As a way of fostering deeper cooperation and facilitate more effective interactions between them, Ghana's Foreign Affairs Minister-designate, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, has appealed to her Russian counterpart to consider offering short courses in the Russian language for officers of the ministry.
She made this known during a meeting with Mikhail Bogdanov, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, and Special Presidential Representative for the Middle East and Africa, in Accra.
She also acknowledged the immense contribution that Russia has made and continues to make towards the socio-economic development of Ghana, indicating that Russia's award of scholarships to many Ghanaian students over the years to study in Russia have produced essential human resource capacity to facilitate development of the country.
She however expressed concern on the differences that have existed in recent years with regards the Scholarship Secretariat of Ghana and the Russian Mission in the award of scholarships and called for a speedy resolution of the difficulties.
Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey also seized the opportunity to request of the Russian government to consider increasing to 100, the number of scholarships it grants to Ghanaian students, as a measure of consolidating the ensuring friends between Ghana and Russia.
She also presented the many potentials for cooperation between Russian diplomatic training institutions, and the Ghana's Ministry Foreign Service Institute, which is nearing completion.
On the subject of coronavirus vaccines, she stated Ghana's interest in initiating discussions with the Russian Government on the acquisition of the Russian made Vaccine, Sputnik-V, as soon as possible, to help Ghana fight the pandemic.
She also welcomed the interest shown by GBP Global Resources, to invest in Ghana and indicated that the gold refinery at Tarkwa, which was built by the former Soviet Union, could be worth considering as an investment opportunity.
She added that the interest of GBP Global Resources in engaging in the gold refinery business is in harmony with the Government of Ghana's agenda of value addition to its vast natural resources to promote economic development and provide jobs for the burgeoning youth.
She acknowledged that despite the excellent relations between Ghana and Russia, trade volumes between the two countries have been low and disclosed that the start of trading under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) will provide a big opportunity for Russian businesses to take advantage of the 1.2 billion African market size, with Ghana as the entry point.
She also spoke about the low levels of investment between the two countries and called for more Russian investments in Ghana especially in the field of energy and the petrochemical industry, following the entry into the Ghanaian market of LUKOIL and ROSNEFT;
She gave assurances of Ghana's commitment towards negotiating with Russia, the Agreement on Investment Promotion and Protection as well as the Agreement on the Avoidance of Double Taxation to guarantee Russian investors the security of their investments.
Meanwhile, she informed the delegation that as a means of enhancing bilateral relations, Ghana is earnestly preparing to host the Fourth Session of the Permanent Joint Commission for Cooperation this year, and stated that Ghana has already received the suggestions from Russia regarding the April meeting to discuss the outcome of the 3rd Session and the holding of the 4th Session in October 2021.
She expressed the hope that Ghana and Russia will continue to collaborate and exchange views on international issues, with a view to contributing towards the maintenance of international peace and security.
Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey also seized the opportunity to request the support of Russia for Ghana's bid for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council for the 2022 to 2023 period and its candidature for membership of the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs for the 2022 to 2025 period as well as for membership of the International Narcotics Control Board for the 2022 to 2027 period.
The Russian Deputy Foreign Minister is leading a delegation comprising Russian Foreign Ministry officials and private business people to Ghana to explore business opportunities in the mining and related sectors in Ghana. A notable person in the Russian delegation is Mr. Boris Ivanov, founder of the company GBP Global Resources, the world's number one producer of gas with about 16% of the world's gas reserves.