President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has expressed the country’s gratitude to the outgoing Apostolic Nuncio to Ghana, Archbishop Jean-Marie Speich, for his service and contribution to the development of the country.
He said the Apostolic Nuncio, who is the representative of Pope Francis I, did not only contribute to the social and spiritual development of Ghanaians but also helped to push the diplomatic relations between Ghana and the Vatican a notch further.
President Akufo-Addo made these remarks when Archbishop Speich called on him at the Jubilee House in Accra yesterday to bid him farewell.
Archbishop Speich was appointed to Ghana on August 18, 2013.
While acknowledging the important role the Catholic Church played towards the development of the country, President Akufo-Addo said the friendship between the church and Ghana began long before the country’s independence.
The President said the church’s contribution to the development of the country in the areas of health, education, social development, reinforcing the religious and moral values of Ghanaians had been invaluable.
“We have had great benefits of a sincere friendship. The friendship between our people in terms of high level exchanges has been impressive,” he said and added that the friendship was very important for the country.
President Akufo-Addo noted that the invitation of his predecessor, former President John Dramani Mahama, to the Vatican and the visit of a representative of Pope Francis I to be part of Ghana’s 60th Independence Day anniversary were highlights of the strong relations between Ghana and the Vatican.
He stressed the government’s commitments towards building a new Ghana on the foundations of respect for rule of law, human rights and dignity, individual liberties, as well as the principles of democratic accountability.
Archbishop SPeich, on his part, commended the level of religious tolerance in the country and urged Ghanaians to sustain the peaceful coexistence of all religious faiths.
He said the country’s religious tolerance was a model worth emulating because it had contributed to enhancing the freedoms and rights of Ghanaians.
“I was here for five and a half beautiful years and had the opportunity to know better your country and better the diplomats here in your country and had time to understand, to know and appreciate your culture and also time to find good Ghanaian friends,” he said.
He commended President Akufo-Addo for implementing projects and programmes to develop the country and improve the country’s standard of living.
By Yaw Kyei