As a way of expanding the range of critical debates and of stimulating interactions devoted to national and international issues by academic and non-academic fraternity, the College of Humanities (CoH) held the second in the series of dialogue sessions at the ISSER Conference Hall on the theme “Africa-Asia Relations: The Search for New Frontiers.” The Dialogue was chaired by Prof. Kofi Anyidoho of the Department of English at the University of Ghana.
Provost of the CoH, Prof. Samuel Agyei-Mensah
In his opening remarks, the Provost of the CoH, Prof. Samuel Agyei-Mensah, welcomed participants to the second dialogue in the Dialogue Series and indicated that the envoys of the three countries present, China, Japan, and South Korea, were selected to reflect on the historical and contemporary ties as well as mutual interest between the two continents, Africa and Asia. He underscored the importance of the dialogue series as one which would help facilitate Asian studies and give publicity to the newly established, Centre for Asian Studies (CAS) at the University of Ghana
Dr. George Lloyd Adu Amoah, Acting Director of the Centre for Asian Studies at the University of Ghana, explained that the rationale for setting up the Asian Centre was to provide research-driven policies that could serve Ghana’s and Africa’s development aspiration. He presented an overview of the Africa-Asia relations, (then and now), highlighting Vernet’s work, which showed that the Swahili traders of East Africa were acutely aware of trading opportunities with China in the 15th and 16th centuries. He also presented data on contemporary trade relations between the two continents, showing a rise in imports and exports. Dr. Adu Amoah expressed the view that Africa-Asia relations will greatly benefit if its scope is expanded beyond economics to other areas of mutual interest.
Her Excellency (H.E.) Ms. Sun Baohong, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the People’s Republic of China to Ghana
Her Excellency (H.E.) Ms. Sun Baohong, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the People’s Republic of China to Ghana, spoke on the theme ‘China-Africa Cooperation: a model of Asia-Africa relations.’ She noted that about 245 contracts worth over USD 50 billion between China and Africa countries have been signed since the economy and trade Summit of FOCAC held in Johannesburg. H. E. Ms. Sun Baohong also spoke about the China-Africa cultural cooperation mechanisms, and the China-Africa peace and security cooperation, and proposed ways to help advance China-Africa relations.
H. E. Kaoru Yoshimura, Japanese Ambassador
H. E. Kaoru Yoshimura, Japanese Ambassador to Ghana, focused on the 60 years of good relations between Ghana and Japan, recounting historically important events that have occurred at roughly the same time in each country. These include that fact that Japan joined the United Nations in December 1956 and Ghana gained independence in 1957; and that fact that the Adomi Bridge and the Tokyo tower were both completed in December 1958. Speaking on prospects of Japan-Africa relations, H. E. Kaoru said that from 2016 to 2018 Japan will invest in Africa by implementing measures centering on developing quality infrastructure, building resilient healthcare systems, and laying the foundations for peace and stability under public-private partnerships.
H. E. Lyeo-Woon Ki, South Korean Ambassador
H. E. Lyeo-Woon Ki, South Korean Ambassador to Ghana stressed on economic cooperation, including trade and investment issues, between Asia and Africa. He was of the view that Africa is a promising place for investment, considering the rapid population growth and its gift of raw materials. He concluded by touching on the Korean-African relations and the willingness of Korea to help Africa achieve self-sustainability.
The Chairperson of the event, Prof. Kofi Anyidoho, in his concluding remarks urged Africans to look to Asia not for what can be derived from Asia but also to see what lessons can be learnt from them. 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.
The next dialogue in the series, scheduled for 23rd November 2016, will focus on Africa and will be on the theme ‘Demographic Destinies and African Destinies.’
A Section of the Audience