Your Excellency, President Nana Akufo-Addo and Mrs Akufo-Addo,
Your Excellency, Deputy President Mabuza and Mrs Mabuza,
Honourable Ministers and Deputy Ministers,
Members of the Diplomatic Corps,
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is with great pleasure that I once more welcome you, President Akufo-Addo, your dear wife and members of your distinguished delegation.
I extend my profound gratitude to you for accepting our invitation to honour us with a state visit.
Your visit to South Africa takes place during the year in which we celebrate the centenaries of two struggle icons, Tata Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela and Mama Albertina Sisulu.
These two icons are held in high esteem in South Africa and across the world for dedicating their lives to the fight for the liberation of our people.
I wish to express my profound gratitude to you, Mr President, for accepting our invitation to deliver the Nelson Mandela Memorial Lecture in Accra on 18 July 2018.
We recall with gratitude and respect Ghana’s distinguished contribution towards the emancipation of the African continent.
We pay homage to the President Kwame Nkrumah, who famously declared: “Our independence is meaningless unless it is linked up with the total liberation of Africa.”
We have taken to heart his message that there is a constant need for our continent to be unified in pursuit of our common goals.
As fellow Africans, we can testify that President Nkrumah’s statement was given practical expression in Ghana’s support for the total liberation of Africa.
Many freedom fighters and political refugees from the continent and the Pan-African fraternity in the diaspora were welcomed in your country with the legendary Ghanaian hospitality as they sought refuge from colonial persecution and apartheid destruction.
These include great luminaries such as Frantz Fanon, George Padmore, WEB Du Bois, Kwame Ture, our very own Mama Africa, Miriam Makeba, and your beloved and abundantly talented friend, Hugh Masekela.
They were not just given homes, passports and material support.
They were given far more than that.
They were also given hope, fortitude and courage to carry on with the fight for freedom.
Once again, from the grateful people of Africa, we say: ‘Thank you, Ghana.’
Having largely achieved the decolonisation of the continent – with the exception of Western Sahara, whose just cause our countries continue to support – Africa is now confronted with new challenges.
These include conflict, insecurity, migration, underdevelopment, poverty, corruption and poor governance.
President Nkrumah’s statement that Africa will either grow together or fail together still holds true today.
Mr. President, we concur with your profound statement that the African economic transformation we desire will not come through aid.
No country can sustainably grow on the basis of foreign aid or philanthropy.
We have to do it on our own.
We have at our disposal an abundance of natural and human resources that can be developed and harnessed to put Africa on a path of sustainable economic development.
To do this, Africa has to embrace and participate meaningfully in the fourth industrial revolution to develop our human capital and to beneficiate our natural resources.
We must do more to promote intra-Africa trade and investment.
Ghanaians are therefore invited and welcomed to invest in South Africa, and South Africans are also urged to invest further in Ghana.
Your visit has allowed us to reaffirm the strategic bilateral relations between our two countries.
It has enabled us to further commit ourselves to working together to enhance close political, economic and social cooperation in keeping with our mutual desire to establish a firmer strategic partnership.
A signal of our intention is the decision taken earlier today to elevate the existing Permanent Joint Commission for Cooperation to a Bi-National Commission at Heads of State level.
While we have noted with appreciation the increasing economic cooperation between our two countries, we have also urged our private sectors to take advantage of the economic opportunities existing in our respective countries.
We have challenged them to identify game-changing economic projects in the identified sectors.
Our countries must continue to play their part in the continental peace and security agenda.
Peace and security, similar to economic challenges, require that the continent works together to forge solutions to common challenges.
To this end, we are committed to maintain and expand our bilateral defence cooperation.
Ladies and gentlemen,
May you please rise and join me as I propose a toast to the good health of His Excellency, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, and prosperity and everlasting friendship between the peoples of Ghana and South Africa.
To unity and prosperity!
I thank you.