'Tread cautiously' - Experts tell government on Chinese dealings

President Akufo-Addo with Chinese Premier, Li Keqiang

Experts want the government to come out with a clear policy detailing the strategy guide to its dealings with China. 

Making various submissions Saturday on Newsfile on Joy News TV/Joy FM regarding Ghana’s recent relations with China, the experts want the country to tread cautiously in order not to hurt its relations with the West. 

Ghana, as many African countries, have for decades depended largely on Europe and America for economic partnership agreements. 

The pendulum, however, appears to have swung towards the East and China in particular, which is currently said to be the largest manufacturing economy and exporter of goods. The Chinese economy is also the world's second largest by nominal GDP and the world's largest economy by purchasing power parity. 

On a recent visit to China, Ghanaian President, Nana Akufo-Addo and his host, Xi Jinping, signed eight (8) Co-operation Agreements and Memoranda of Understanding, in different sectors of their respective economies. The agreements also aimed at deepening the ties of co-operation and the bonds of friendship that exist between the two countries. 

But commenting on the recent partnership agreements between the two countries, immediate past Head of the University of Ghana Business School, Prof. Godfred Bokpin cautioned the government against falling hook, line, and sinker to China’s trade agreements. “We can’t trust them [China] at certain points,” Prof. Bokpin advised.

China he said, is using its financial resources to win the love of the rest of the world especially Africa because the latter is abound with natural resources needed by the Asian country to fuel its development agenda. He therefore, wants Ghana to adopt the principle of comparative advantage to capitalise on its dealings with China. 

Caution against rest of the world 

Labour expert, John Esiape, also said Ghana should be mindful of apparent trade wars between nations considered as economic powerhouses so that it does not find itself being hit with adverse decisions due to its affiliations with countries considered foes. 

“When you look at the international scene now, there’s a full fledge or almost a trade war…so as our leaders are getting involved in the deal we should be mindful of our relationship with the rest of the world,” Mr. Esiape warned. 

The Council Member of Labour Policy International further wants a strong local content policy on the side of the Ghanaian government so that its teeming unemployed youth can have access to jobs when the agreements are executed. 

“We should be mindful of the unemployment situation in this country and the local content [policy] should be key. How we create jobs for the youth of this country is very important,” Esiape advocated.

Bringing China to Ghana 

Joining the discussion via telephone, renowned International Relations expert, Dr. Vladimir Antwi Danso wants the government to focus more attention on enticing the Chinese to set up manufacturing plants in Ghana rather than the exporting finished goods into Ghana. 

Dr. Antwi Danso, who is also the Dean of the Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College, noted that China is reaching out to world on all fronts and said, Ghana’s interest would be served better when it puts its investment opportunities into proper use. 

“We need sustainability of the projects we are going to have with China, and that is the only way we will benefit from the Chinese,” he argued, stating that the “cautious commentary” must be the antenna for Ghana’s relationship with China.

Culled from Ghanaweb