In 1906, missionaries from Québec, Les Pères Blancs,established a church in Navrongo in what is now northern Ghana, marking the arrival of a Canadian presence in the country. Canada and Ghana established diplomatic relations in 1957. Canada has been represented in Ghana by the Canadian High Commission in Accra since 1957. Ghana has maintained a diplomatic presence in Canada through its High Commission in Ottawa since 1962.
Bilateral relations between Canada and Ghana are excellent and longstanding. Ghana is considered a model of democracy and stability in West Africa. Freedom of speech, a vibrant press and an active civil society are a part of Ghana's political landscape. Relations between Canada and Ghana reflect more than five decades of cooperation in international fora such as the United Nations and the Commonwealth.
In May 2013, the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, visited Ghana. The Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Honourable John Baird, also visited Ghana in May 2013. The Minister of International Trade, the Honourable Ed Fast, led a Trade Mission to Ghana in January 2013. The former President of Ghana, the late John Atta Mills, visited Canada in November 2011, where he met with the Right Honourable Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada. The former Governor General of Canada, the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, made a State visit to Ghana in 2006, the first such visit by a Canadian Head of State. Exchanges at the parliamentary level are also frequent between the two countries. Most recently, in January 2011, Ghana welcomed a visit by the Canada-Africa Parliamentary Association. The many high-level Canadian visits to Ghana reflect the strong and growing relations between the two countries.
Canada and Ghana work together to promote regional peace and security, with both countries undertaking various avenues of cooperation related to peace operations. For instance, Canada has supported the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC), located in Accra, to provide training and undertake research on peace and security. Canada also provides training to members of the Ghanaian Armed Forces through the Military Training and Cooperation Program.
Ghana and Canada have a well-established and growing trade relationship. Two-way merchandise trade reached $236.6 million in 2012, consisting of $216.2 million in exports and $20.3 million in imports from Ghana. Top Canadian merchandise exports to Ghana include cereals, vehicles and parts, machinery and miscellaneous textiles. Top Canadian merchandise imports from Ghana comprise mainly of cocoa, wood, rubber articles and edible vegetables. Between 2000 and 2012, bilateral trade increased by approximately 220%. Freedom, stability and rule of law have made Ghana an attractive home base for Canadian companies serving all of West Africa. The Ghana-Canada Chamber of Commerce has over 100 members.
Ghana was the first country in Africa to receive development assistance from Canada in 1957 and is currently Canada’s fifth largest development partner in the world. Canada’s bilateral development assistance focuses on Food Security (agriculture and nutrition) and Children and Youth (water, sanitation and hygiene). Governance, equality between women and men, and the environment are cross-cutting themes. In addition to the bilateral program, Canada provides contributions to multilateral organizations and to the more than 30 Canadian civil society organizations working in Ghana, bringing total Canadian official assistance to Ghana to more than $131 million during the fiscal year 2011-2012.
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