UK Foreign Minister in Ghana for regional tour
The UK’s Foreign Secretary James Cleverly arrived in Ghana for the start of a four-day visit of three African countries focused on strengthening “future-focused, mutually beneficial” partnerships.
In a government press release, the Foreign Secretary said Monday it “will pledge a £40 million boost for Ghana’s businesses, as [Cleverly] begins a trip to the country’s capital Accra”.
The funding will focus on “small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), opening up access to business support services to help them grow”.
Ghana is the UK’s fourth-biggest export market in sub-Saharan Africa, with total UK imports from Ghana amounting to £1.3 billion in 2022, according to British government statistics.
During his visit, Cleverly attended the launch of the UK-Ghana Gold-Mining Program, which will focus on supporting the Ghanaian government in formalising and regulating the country’s small-scale mining sector.
The British government has earmarked £3.9 million ($5 million) for the initiative which was agreed upon by both nations during the UK-Ghana Security Dialogue in London last year.
The three-year program will boost Ghana’s efforts to improve the sector.
The government’s initiatives so far include community mining schemes and alternative employment and livelihood programs for artisanal small-scale miners.
“I’m proud that the UK is working alongside you, helping you to do what is right and the people of your country to ensure that criminality cannot and will not thrive here,” Cleverly said during the launch.
The Ghanaian army also held a counter-terrorism exercise in honour of the British minister.
His visit comes only days after a coup in nearby Niger, which prompted global concern.
Ghana’s Defence Minister Dominic Nitiwul denounced the coup leaders’ actions, saying “We cannot accept the use of force or arms by any individual or a group of individuals because they have arms […] No nation should accept that.”
The minister said the Ghana Armed Forces remain on standby to respond to the coup, should directives come from “various armed forces across the globe”.
Military chiefs from Ghana and other West African countries, under regional bloc ECOWAS, have also begun consultations on the possible deployment of armed forces to Niger to restore constitutional order.
In a statement on Sunday, the British government said it “condemns in the strongest possible terms attempts to undermine democracy, peace and stability in Niger” and announced the suspension of long-term development assistance to the country.
Following his visit to Ghana, cleverly will visit Nigeria on Tuesday before ending his tour in Zambia on Thursday.