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Ghana, Finland ties Minister calls for closer ties with Finland

He said the two countries could collaborate and cooperate in areas such as forestry and mining; stating that “in this era of low gold prices we are looking for low cost mining”.

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Nii Osah Mills, Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, has called for greater collaboration and cooperation between Ghana and Finland for their mutual benefit.

He said the two countries could collaborate and cooperate in areas such as forestry and mining; stating that “in this era of low gold prices we are looking for low cost mining”.

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Nii Osah Mills made the remarks on Tuesday during a meeting with a high-powered Finish delegation led by Mr Matti Anttonen, the Under-Secretary of State for External Economic Relations, Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland.

The Finish delegation, representing a wide range of companies, is in Ghana to explore business opportunities, strengthen the existing political relationship and further develop the economic ties between the two countries.


Nii Osah Mills hailed Finland for its excellent forest cover, which has being well managed from generation to generation; and that Ghana could learn from it.

He said the example of Uruguay, a small country in Latin America, which used 15 years to turn its forest cover from zero to becoming a timber exporting nation, shows that there is so much more to do to save Ghana’s forest cover.

“The possibilities are there for us and it shows that there is so much more that we as a country could do in the forestry sector, than we are doing.

“I have been given information about Germany and how much it rakes in as revenue annually from its forestry sector.

“On the other hand Ghana is constantly losing its forest cover and the challenge is constant and we have a lot more to do to stop it,” he said.

He said somehow Ghana has to be able to get a hard core group of people like they have in Finland, where generations guard the forest that their parents have planted and they only go to make it better.

“And they probably spend their whole life literally guarding it. Where are we going to get such people in this country?

“We have to nurture our children; that is let the children grow up with a kind of love for the forest.

“You can plant a forest but if there is no one dedicated to keep it, it will go away,” the Minister said.

Nii Osah Mills said at the turn of century, Ghana had 8.2 million hectares of forest cover, which has within 15 years dwindled now to 4.6 million of hectares, stating that “that is a large difference”.

“If within 15 years, Uruguay can go from nothing to making significant revenues from forest products, so can Ghana. So we have to reverse this trend. We have to regenerate the forest. We have to somehow get that dedicated cadre of the youth to buy into forest plantation, buy into ownership of forest and to literally guard the forest with their lives,” he said.

On his part, Mr Anttonen lauded the excellent relationship between the two countries.

He said Finland has not got big mining companies as other European nations, but has several good technology providers.

He said Finland is one of the most forested countries in the world; with three fourths of the land area, some 23 million hectares (76 per cent) under forests.

On how Finland has been able to maintain an excellent forest cover, he said their forest model merge both conservation and economics,  in which  generations come and go and they maintain the forest in a better shape than they met; adding that the forest sector in Finland provides livelihood for many people and has a very bright future.

Mrs Pirjo Suomela-Chowdhury, the Finland Ambassador to Ghana and Nigeria, said the aim of the visit was to promote strong trade and economic cooperation; for a win-win situation for both countries.

Mrs Edith Hazel, Ghana’s Ambassador to Denmark and Finland, said Ghanaians were interested in getting investors into the Ghana, which is also a win-win situation.

Mr Kwabena Mintah Akandoh, Deputy Minister for Lands and Natural Resources in-charge of mining, called for the promotion of technical and economic cooperation between the two countries.
        

Credit: GNA

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