Ghana Opposes Singling Out African Countries for Covid-19 Travel Bans - - President Akufo-Addo

5 December 2021

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo (Right) in a elbow shake with Cyril Ramaphosa

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has stated Ghana's opposition to all attempts to single out African countries for the imposition of travel bans, as instruments of immigration control.

That position, President Akufo-Addo said, was premised on the fact that "the omicron variant of COVID-19, which was recently sequenced and reported by South African scientists, was discovered much earlier in the Netherlands."

Addressing a joint press conference with South Africa's President, Cyril Ramaphosa, at the Jubilee House, Accra on Saturday, President Akufo-Addo said Ghana was firmly opposed to all attempts by the US, UK, and EU to bar entry to travellers from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Egypt, Mozambique, Malawi and Nigeria, as a result of Omicron variant.

South Africa President, Cyril Ramaphosa on Saturday called on President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo at the Jubilee House, Accra, to strengthen relations between the two countries, as well as call for solidarity against travel bans imposed on his country, including Nigeria and some southern African countries due to the Omicron virus.

The latest Covid-19 variant was identified on Nov. 25 by scientists in South Africa and has since been detected in more than 20 countries, including the U.S.

President Akufo-Addo said the two leaders exchanged views and information about the common fight against COVID-19, and assured, "Ghana's unflinching support to South Africa and, indeed, to all other African countries, in the common search for an end to the pandemic."

President Akufo-Addo told the media that the South African President's visit was to deepen the ties of cooperation and the bonds of friendship between the two countries.

He said the two leaders discussed at length how to boost further political and economic relations, cultural and people-to-people exchanges, as well as cooperation at the continental and multilateral levels.

The two leaders also deliberated on how to drive investment opportunities, domestic and foreign, into both countries, and the realisation of the 17 SDGs, and the need for enhanced cooperation and partnership in education, trade and industry, agriculture, defence, immigration, environment, science and technology, petroleum and hydrocarbon activities, and tourism.

President Akufo-Addo thanked President Ramaphosa and South Africa for the support Ghana received in its bid for the Secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), and the non-permanent seat at the United Nations Security Council.

He assured that "Ghana will make sure that Africa's voice is heard loud and clear in the deliberations of the Security Council, both on matters affecting the continent and on global issues, and we will consult broadly to define Africa's interests."

President Akufo-Addo said Africa was confronted with multiple threats, mainly the territorial integrity of some of its states, and he and his South African colleague agreed that the Security Council should continue with its "peacekeeping mandates on the continent."

President Akufo-Addo applauded President Ramaphosa for the efforts to consolidate the peace in the Southern African Development Community (SADC), which was confronted with the violent insurgency in Mozambique's northern province of Cabo Delgado.

"We, in ECOWAS, have much to learn from this, in our fight against the terrorist threat in the Sahel. President Ramaphosa expressed great interest in this fight, and pledged the support of SADC to ECOWAS within the context of the AU," he said.

Such cooperation between regional bodies, President Akufo-Addo indicated, was important for ridding the continent of all the anti-democratic elements who have surfaced, and were seeking to destabilise and threaten the peace and security of Africa, and compromise the efforts at realising "The Africa we Want", as enshrined in AU Agenda 2063.

He assured that Ghana would continue to collaborate with South Africa to find solutions to widespread poverty, elimination of irregular migration, insecurity and human rights violations, terrorism and violent extremism, human and drug trafficking, piracy, and climate change and its attendant, negative impact on the environment and livelihoods.

On his part, President Cyril Ramaphosa said his last visit to Ghana was in 2019, where the International Relations Minister of South Africa and Ghana's Foreign Affairs Minister signed an agreement establishing the Bi-National commission which had elevated the relations between the two countries to head of state level

That agreement the South African President said, had put the relations between the two countries to a category of a strategic relationship which underscores the long-standing relations "between our two nations."

"Today, Ghana and South Africa held the inaugural session of the Bi-National Commission, which was a very historic moment as part of efforts to strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries."

The two countries also signed several agreements to consolidate the relations between them.

The South African President said his visit to Ghana had reinforced the bilateral relations between South Africa and Ghana and strengthened partnerships directed at African development and cooperation in multilateral forums.

The two countries also explored ways to leverage the opportunities presented by the African Continental Free Trade Area for mutual benefit and with greater support for businesses conducting intra-African trade and investment.

President Ramaphosa was accompanied by a delegation of Ministers and business leaders given growing economic relations and people-to-people interaction between South Africa and Ghana.

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