of business and let the business people get on with doing business, “he added.
In his address, President Akufo-Addo reassured the South African business community, which had appreciated the business-friendly environment in Ghana, that such would continue to be the position of Ghana under his leadership.
He said that even in the making of policy, the government would be very interested in having an import from the business communities of the two countries so that they could be guided by facts on the ground.
The Trades Ministers for both Ghana and South Africa, the General Secretary of the AfCFTA, and the CEO of the Ghana Investment Promotions Centre all took turns addressing the forum.