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Ghana - China Relations

Ghana is one of the first Sub-Saharan African countries to establish diplomatic relations with China. The two countries enjoy profound traditional friendship. In recent years, within the framework of FOCAC, China-Ghana cooperation in the fields of economy, trade, health and education has maintained a good momentum and yielded fruitful achievements. In 2016 bilateral trade volume between China and Ghana reached USD 5.9 billion, ranking 6th in that of Africa. China is also one of major countries to invest in Ghana, and projects aided, invested, or financed by China involve important fields of Ghana's national welfare and people's livelihood.

Next to the former Soviet Union, China was the most active communist nation in Ghana. Chinese activities began in October 1962, when Beijing provided a loan for the construction of two arms factories; Ghana, however, never used the funds. Two years later, the two countries signed a secret agreement for the provision of military equipment and advisers for Ghana's "freedom fighters."

In late 1964, a five-member team of Chinese guerrilla warfare experts arrived at Half Assini Training Camp. Shortly thereafter, this team inaugurated a twenty-day course that consisted of training in the manufacture and the use of explosives, guerrilla tactics, and "basic guiding and thinking on armed struggle." Other Chinese instructors offered another course at Obenimase Camp in Ashanti Region on strategy and tactics, explosives, weapons use, telecommunications, and battlefield first aid. An unknown number of Ghanaians also attended a three-month espionage training course in China.

Students from many other African nations, including Zaire, Niger, Cameroon, Fernando Po, Tanzania, Zambia, Rwanda, Togo, Cote d'lvoire, Burkina, Gabon, Nigeria, and Guinea, also received intelligence training from the Chinese in Ghana.

After the 1966 change of government, Ghana expelled 430 Chinese nationals, including three intelligence officers and thirteen guerrilla warfare specialists. Although they resumed diplomatic relations in 1972, Ghana and China never re-initiated significant military ties.

While China's close ties to Ghana date to the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1960, economic and commercial ties are growing, with China focused on a series of high-profile infrastructure projects. The Chinese have shown little interest, however, in coordinating with other major development partners and are notably absent from regular sector coordination meetings.

Next to the former Soviet Union, China was the most active communist nation in Ghana. Chinese activities began in October 1962, when Beijing provided a loan for the construction of two arms factories; Ghana, however, never used the funds. Two years later, the two countries signed a secret agreement for the provision of military equipment and advisers for Ghana's "freedom fighters."

In late 1964, a five-member team of Chinese guerrilla warfare experts arrived at Half Assini Training Camp. Shortly thereafter, this team inaugurated a twenty-day course that consisted of training in the manufacture and the use of explosives, guerrilla tactics, and "basic guiding and thinking on armed struggle." Other Chinese instructors offered another course at Obenimase Camp in Ashanti Region on strategy and tactics, explosives, weapons use, telecommunications, and battlefield first aid.

An unknown number of Ghanaians also attended a three-month espionage training course in China. Students from many other African nations, including Zaire, Niger, Cameroon, Fernando Po, Tanzania, Zambia, Rwanda, Togo, Cote d'lvoire, Burkina, Gabon, Nigeria, and Guinea, also received intelligence training from the Chinese in Ghana. After the 1966 change of government, Ghana expelled 430 Chinese nationals, including three intelligence officers and thirteen guerrilla warfare specialists. Although they resumed diplomatic relations in 1972, Ghana and China never re-initiated significant military ties.

In teh 21st Century, China focused its efforts in Ghana in the commercial and economic areas, but also provided support to Ghana's participation in various African peacekeeping missions, including a grant to purchase vehicles, the sale of several Chinese fighter jets and the rehabilitation of Ghanaian military buildings. Ghana-China relations have been very strong in recent years, as the countries continue to exchange high-level and technical visits following Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to Ghana in June 2006 and President Kufuor's attendance at the Beijing Summit on China-Africa Cooperation in November 2006.

China remains an important and growing trade and investment partner for Ghana. According to IMF statistics, China was the number two exporter to Ghana (behind Nigeria) in 2006. Ghana's statistics submitted to the WTO indicate that China was the number one source of imports in 2006, supplying 9.5 percent of all imports. Only about one percent of Ghana's exports go to China, however. According to the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC), China registered the most investments in 2007 (65) in terms of number and the second largest in terms of value (about $130 million over the life of the investment). Not all investments that are registered with GIPC materialize but the figures are indicative of the level of interest China is showing in Ghana.

China has also financed some major infrastructure projects, including providing a $600 million loan to finance construction of a 400 megawatt hydro-electric dam at Bui in Brong Ahafo. Chinese projects have also included building a large youth center in Kumasi, a new Ministry of Defense headquarters, and renovating the National Theatre in Accra.

There were discussions of possible Chinese involvement in rehabilitating Ghana's railroad network, but it is unclear how serious this initiative may be. In addition, there is a Ghanaian-Chinese joint venture plan to construct a 200-500 MW gas-stream combined cycle power generation project near Kpone, and a pulp and paper mill at Dabuase in the Western Region.

Chinese involvement in the natural resources sector is also growing and merits close attention in terms of environmental stewardship. A Chinese delegation recently visited Ghana to discuss investment in Ghana's forestry sector. Ghana may provide financing for aquaculture cultivation of tilapia for domestic consumption and possibly for a partnership to produce salt resistant tilapia for export to China. China is also engaged in commercial fishing, sometimes intruding into areas reserved for local artisanal shipping. China has also sent medical teams to Ghana to perform research and combat infectious diseases.

China is clearly playing an important development role in Ghana with major projects centered on infrastructure, and the Chinese-Ghana relationship appears to be robust. Because China has brought in a large number of Chinese workers for projects such as the recent construction and rehabilitation of sports stadiums, there has been a limited impact on job creation for Ghanaians.

The two countries have also conducted fruitful cooperation on military and security featuring frequent high-level exchanges, projects aided by the Chinese side such as the office complex of the Ministry of Defense, and the various training opportunities provided by China.





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