Ghana, Italy strike solar energy deal

President Akufo-Addo introducing members of his government to the Italian PM

President Akufo-Addo introducing members of his government to the Italian PM

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has announced plans by the government to partner Italian oil giant, ENI, to exploit the country’s solar and other renewable energy resources.

The decision, according to the President, forms part of government’s plans to make the country self-sufficient in its energy generation.

President Akufo-Addo said this when the Italian Prime Minister, Paolo Gentiloni, called on him at the Presidency yesterday.

He said Italian companies had played significant roles in the development of infrastructure in the country and commended ENI for making the biggest investment in the country in the past decade.

“The ENI investment is extremely important to the future of our country,” he said and noted that the company had not only helped develop the country’s oil deposits but also helped in exploiting its natural gas resources.

He said the government would collaborate with the Italian oil giant in new deals and exploit the country’s renewable energy resources.

President Akufo-Addo said the Ghana-Italy relationship began even before the country’s independence from colonial rule and commended Italy for its contribution to the development of Ghana.

Notable among the Italian investments in Ghana, he said, were the Akosombo Dam, the Kofi Annan Peace Keeping Training School, among others.

He noted that the relationship between the two countries got much closer when former President John Agyekum Kufuor paid a state visit to Italy as the first Ghanaian leader to visit the country.

President Akufo-Addo, who was the Minister of Foreign Affairs at that time, said the gesture was reciprocated when the then Prime Minister also visited Ghana.

He recalled that the former Italian Prime Minister, Signor Renzi, also visited his predecessor, former President John Dramani Mahama and indicated that the relationship between the two countries had been firmly sealed at the top government level.

President Akufo-Addo touched on the African Union-European Union Summit, which will take place in Cote d’Ivoire on November 29 and expressed optimism that the summit defined more concretely the relationship between the two continents.

“Looking at issues of common concern, the development of our economies, the issues of migration, issues of terrorism that confront both continents, it is my expectation and hope that both Ghana and Italy will play very constructive roles tomorrow in defining the new relationship between Africa and Europe,” he said.

Mr Gentilioni, on his part, said his country had always contributed to the development and commended Ghana’s initiative to enter into renewable energy.

He expressed Italy’s intention to help develop Ghana’s Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) sector and announced a 25 million euro grant to support the sector.

BY YAW KYEI

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