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.
The former Governor General of Canada, Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, made an official 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 former President of Ghana, the late John Atta Mills, visited Canada in November 2011, where he met with Prime Minister Harper. The Minister of International Trade, the Honourable Ed Fast, led a Trade Mission to Ghana in January 2013.
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.
Canada and Ghana cooperate closely to promote regional peace and security. Both countries undertake numerous avenues of cooperation related to peace operations. 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 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%. Ghana is one of the few countries in Sub Saharan Africa with which Canada has a trade surplus.
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. To date, Canada has not signed any bilateral trade agreements with Ghana. However, in 2011, Canada and Ghana began negotiating a Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA). Due to a statistical rebasing of the GDP and in light of the new oil and gas industry, Ghana is officially now a lower-middle-income country according to the World Bank, with a per capita income in excess of $1,000. Additional business development opportunities for Canadians are emerging in mining, education, infrastructure and oil and gas.
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. Ghana is a country of focus for the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). Canada’s bilateral development assistance focuses on two sectors: Food Security and Children and Youth (with an emphasis on water, sanitation and hygiene). Governance, equality between women and men, and the environment are cross-cutting themes. More than 65% of assistance is provided through program-based approaches, including general, sector and district budget support. The bilateral program, as well as contributions to multilateral organizations and to more than 30 Canadian civil society organizations working in Ghana, brings the total of Canadian disbursements to more than $131 million during fiscal year 2011-2012.
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