Dutch Prime Minister, Mr Mark Rutte, who is on a two-day visit to Ghana, on Sunday, paid a working visit to the Presidency at the Flagstaff House, where he met President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.


The Dutch Prime Minister is in Ghana to reaffirm and strengthen the excellent relations that have existed between Ghana and the Netherlands and also foster economic co-operation.


Engaged in a tète-a-tète with Prime Minister Rutte, President Akufo-Addo said his government's focus was to build capacity to improve on the economy in order to create dignified jobs and lives for younger people.


“We want to build Ghana beyond Aid,” President Akufo-Addo said, emphasizing on building a strong economy that would afford Ghanaians the opportunity to create world class businesses.


President Akufo-Addo said Ghana could not depend on aid and charity to finance key sectors of its economy. “We can no longer continue to make policies for ourselves on our country, region and our continent on the basis of whatever support the Western world or European Union can gives us. It will not work and it has not worked,” he said.


He said Ghana should be able to finance its own basic needs and draw a plan about how to develop the nation itself because  it was  not right for a country like Ghana, 60 years after independence, to still have its health and education budgets being financed on the basis of the generosity and charity of European tax payers.


President Akufo-Addo said the African continent was still a repository of, at least, 30 per cent of the most important minerals in the world, with vast, fertile and arable lands, and with the youngest population than any continent in the world.


Ghana and Africa, he said, should, therefore, be able to stand on their feet and not depend on the surpluses of the French or Netherlands’s taxpayer.


He was, however, appreciative of the various interventions that the European taxpayers had made and continued to make, over the past years, to support the Government and people of Ghana.


On his part, Prime Minister Rutte noted that Ghana and the Netherlands had enjoyed excellent relations, especially since 1992.


Prime Minister Rutte said his main concern was how Europe and Africa could work together adding, the EU-AU Summit in Còte d’Ivoire had reassured him of enhanced relations for the betterment of the two blocks.


The Dutch Prime Minister said Netherlands was committed to the transition from Aid to trade and that there were many Netherlands entrepreneurs who were more than ready to invest in Ghana and Africa.


Other activities lined up  for Prime Minister Rutte’s visit include a visit to MDK Flowers and Greens, a Dutch company in Tema that produces flowers and plants for export to the Netherlands.


He will also sign an agreement for a loan issued by Fidelity bank to a hospital in Teshie, through the Dutch-funded Water and Sanitation programme―a program that engages the private sector by offering a sustainable financial model for business in water and sanitation.


Prime Minister Rutte’s visit coincided with that of the French President, Emmanuel Macron, who is also on a state visit to Ghana.


The two leaders had a working lunch at the Presidency with their host, Ghana's President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.


Both President Macron and Prime Minister Rutte had agreed at the African Union-European Union (AU-EU) Summit in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire to visit Ghana together.


Source: ISD (Rex Mainoo Yeboah)