The President of the Swiss Confederation, H.E. Mrs. Simonetta Sommaruga, has invited the President of The Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to for a two-day state visit to Switzerland. The Swiss government, composed of seven federal councillors, will receive the President of the Republic of Ghana and his delegation with military honours in Berne, Switzerland’s capital on the 28th and 29th February 2020.

At the core of the official talks will be the establishment of a closer partnership in the fight against climate change, but also discussions on trade and economic relations, development cooperation and Switzerland’s continuing support for peace and security via the Kofi Annan Peacekeeping Training Center (KAIPTC) in Accra.

Official talks will be headed by President Simonetta Sommaruga, the Vice-President of the Federal Council, H.E. Guy Parmelin and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, H.E. Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis.

Swiss government 2020
Swiss government 2020

President Akufo-Addo’s travel to Switzerland is a historic event. Since 1957, he is the first president from a sub-Saharan country to pay a state visit to Switzerland. State visits to Switzerland have a very special significance: the foreign guest is not only received by the yearly rotating President of the Confederation but the Swiss federal government as a whole. The state visit of President Akufo-Addo is thus a sign of the excellent bilateral relations that exist between Ghana and Switzerland since Ghana’s independence.

H.E. Philipp Stalder, Ambassador of Switzerland and Honorable Minster of Trade and Industry, Alan Kwadwo Kyeremanteng
H.E. Philipp Stalder, Ambassador of Switzerland and Honorable Minster of Trade and Industry, Alan Kwadwo Kyeremanteng

Although this is President Akufo-Addo’s first state visit to Switzerland, Ghana and Switzerland regularly meet each other at the highest state level. The former President of the Swiss Confederation, H.E. Mrs. Doris Leuthard paid an official visit to Ghana in 2017.

“The bilateral relations between Ghana and Switzerland are excellent and rich in tradition. In fact, the Embassy of Switzerland in Ghana this year celebrates its 60th anniversary. For Switzerland, Ghana is of growing importance in tackling global challenges and cooperating politically and economically. This two days’ state visit demonstrates the growing depth of our long-standing and friendly partnership”, says the Ambassador of Switzerland to Ghana, Benin and Togo, Mr Philipp Stalder.

Ghana-Switzerland relations
Ghana-Switzerland relations

Ghana is indeed Switzerland’s second-biggest trading partner in Africa. In 2019, Switzerland recorded a trading volume of 2.5 billion USD with Ghana. Gold and cocoa exports to Switzerland account for the majority of the trade. Under its development cooperation program, Switzerland has invested more than 370 Million USD and supports Ghana to diversify its economy and use its resources sustainably. For example, Switzerland works with the Ministry of Finance to improve the management of revenues from natural resources. Switzerland also cooperates with Ghana under the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) and launched the Swiss Platform for Sustainable Cocoa with the aim of improving social, environmental and economic sustainability of the cocoa sector.

“Ghana has been one of the few priority countries for the economic development cooperation of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) since 2002. It will remain one for the next strategy period”, says the Head of Cooperation SECO in Ghana, Mr Matthias Feldmann.