Ambassador Christoph Retzlaff welcomed more than 500 guests including the Honourable Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Prof. Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, the Honourable Senior Minister Yaw Osafo-Maafo, the Honourable Minister of Finance Ken Ofori-Atta, members of parliament, members of the diplomatic corps and counterparts of the different sections of the German Embassy at the event.
In his speech Ambassador Retzlaff stated that 3rd October is a very special day for all Germans. 28 years ago the Berlin wall finally came down and Germany was reunited. It was one of the defining moments when people peacefully change the course of history. What began as a struggle for freedom and unity in East Germany led to Germany and finally Europe being united after decades of iron fences and cold war.
Ambassador Retzlaff expressed gratitude to all neighbours and partners of Germany and emphasized that at a time of fragmentation, populism and polarization around the world, trust and international cooperation are more important than ever before.
Ambassador Retzlaff was also confident that after 61 years of cooperation, the close friendship between Ghana and Germany is stronger than ever. The last 12 months have seen new highlights. Chancellor Merkel visited Ghana in August, President Steinmeier was on a state visit in December 2017 and President Akufo-Addo has already been two times in Germany and will visit Berlin once again at the end of October for the G20 Compact with Africa Review Conference.
Ambassador Retzlaff stated that a number of German companies were looking into new investment opportunities in Ghana. Volkswagen intends to start a car assembling plant. Merck is planning vaccine production in Ghana which could be the first vaccine production in Sub Sahara Africa. Also more and more German companies are choosing Ghana as a regional hub in West Africa. In February 2019 the “German-African Business Summit” - the biggest Africa event of German business - will take place in Accra. In December, the biggest European internet and digital conference -re.publica- from Berlin will be held for the first time in Africa and it will happen here in Accra.
In the area of vocational training, Germany intends to offer additional vocational training for 25.000 young Ghanaians in the next two years. Germany also want to bring more Ghanaian students to Germany. Just last week, the new “Institute for Advanced Studies in Africa” at the University of Ghana - a cooperation with the University of Freiburg, focusing on the topic of Sustainable Governance- was opened.
Ambassador Retzlaff added that the goal of these initiatives is to build together with Ghana is a new partnership for the future, a partnership that is also designed to be a model for other African countries; a fair partnership based on trust, democracy, respect for human rights and good governance; a partnership aiming at sustainable and inclusive growth in order to realize the enormous potential of Ghana and its great people.
In his reply speech the Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Honourable Kwabena-Frimpong-Boateng recounted some highlights of the 61 years of cooperation between the two countries and acknowledged the invaluable support of Germany to Ghana through its numerous projects and institutions.
His Excellency the Ambassador and the Guest of Honour, Honourable Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Prof. Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng shared a toast to the well-being of their countries and to a successful cooperation and friendship between Ghana and Germany.
The Ghanaian, German and international guests welcomed the occasion to come together in the friendly atmosphere of the residency’s garden, tasting some original German sausages and beer, whereas the Ghanaian Band Patchbay treated them to an evening of fine Ghanaian highlife Music.