Bulgaria capitals

Ghana and Bulgaria commemorate 60 years of diplomatic relations

Honorary Consul Nicolas van Staalduinen, Ambassador Yanko Yordanov and President Akufo-Addo

The Republic of Ghana and the Republic of Bulgaria have a long-standing relationship that dates back to the early 1960s under the presidency of Ghana’s first President, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. Indeed, the cordial relationship that was established during the period has blossomed over the years and has led to the manifestation of increased cooperation between the two countries.

In commemorating this milestone of sixty (60) years of bilateral cooperation in
Ghana-Bulgaria relations, there is a need to review the salient points of the friendship between the peoples of Ghana and Bulgaria and chart a future for the mutual benefit of our two countries. The trajectory and progress of cooperation between Ghana and Bulgaria can be structured into:

1. the period after independence until the end of the 1970s;
2. the period from the 1980s to the end of the 1990s; and
3. from the year 2000 to the present day.

The period after independence until the end of the 1970s

Relations between Ghana and Bulgaria after Ghana’s independence flourished under
leadership of Ghana’s first president. The cooperation demonstrated and the close ties that were shared between the two countries culminated in a visit to Bulgaria in 1961 by Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah where pertinent issues of Ghana-Bulgaria relations were discussed.

From the 1980s to the 1990s

Cooperation between Ghana and Bulgaria between the 1980s and 1990s was part of
the era of the Ghana Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) and the Provisional National Defense Council (PNDC). Ghana’s leaders at this time had a dynamic affinity with the Bulgarian government, which led to increased cooperation on the bilateral front.

Continuing to build relationships from the strong bilateral relations established during Ghana’s post-independence period, training opportunities were provided to the cadres of the revolution and members of the PDC (People’s Defense Committees) by the Bulgarian government.

Diplomatic training opportunities were also extended to staff of the Ghanaian Ministry of Foreign Affairs during the period as well as civil servants in various fields such as medicine, tourism and journalism. During the 1980s and 1990s, the Bulgarian government offered several scholarship opportunities for Ghanaian students to study in Bulgaria.

A highlight of bilateral relations was the official visit of the President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, then Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration to Sofia, Bulgaria, on July 11, 2007, with a high-level delegation level . The visit was marked by a courtesy visit the delegation paid to HE Georgi Sedefchov Parvanov, then President of the Republic of Bulgaria, to discuss issues of mutual interest to both countries.

The visit allowed the former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo a
the opportunity to meet the Chairman of the External Relations Committee of the Bulgarian National Assembly, which has 240 members, Dr Solomon Passy (MP), to discuss the possibility of forging links between the parliaments of Ghana and the Bulgaria.

Furthermore, a protocol to establish a process of bilateral consultations at the diplomatic level has been signed between Ghana and Bulgaria to serve as a useful mechanism to promote cooperation on regional and international issues.

Following the establishment of this protocol, Ghana and Bulgaria committed themselves to
trading in products such as unground cement ‘clinker’, doors, windows and their frames and sills, made from aluminium, cocoa and non-fat cocoa mass and cocoa butter, fat and of oil. Data from the United Nations Comtrade database indicated that trade between Ghana and Bulgaria during the period amounted to fifty million euros, with Ghana ranking 5th in sub-Saharan Africa.

It should be noted, however, that trade between Ghana and Bulgaria has steadily declined over the years and as a result, commemorating 60 years of
relations between the two parties offers a unique opportunity to reorganize trade relations.

Possible areas of cooperation between Ghana and Bulgaria

Despite the closure of resident diplomatic missions in each other’s capitals, Ghana and Bulgaria have continued to enjoy cordial relations. To further strengthen cordial relations, the two countries should identify opportunities that could be explored for mutual benefit.

In the area of ​​trade and commerce, the two governments could explore possible collaboration between the respective chambers of commerce to find ways to leverage trade and investment. This should be done taking into account the opportunities presented with the recent entry into force of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement.

The deal would allow Bulgarian companies to take advantage of the size of the $1.2 billion African market, with Ghana as the entry point and host of the AÍCFTA secretariat.

As a business hub in the West African sub-region, Ghana could work with Bulgaria to gain mutual benefits under the current implementation of flagship programs such as “one district, one factory” and “planting for food and jobs”, which aim to establish factories across Ghana.

Bulgaria’s experiences in the agricultural and manufacturing sectors and Ghana’s willingness to establish these programs could be explored by both parties for the benefit of both peoples. In addition, Ghana and Bulgaria could explore the proposal of establishing a joint venture for the manufacture of quality but affordable drugs.

This proposal was discussed on the sidelines of the 43rd ACP-EU Council of Ministers held in Togo in May 2018, by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria. More importantly, with the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, the need to manufacture drugs that help boost the immune system is imperative, as this would help reduce the
negative effects of the pandemic on individuals. Collaboration in this endeavor would therefore also be beneficial for the rest of the world.

Ghana and Bulgaria can also extend their cooperation to the establishment of a
political dialogue or a permanent joint commission for cooperation (CCPJ) to ensure greater partnership in areas of mutual interest. Within this framework, the two countries can explore training opportunities for citizens, including cultural exchange programs, strengthening tourism cooperation, investments in agriculture and agro-industry, technical training in machine building and in ICT.

Finally, the opportunities for collaboration between the two
countries provide a means to further strengthen bilateral relations for the mutual benefit of Ghanaian and Bulgarian citizens.

Conclusion

As Ghana and Bulgaria reflect on 60 years of bilateral diplomatic relations, it is imperative that the two countries continue to show greater commitment to increasing cooperation in various fields in order to strengthen the bonds of friendship between the two countries. .

The deployment of the African Continental Free Trade Arc Agreement (AFCFTA) and the vast opportunities it presents with Ghana hosting the secretariat provide a solid platform for the two countries to deepen economic cooperation for the benefit of their two countries.
peoples.