Greece has expressed interest in working with Ghana to tackle insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea (GoG) for maritime trade to flourish safely.
With Ghana occupying the Chair of the GoG Commission, the collaboration between the two countries is expected to build on ongoing efforts to reign in piracy and other crimes at sea.
Greece’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nikos Dendias, conveyed his country’s readiness for the partnership during a bilateral meeting with his Ghanaian counterpart, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, in Accra on Thursday.
In recent years, the GoG has been labelled the world’s ‘hotspot’ for piracy as the threat of piracy has cost the region lives, stability, and over $1.9 billion in financial losses every year, according to the UN.
Although piracy and armed robbery at sea, including kidnapping for ransom, decreased from 123 in 2020 to 45 in 2021, with 16 incidents of maritime crime between January and June, efforts are being intensified to make the gulf area safer. “We are very much interested in working with you also for security in the Gulf of Guinea. Greece has the biggest maritime fleet in the world. Half of the grain being exported by Ukraine is transported by Greek-owned ships.
“So, for us, security around the sea lanes of the world and the oceans of the world is of paramount importance. So, we would like to work with you”, Mr Dendias said.
His visit to Ghana was part of his tour of three West African countries: Ghana, La Cote d’Ivoire and Gabon, to discuss areas of cooperation including trade, couture, defence, and sports.
“Greece but also the EU, see Ghana as a natural partner. You are a country that has a solid commitment to democracy, respect for human rights and the promotion of peace,” Mr Dendias said.
In addition to the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on Political Consultations, Mr Dendias said he was looking forward to signing three additional pacts with Ghana on various areas to firm up the bilateral relations and called for increased investment and trade between the two countries.
“The Mediterranean and the Atlantic is not a border. It’s a bridge. We are connected. So, we have to invest in Africa. Africa will be very important for the world. A friend of mine says Africa is the hope of the world,” he said.
On her part, Ms Botchwey welcomed Mr Dendias on his second visit to Ghana and thanked Greece for offering to support Ghana to achieve its mandate as the chair of the GOG Commission.
She assured him that the necessary action required on the part of Ghana for the three additional agreements, currently before the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, would be done, for signing and implementation.
She expressed Ghana’s commitment to the relations between the two countries and called for increased trade and investment between their respective business communities.
BY JONATHAN DONKOR