The Australian government will partner Ghana to develop its agriculture sector to regain its position as a significant contributor of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Andrew Barnes, Australia High Commissioner to Ghana has stated.
He said developing the sector, considered as Ghana’s mainstay, providing jobs to about 70 per cent of the population, would create more employment opportunities for Ghanaians.
Speaking to The Ghanaian Times in an exclusive interview in Accra last week, Mr. Barnes hailed the decision by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to prioritise agriculture as a means to alleviating poverty and becoming self reliant.
He said the Australian government was impressed with the one dam-one village, one factory-one district policy by the new administration, and said it would woo investors into the Ghanaian economy.
“We are interested and impressed with the new government’s policy; it is a wonderful initiative and would attract investors from other countries,” he said.
Giving details on how Australia supports the sector, he said his country would translate its expertise in animal husbandry, horticulture, and crops to develop Ghana’s agriculture.
Touching on trade, Mr. Barnes said the two countries were not major trading partners because comparatively, agriculture and mining were the two countries’ mainstay.
On mining, he said considerably, Australia had huge investment worth millions of Australian dollars, in the Ghanaian mining sector, way ahead of Canada, United States of America and China.
“Australian extractive companies remain active in Ghana with project ranging from initial exploration to production in mining, mining services and also petroleum and offering a trade volume of exports nearly AU$100 million,” he said.
He said Australia adopted economic diplomacy as a policy since 2014 and had encouraged its Ghanaian counterpart and other West African countries to build an economy that works for everybody.
Mr. Barnes said Ghanaian students continued to benefit from Australian government two-year scholarship programmes.
Every year, he said scholarships were offered in the priority fields of agriculture productivity, extractives and public policy to young Ghanaian professionals.
By Malik Sullemana