Canada - Ghana Relations

Canada - Ghana Relations

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 has established strong democratic credentials. 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 Governor General David Johnston visited Ghana. Then-Minister of Foreign Affairs John Baird also visited Ghana in May 2013. The Minister of International Trade 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 Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Then-Governor General Michaëlle Jean, paid a state visit to Ghana in 2006, the first such visit by a Canadian Head of State.

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, which aims to enhance peace support operations interoperability among Canada’s partners, and expand and reinforce bilateral defence relations.

Ghana and Canada have collaborated on the promotion of human rights in Ghana and the world. Both countries have partnered to eliminate child, early and forced marriage (CEFM).  In 2013, Canada’s then-Minister of Foreign Affairs John Baird, Ghana’s Foreign Minister Hannah Tetteh and the then-Foreign Minister of the Netherlands, Frans Timmermans, co-hosted a cross-regional CEFM side-event during the high-level segment of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, which emphasized the importance of supporting girls to achieve their full potential by allowing them to pursue their education and not be forced into early marriage.

The 2013 Global Market Action Plan (GMAP) designated Ghana as “an emerging market offering specific opportunities for Canadian companies,” one of twelve such sub-Saharan countries of focus. Canada’s commercial involvement in Ghana features significant gold mining and infrastructure development. The service earnings from the gold mining investments are double Canadian export value in the country. There are also opportunities in Ghana for Canadian educational institutions recruiting international students. According to Citizenship and Immigration Canada, there were 878 Ghanaian studying in Canada in 2013.

In 2014, Ghana was Canada’s 4th largest market for merchandise exports in the sub-Saharan African region, after Botswana, Nigeria and South Africa. From 2000 to 2014, two-way merchandise trade increased by 145.6%. In 2014, Canadian exports to Ghana totaled more than $157.3 million. Top exports included cereals, vehicles and parts, machinery, and miscellaneous textiles, amounting to $126.7 million. Canadian merchandise imports from Ghana were down by 3.9% from 2013. They were comprised primarily of cocoa, wood, and vegetables products, amounting to $20.2 million.  

Export Development Canada (EDC) has designated Ghana as one of its 5 priority countries in Africa. Other elements of interest are the presence of the Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC) in Accra and the existence of a Canada-Ghana Chamber of Commerce.

In 2011, Canada and Ghana began negotiations toward a Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA). A bilateral FIPA will provide greater predictability and certainty for Canadian investors considering investment opportunities in Ghana. 

Ghana was the first country in Africa to receive development assistance from Canada in 1957 and remains a development country of focus, having received total disbursements of over $108 million in 2013-14. Canada's bilateral development assistance program builds on Canadian technical expertise and lessons learned in critical areas: Food Security (agricultural production, applied research and nutrition) and Securing the Future of Children and Youth (safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene). The program contributes to maternal, newborn and child health outcomes through continued support to improved nutrition, and access to water and sanitation. Canada has considerable influence and visibility in these areas and is playing a leading role in developing new approaches to respond to the changing context.

May 2015


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