Madam Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, has bid farewell to Mr Giovanni Favilli, the Italian Ambassador to Ghana.
The Minister congratulated Mr Favilli on the successful completion of his term of office as an Ambassador of Italy to Ghana (from October 4, 2016 to July 2020).
She expressed her profound gratitude to the outgoing Ambassador for his active engagement and personal contribution to the enhancement of bilateral relations between the two countries.
Madam Ayorkor Botchwey, who said relations between Ghana and Italy goes many years back; recalled the involvement of Italian companies in the construction of the Akosombo and the Kpone dams, as well as the Tema Oil Refinery.
She also recalled the historic state visits to Italy in 2006 and 2015 by former Presidents John Agyekum Kufuor and John Dramani Mahama respectively; and the reciprocal visits of both the former and current Italian Prime Ministers Paolo Gentiloni and Giuseppe Conte in 2017 and 2019 respectively and stated that the implementation of the Bilateral Defence Cooperation Agreement signed during Prime Minister Conte’s visit would further strengthen cooperation between their two countries.
She commended the Government of Italy for the establishment of the Okuafo Pa Agribusiness Centre to train farmers in modern agricultural techniques and support agricultural development and entrepreneurship in Ghana, which was launched during the visit of Prime Minister Conte.
She said the visits, which reflect the growing bonds of friendship between Ghana and Italy, also offered the platforms to explore business and investment opportunities as well as cooperation in the economic, agricultural and industrial sectors.
Madam Ayorkor Botchwey acknowledged that under the Ambassador’s tenure, the two countries experienced increased engagement in economic relations, agriculture, defence and security cooperation as well as an increase in technical and development assistance to Ghana.
Whilst commiserating with the Government of Italy over the huge loss of lives in Italy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, she expressed her happiness at how the Italian Government had managed to bring the pandemic under control, leading to the rapid easing of restrictions and also underline the measures put in place by the Government of Ghana to prevent the spread of the virus.
The Minister said the COVID-19 pandemic is a global challenge that requires concerted efforts by the international community to combat and in the wake of that applaud Italy for being part of the inclusive vaccine alliance, an initiative that supports the European Commission’s call for global leaders to cooperate and buy bulk quantities of potential COVID-19 vaccines for European countries and the rest of the world, in order to avoid harmful competition for vaccines by individual advanced countries, an action that could raise the prices of vaccines and create difficulties in developing countries also obtaining supply.
She assured the Ambassador of the Government of Ghana’s commitment to working closely with friendly countries like Italy to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
Madam Botchwey said although the COVID-19 crisis has imposed a lot of restrictions on countries all over the world, the Government of Ghana maintains the desire to put in place concrete measures to facilitate cooperation with Italy in areas of common interest such as in education, culture, science and technology as well as agriculture in line with Government’s aspirations to move relations beyond the usual aid to trade.
She again expressed her appreciation to the Ambassador for his immense contribution to the sustained growth of Ghana-Italy relations during his tenure of office and expressed her preparedness to work closely with his successor to strengthen the already existing cordial relations between the two countries.
She urged the outgoing Ambassador to be a voice for Ghana on his return to Italy and to continue promoting the excellent bilateral relations between their two countries.
Madam Botchwey expressed the desire to witness more dynamic engagements between Ghana and Italy for the mutual benefit of the two countries and also wished the outgoing Ambassador a safe journey back home.
On his part, Mr Favilli, who recounted some major events that occurred during his tenure such as state visits between the two nations, also expressed gratitude to their Ministry of Foreign and Regional Integration for the support during his tenure of office.