Dialogue 2 Africa-Asia Relations: The Search for New Frontiers

The College of Humanities(COH) Dialogue 2 took place at the Institute for Statistical, Social and Economic Research(ISSER) Conference Centre on October 29, 2016. Held under the theme “ Asia-Africa Relations: The Search for New Frontiers” the event was graced by envoys from some of Asia’s leading countries namely H.E.Sun Baohong(China’s ambassador to Ghana), H.E Kaoru Yoshimura(Japan’s ambassador to Ghana) and H.E. Woon-Ki Lyeo(Korea’s Ambassador to Ghana). The Chair for the occasion was  Prof. Kofi Anyidoho of the English Department, University of Ghana.
In his opening remarks Prof Samuel Agyei-Mensah, Provost of COH stressed that the Dialogue Series had been instituted to facilitate sustained interaction between the College and its publics on topical national and international issues. “Dialogue 2’s focus on Africa-Asia relations underscores the rationale of the Dialogue Series to catalyze deep reflections on current local and global affairs,”  he opined. Prof. Agyei-Mensah added that the Dialogue 2 was being strategically utilized to outdoor the newly set up Centre for Asian Studies
Dr. Lloyd. G. Adu Amoah, Acting Director for the Centre for Asian Studies (CAS) in his remarks noted that Africa-Asia Relations required a new orientation in the coming decades of the twenty-first century.  Africa- Asia engagements, Dr. Amoah emphasized, will be far more mutually beneficial to both parties if framed beyond trade and economics to embrace “wider humanistic concerns encompassing philosophical, ideational, historical, technological, cultural and linguistic matters.” CAS, he added, will in tandem with other key units of the University of Ghana play its role in this crucial search for new frontiers.
On her part H.E. Sun Baohong recalled China’s long standing and historic relations with Africa. She noted that about 245 contracts worth over USD 50 billion had been signed between China and Africa countries following the Forum on China-Africa Co-operation (FOCAC) which was last held in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2015. The Chinese Ambassador pointed to greater exploration of Africa-China cultural cooperation mechanisms and deeper collaboration on China-Africa peace and security issues as some of the areas for mapping out fresh frontiers for China-Africa relations.
H. E. Kaoru Yoshimura, Japanese Ambassador to Ghana, focused on the 60 years of good relations between Ghana and Japan and recounted historically important events that have occurred at roughly the same time in each country. He indicated that Japan joined the United Nations in December 1956 while Ghana gained independence in 1957; the Adomi Bridge and the Tokyo tower were both completed in December 1958. Pivoting his presentation around the Sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development,TICAD(VI), which was  held in Nairobi ,H. E. Kaoru Yoshimura, drew attention to the prospects for  fresh impetus for Japan-Africa relations through developing quality infrastructure, building resilient healthcare systems, and laying the foundations for peace and stability through public-private partnerships.
H. E. Woon-Ki Lyeo, South Korean Ambassador to Ghana was of the view that Africa is a promising place for investment, considering its rapid population growth and natural resources endowment. He argued that the revolution in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector could be a vital prop for Africa-Korea relations given the prospects on offer for Africa’s rapid socio-economic and technological transformation.
The Chairperson of the event, Prof. Kofi Anyidoho, in his final remarks urged  Africans to look to Asia not for what can be derived materially from that continent but rather focus on the lessons East Asia’s rapid economic transformation can offer Africa. Africa , he concluded ,given its long civilization and rich culture could also share its values and experiences with Asia. The Chairman expressed his gratitude to the speakers for sharing insights on the Africa-Asia relations and thanked the audience for participating in the Dialogue.