Accra, Ghana, November 9, 2018//-It is now obvious that China has extended its strong hold on some African countries including Zambia, Kenya and Tanzania to Ghana.
As it has been documented by experts, China is using its wealth to lure these countries into signing deals ranging from agric, mining, infrastructure to vehicle assembling.
Ghana is surrounding by French-speaking countries namely, Ivory Coast, Burkina and Togo, its effort at encouraging speaking and teaching French is nothing to write home about.
However, China through its embassy in Ghana is making frantic effort to ensure that Chinese language becomes one of the popular languages in the West African country.
The apparent rationale behind the push for Chinese language on Ghanaians is trade and commerce, but there is more to it than that. It could part of China’s grand scheme to takeover Ghana as it is doing to other African countries.
Just this week, Ghanaian media landscape was saturated with the news that the Confucius Institute at the University of Ghana had launched a programme aimed at training personnel of the Ghana Immigration Service on speaking Chinese language.
The programme aimed at breaking the language barrier between Chinese nationals and Immigration Officers who arrive at the Kotoka International Airport on a daily basis.
Speaking at the launch in Accra, Director of the Confucius Institute, Dr. Meilian Mei, said the main objective of this initiative was to help create a friendly atmosphere between Chinese visiting Ghana and immigration officers, as well as facilitate communication between them as they go through immigration formalities on their arrival at the airport.
She added that “the programme will be organized for 70 Immigration officers and there will be a two to three hour lesson each week for eight weeks.
At the end of the programme, the trained officers will be given a certificate and the best will be awarded prizes, while some others will be selected for further training to enable them to acquire higher proficiency in Chinese.
Ghana’s President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo was among over the 30 heads of state who flew to Beijing to attend this 2018 Forum on China-Africa Cooperation summit in September.
During the summit side deals, and the announcement of a USD$60 billion financing package for the African countries, was something that the African leaders cherished.
President Akufo-Addo alone signed eight key project agreements with the Chinese President Xi Jinping , in different sectors of the Ghanaian economy.
These are agreements are aimed at deepening the ties of co-operation and the bonds of friendship that exist between the two countries.
The agreements were signed on Saturday, 1 September, 2018, after the President Akufo-Addo, and the President of the People’s Republic of China, Xi Jinping, held bilateral talks, as part of President Akufo-Addo’s State Visit to China.
The agreements are the “One belt one road Memorandum of Understanding”, “Memorandum on Regional Aviation Co-operation”, “Agreement for Co-operation in the peaceful use of nuclear energy”, and “Co-operation to carry out Maternal and Child Health Project”.
The rest are “Framework Agreement on Financing Insurance Co-operation” ($2 billion Sino-Hydro deal), “Economic co-operation on Phase 2 project of the University of Health and Allied Sciences, Ho”, “Co-operation on the expansion of the Cape Coast Stadium”, and “Co-operation on the supply of police
vehicles to the Ghana Police Service.”
Speaking with President Xi Jinping, prior to the signing of the eight agreements, President Akufo-Addo noted that the relationship between Ghana
and China, over the years, have been excellent, noting that “Ghana has been a firm friend of China.”
With China, for the last three years, being Ghana’s largest trading partner, the President stated that “Chinese co-operation and investment in our economy are extremely essential” to the delivery of progress and prosperity to the Ghanaian people.
In the area of construction, most road construction works are being done by Chinese companies since advent of the Akufo-Addo-leg government. Although Ghanaian constructors have the capacity to undertake such works, the government doesn’t award the constructs to them.
The Chinese Embassy issued over 17,000 visas for Ghanaians last year, and more than 6,500 Ghanaian young people study in China at present.
The number of Ghanaian professionals receiving training in China has increased from over 300 in 2014 to more than 900 last year.
In education, the political counsellor of the Chinese Embassy and Deputy Head of the Chinese Embassy, Zhu Jing, said 6,500 Ghanaians national are currently studying in China.
“With the rapid growth of China-Ghana economic cooperation, the two countries have witnessed the flourishing of people-to-people exchanges.
For tourism, the government through the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Arts has facilitated the introduction of an innovative programme dubbed ‘I Go Ghana to attract Chinese tourists into the West African country.
The programme is jointly run by the Standard Bank Group, Stanbic Bank Ghana’s parent group, and the Industrial Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) with support from the Ghana Tourism Authority.
With China as the world’s number one source market for tourism with 129 million outbound trips in 2017, Ghana hopes to attract a fraction of this figure to boost its economy.
Speaking at the launch in Accra, Alhassan Andani, Chief Executive of Stanbic Bank Ghana, said: “Ghana, being our home, we believe in driving her growth. That is why we see this partnership to bring to the people of Ghana and China closer as an opportunity to unlock the untapped potential that contact between the two countries offers.
Deepening Ghana-Sino contacts will undoubtedly deliver even more benefits to the economy and underline our total commitment to driving growth”.
Under the initiative, according to Mr Andani, Chinese tourists who visit Ghana would receive discounts and special offers whenever they use ICBC cards at selected travel, hospitality and lifestyle merchants in the country.
Lincoln Mali, Standard Bank’s Group Head of Card and Emerging Payments, added: “China has emerged as a key economic partner for Africa in recent years and through the ‘I Go Ghana’ programme, Standard Bank wants to strengthen relations between Ghana and China through trade and tourism. Such an arrangement, we believe is good for the tourism industry and the economies of the two countries”.
To further support this initiative and strengthen the Africa-China corridor, we as Stanbic, have been hard at work to enable the acceptance of Union Pay International cards on our Point of Sale devices, he explained.
“Customers travelling from China can now use their standard issue Union Pay International card to make purchases at all participating I-Go Ghana merchants – acceptance of this Scheme will be rolled out over the duration of 2018 into 2019 to non-participating merchants”.
Economists and foreign relation experts however expressed the fear that opening Ghana to Chinese tourists would lead to social and economic vices.
By Masahudu Ankiilu Kunateh, African Eye Report