In 1906, Quebec missionaries established a church in Navrongo in northern Ghana, thus marking the arrival of a Canadian presence in the country. Canada and Ghana established diplomatic relations in 1957. Since then, Canada is represented in Ghana by the High Commission of Canada in Accra. Ghana has maintained a diplomatic presence in Canada since 1962, through its High Commission in Ottawa.
Bilateral relations between Canada and Ghana are strong and long-standing. Ghana is considered a model of democracy and stability in West Africa. Freedom of expression, a dynamic press and an active civil society are part of the Ghanaian political landscape. Relations between Canada and Ghana are based on more than five decades of cooperation on the global scene, in particular in the United Nations and the Commonwealth.
In May 2013, the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, visited Ghana. The Honourable John Baird, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development, also visited Ghana in May 2013. The Minister of International Trade, the Honourable Ed Fast, led a trade mission to Ghana in January 2013. In November 2011, the former President of Ghana, the late John Atta Mills, visited Canada and met the Right Honourable Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada. The former Governor General of Canada, the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, paid a State Visit to Ghana in 2006, the first such visit by a Canadian Head of State. Parliamentary exchanges are also frequent between the two countries. In January 2011, Ghana played host to the Canada-Africa Parliamentary Association. The numerous high-level Canadian visits to Ghana reflect the strong and growing relations between the two countries.
Canada and Ghana are working together to promote peace and regional security. Both countries have participated in numerous peacekeeping initiatives. Canada supported the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) in Accra, aimed at providing training and conducting research on peace and security. Canada also provides training to the personnel of the Ghanaian Armed Forces through the Military Training and Cooperation Program.
Ghana and Canada have established strong and growing commercial relationships. The bilateral merchandise trade reached $279.3 million in 2013, consisting of $256.5 million in exports and more than $22.9 million in imports from Ghana. The main Canadian exports to Ghana are cereals, machinery, vehicles and miscellaneous textiles. The main Canadian imports from Ghana are cacao, wood, vegetables, oils and fat. Between 2000 and 2013, bilateral trade increased by approximately 279%. Freedom, stability and the primacy of law have made Ghana an attractive place for Canadian companies serving the West Africa region. The Canada-Ghana Chamber of Commerce has over 100 members.
Ghana was the first African country to receive development aid from Canada in 1957 and is presently its fifth main partner in that respect. Canadian bilateral development aid focuses on to two major areas: food security (agriculture and nutrition) and children and youth (water, sanitation and hygiene). Governance, gender equality and the environment are transversal themes. Besides the bilateral program, Canada provides contributions to multilateral organizations and to more than 30 civil society organizations working in Ghana, bringing to over $131 million the total of Canada's payments during the 2011-2012 fiscal year.
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