The construction work on a $20 million annex building for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration (MFARI), in Accra, has started, and is expected to be completed within 26 months.
Funded with a grant from the Chinese government, the building sited on approximately 11,300 square metres of land, would have six floors above-ground and one underground when completed.
It would have facilities, including the Minister’s office area, conference hall, press room, banquet hall and underground parking lot, gymnasium, clinic, stores and an archives room.
This was revealed yesterday when the Sector Minister, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, aided by the Chinese Ambassador to Ghana, Lu Kun, cut the sod for work on the project to begin.
Ms Botchwey thanked the Chinese government for providing grant for the project upon a request by Ghana, to enable the ministry to accommodate the increased number of staff — currently more than 700.
She said it would enable the ministry to make provision for certain essential facilities that the existing building, funded by another Chinese grant about a decade ago, lacks.
The minister recalled that the ministry was forced to evacuate its main office in October 2009, after it was gutted by fire, resulting in loss of vital documents and the related institutional memory.
After occupying the newly constructed Jubilee House while awaiting government funding for a new building, Ms Botchwey said, the Chinese government provided a grant for the current Ministry building in 2013.
“After almost 10years, it became apparent that the new office space was inadequate. Hence, the need to construct an annex building to be attached to the existing magnificent structure,” she said.
Ms Botchwey urged the contractors, Yanjian Group Company Limited, which constructed the existing building, to ensure the completion of the project within schedule and ensure quality execution of the project.
Asked about the ministry’s old office during an interaction with journalists, she said, plans for the facility would be announced later.
Mr Lu said the project was in line with China-Africa Cooperation Vision 2035 under which the first three-year plan was dedicated to working closely with African countries to implement programmes in Ghana.
“I also believe the project will become a major milestone of the time-honoured China-Ghana friendship and an important bridge of communication and cooperation between Ghana and the world,” he said.
Mr Lu recounting the cordial relations between China and Ghana, said Ghana was among the earliest countries in sub-Saharan Africa to establish diplomatic ties with China.
He named the China-Aided Cape Coast Sports Stadium Technical Cooperation Project as one of the interventions through which China’s financing, investment and contracting of projects were promoting Ghana’s development.
Mr Lu said China remained Ghana’s biggest trading partner and foreign investment source with the 2022 bilateral trade volume reaching an unprecedented high of $10.2 billion, and one of the highest in Africa while Ghana’s exports to China increased by 60 per cent year-on-year.
“China is committed to continue providing the necessary support, especially life-improving aid projects to the people of Ghana. I have full confidence that more concrete results will be achieved in the near future,” he said.
BY JONATHAN DONKOR