Accra, Aug 16 (IANS) The trade turnover between India and Ghana has crossed the $1 billion mark, levelling at $1.2 billion at the end of last year after a staggering 63 percent growth - possibly one of the largest for any African nation - and is set to rise even further, the Indian mission here says.
"For the first time, the total trade between the two countries has crossed $1 billion and there exists much more potential to take the India-Ghana commercial engagement further to mutual advantage," a statement from the Indian High Commission said.
"This is an increase of over 63 percent over the previous year," the statement said, adding: "India's exports to Ghana stood at about $800 million against imports of about $404 million."
India's exports to the West African nation, with which it has had a long and historic relationship dating back to the time of its independence leaders Jawaharlal Nehru and Kwame Nkrumah, comprise mainly pharmaceuticals, agricultural machinery and items such as steel and cement required for infrastructure development.
India's export strategy, the statement said, is aimed at helping Ghana establish developmental projects with a combination of investments, grants and loans, complemented by projects and exports to provide inputs for these projects and not to dump cheap products.
"India does not believe that cheap, low-tech products that can be detrimental to the local industry are consistent with Africa's pursuit of self-reliance and with its efforts to add value to its significant natural resources," the statement noted.
"India wishes that these projects are undertaken under proposals authored by Ghana according to its own development priorities," it said, adding: "Where technology and knowledge-based items such as pharmaceuticals are exported from India, these are meant to bring down the cost of life-saving drugs and equipment."
India has so far extended and approved $230 million in credit lines to support various projects including the construction of the Flagstaff House Presidential Palace, establishment of a Foreign Policy Training Institute and financing a rural electrification project, the statement said.
Other projects are the supply of agricultural and irrigation equipment, a fish processing plant and supply of waste management equipment. "Some of these projects have already been completed while the others are at various stages of implementation," the statement said.
It also recalled the financing of the India-Ghana Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence for ICT that was set up with a grant from the Indian government and said this was "a shining example of India's commitment to complement Ghana's efforts towards human resource development".
"Teams of Indian experts have been visiting the Centre to upgrade the supercomputer there and train the Ghanaian manpower. India takes justified pride in the immense success of this Centre, which has become a hub for training in computer technology and for refining the IT skills of students and professionals, not just from Ghana but from the rest of the region," the statement noted.
It said Ghana is to receive 175 slots in this year's Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) programme following the recommendation to increase the allocated 150 slots by 25. "This is in view of the exceptionally high quality of talent in Ghana and the impressive record of utilisation," the statement added.
It said India's cooperation with Ghana is based on a bilateral relationship that is "issue-free, positive, forward-looking and ever-expanding while also being in tune with the rapidly evolving international order".
"When relations between two countries are rooted in a common historical legacy underlined by shared aspirations of their peoples and the progressive vision and values of their founding fathers, these cannot be but robust and it is but natural for them to enjoy mutual trust and understanding," the statement added.
(Francis Kokutse can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)