Foreign Minister receives open letters from Russian Ambassador

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Madam Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, has called on the Russian Ambassador-Designate to Ghana, Mr Sergey Berdnikov, to assist in ensuring the speedy delivery of the Sputnik V vaccines to Ghana to help fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.

She said Ghana had already placed an order for 15 million doses of the Sputnik V Vaccine, which was pending.

Madam Botchwey said this when she received Open Letters from Mr Berdnikov, who was born in 1966 and has been in active diplomatic service since 1991.

He served in the Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations Offices in Vienna (UNOV) from 1994 to 1998, and from 2002 to 2006.

He further served in the Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations in New York from 2008 to 2013. The Ambassador-Designate is a father of two.

During the meeting in Accra, Madam Ayorkor Botchwey congratulated Mr Berdnikov on his appointment as the Ambassador of Russia to Ghana.

She recalled the historic relations between Ghana and Russia dating back to 1958 when Ghana, as a young independent State, established diplomatic relations with the then Soviet Union.

The Minister acknowledged Russia’s consistent contribution towards the socio-economic development of Ghana, particularly in the area of capacity building, through scholarships to Ghanaian students to study in Russia (over two thousand beneficiaries to date).

She said to further enhance the bilateral relations, technical teams of Ghana and Russia were earnestly preparing to host the Fourth Session of the Ghana-Russia Permanent Joint Commission for Cooperation later this year.

Madam Botchwey said the exchange of high-level visits, included the visit of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to Sochi, in October 2019, to participate in the Russia-Africa Summit.

Also the visit of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration to Moscow in August 2019, and the visit to Ghana by Mr Mikhail Bogdanov, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia, in February 2021, had raised the level of the bilateral relations to a higher pedestal.

She briefed the Ambassador-designate on the economic agenda of the Government, which was predicated on the transformation of the structure of the economy from commodity exporting to an industrialised economy.

“Ghana’s economy, even in the face of the global pandemic of COVID-19, continues to show resilience and a much faster rate of recovery than originally envisaged,” she said, and urged the Russian envoy to encourage investors from his country to consider doing business in Ghana.

She said Ghana was among the most attractive destinations on the Continent for Foreign Direct Investment, and that the commencement of trading under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) was expected to boost economic growth, with Ghana as the entry point.

Madam Botchwey bemoaned the activities of pirates along the Gulf of Guinea, saying it is a major security concern to countries located in the zone because it largely served as a trade route between that region and the rest of the world.

She called for Russian support in the areas of intelligence sharing and logistics.

The Minister assured the Russian Ambassador of the unalloyed support of the Ghanaian authorities to guarantee him a successful tour of duty in Ghana.

Mr Berdnikov, on his part, said Russia was ready to cooperate with Ghana in areas such as nuclear energy, oil and gas, transportation, medicine and education.

He reiterated that the quota of Ghanaian students studying in Russia would be increased in consultation with the appropriate authorities.

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