Hon. James Zoogah Tiigah, the Upper East Regional Minister,
Respected Albert Alazuuga Akuka, District Chief Executive of Garu-Tempane District,
Respected Traditional Leaders,
President, Secretary General and Friends from Ghana-China Friendship Association,
Dear Teachers and Students,
Good morning! It's a great pleasure for me to celebrate the handover of China-aided ICT lab to Garu-Tempane Senior High School together with you at the very beginning of 2016. The construction of ICT lab is not an easy task, which has taken several months with the joint efforts of the Chinese Embassy in Ghana, Ghana-China Friendship Association, local government and school authority. At last, an ICT lab equipped with 30 computers and a whole set of modern teaching facilities was completed successfully. I'd like to express my sincere gratitude to all the friends who have been working painstakingly for this project.
The Project of China-Ghana Friendship ICT Lab is a branding project executed under the banner of "China-Africa People-to-People Friendly Action" of the Forum on China Africa Cooperation (FOCAC). Since the year of 2014, the Chinese Embassy in Ghana has aided ICT labs to Philip Akpo Memorial School in the Volta Region, Duong Junior High School in the Upper West Region, Awutu Senya D/A Junior High School in the Central Region and this school in the Upper East Region. Last month, the Johannesburg Summit of FOCAC, which was held successfully in South Africa, adopted a series of new ideas, new concepts, new policy and new initiatives to upgrade China-Africa relations to a new level of Comprehensive Strategic and Cooperative Partnership with "Five Pillars" and "Ten Cooperation Plan", and a total of US$60 billion of funding support was announced by China to African countries over the next three years. The Johannesburg Summit of FOCAC has mapped out the grand blueprint for the future development of China-Africa relations, bringing unprecedented development opportunities for Africa and Ghana. The "China-Africa People-to-People Friendly Action" will continue and more ICT labs together with other new programs will be aided to Ghana by the Chinese side.
Honorable Minister, Ladies and Gentlemen,
In recent years China Ghana cooperation, catalyzed by the mechanism of FOCAC, has yielded fruitful achievements in various sectors. In the first three quarters of 2015, China-Ghana trade volume hit US$ 5.01 billion, an increase of 27.9% over the same period of the previous year. The whole year trade volume is estimated to exceed US$ 6 billion, a new historical record. The pace of industrial capacity cooperation is speeding up significantly. Last year, a series of projects financed, executed or aided by the Chinese side, to name a few, the Atuabo Gas Processing Plant, Kpong Water Supply Expansion Project, the University of Health and Allied Sciences in Ho, were inaugurated one after another. Ghanaian enterprises such as All African Slipway Ltd., Prefos Streetlight Assembling Plant, Kantanka Automobiles Group, Jospong Group, introduced in Chinese technology and advanced equipment to improve their manufacturing capacity. These enterprises are recognized by the market and have won widespread praise. In the future, the Chinese side will make full play of the financial facilities such as the Special Loan for the Development of African SMEs, China-Africa Development Fund and China-Africa Fund for Production Capacity Cooperation to support the "Made-in-Ghana" campaign and "Better Ghana Agenda", guided by the principles of mutually beneficial and win-win cooperation.
The Upper East Region is the 10th region I have visited in Ghana, and is also the most attractive place I want to see since assuming office. There is an old Ghanaian proverb saying"if you stand afar and see the forest, it looks the same but when you get closer, you find that each tree has its own branches". Thanks to this trip, I can find the region's unique charm more deeply and personally. The traditional characteristic agriculture, exquisite handicrafts, rich renewable energy resources, busy cross-border trade, abundant mineral and cultivable land resources, all of these leave a profound impression upon myself. China has industrial advantages in the fields of agricultural technology, infrastructure construction, renewable energy utilization, mineral exploration and so on. Therefore China and the Upper East Region have huge potentials in the capacity cooperation. Chinese enterprises have already built up the first ever solar plant in this region as well as water supply project and mining sites here. I will encourage more Chinese enterprises to invest and settle their business down in the Upper East Region, guide them to pay more attention to safety in production and fulfill corporate social responsibility to benefit the local people.
I want to speak a few words to the students present today. Information technology is the symbol of knowledge-based economy and a catalyst for the transformation and upgrading of traditional industries. It not only leads the development trend of the times, but also gives birth to a batch of modern technology giants such as Apple, Google and Facebook. Currently, there is a wave of "Internet plus" booming in China, mass entrepreneurship and innovation are getting more and more popular. Chinese Internet companies, such as Alibaba, Baidu and Tencent gradually stand in the spotlight on the world stage. This ICT lab has built up a bridge for you to better communicate with the whole world and opened up a window to the sky of vast knowledge. Maybe in the near future, someone among you will become a great entrepreneur and game-changer like Steve Jobs, Larry Page and Jack Ma.
Finally, I would like to quote President Mahama's New Year Message of 2016 as saying that"Just as each of us is greeting the New Year with the intention of constructive change and the expectation of exciting new possibilities in our personal lives, let us also greet it with the same intentions and expectations in the life of our nation and let us go forward in 2016 with courage and not caution, with optimism and a faith in our ability to achieve and succeed". I wish all the students would take full advantage of these facilities, study hard to be bearers of China-Ghana traditional friendship and constructors of Ghana's economic society, and make contributions to social progress and development of the times.