Africa: Visa Waiver Agreement Between Jamaica and Ghana to be Implemented
Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness says a visa waiver agreement is to be implemented between Jamaica and Ghana.
Mr. Holness said the Foreign Affairs Ministers of both countries have been mandated to negotiate and conclude the agreement.
The Prime Minister was issuing a press statement at Jamaica House on Saturday (June 15) along with President of the Republic of Ghana His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo who arrived in the island earlier today for a two-day official working visit. The statement followed bilateral talks between both leaders.
President Akufo-Addo’s visit forms part of a Caribbean tour to promote ‘The Year of Return, Ghana 2019’, which is a major landmark marketing campaign targeting the African – American and Diaspora Market to mark 400 years of the first enslaved African arriving in Jamestown Virginia.
The Prime Minister noted that the campaign was “central in our discussions” noting that the initiative, presents excellent opportunities to “build on the fraternal bonds and take the relations between our two countries and our peoples to greater heights”.
“We can use this initiative to forge increased inter-personal connections and at the same time deepen the trade and commercial relations between our respective countries,” he said.
Mr. Holness said the Ghanaian President’s visit reflects the continued strong bilateral relationship that exists between Jamaica and the Republic of Ghana, and reaffirmed Jamaica’s commitment to strengthening and deepening the relations between both countries.
“Our relations are deeply rooted in our ancestral and historical connections, forged over many years and only made stronger by our firm democratic traditions, shared principles and vision for peace and prosperity, and the cultural affinities which unite our peoples,” he said.
The Prime Minister informed that he and the Ghanaian President engaged in fruitful discussions to strengthen the partnership between both countries, to secure increased development opportunities.
He noted that discussions also focused on important bilateral matters and in particular, measures to improve trade and investment and the movement of people, goods and services between the countries.
“We also discussed the excellent opportunities for cooperation in other areas such as energy and mining; sport and culture; as well as tourism, education and training,” he said.
In his remarks, President Akufo-Addo stressed that it is now time to “give teeth” to the longstanding relations between Jamaica and Ghana “by making sure that the various areas of engagement in education, tourism, cultural activities are specifically tied down”.
“We cannot have visas standing in the way of those relations, so the decision has been taken by my Government… to provide visa-free arrangements for Jamaicans in Ghana, and facilitate and make it easier for you to accept our invitation to come and join us for the Year of Return,” he stated.
He noted that the intention is to use the symbolism of ‘The Year of Return, Ghana 2019’ to take concrete steps to solidify the relationship between not only Jamaica but other countries in the region.
“The relationship that we are forming here in Jamaica, will form part of this process of solidifying the relations between those of us on the continent of Africa and those of you in the Diaspora outside Africa,” he said.
As part of his schedule of activities for Saturday, President Akufo-Addo was led on a tour of the Seville Great House and Heritage Park in St. Ann.
On Sunday, the Ghanaian President will meet with the leadership of the University of the West Indies. He will also give a floral tribute at the shrine of National Hero, the Rt. Excellent Marcus Mosiah Garvey.
The President will conclude his visit on Sunday by giving remarks at the Opening of the 8th Biennial Jamaica Diaspora Conference at the Jamaica Conference Centre.
BY: ALECIA SMITH