(3 May 2016)
Your Excellency John Dramani Mahama, President of the Republic of Ghana,
Honorable Ministers, Regional Ministers and Mayors,
Honorable Members of Parliament,
Colleagues from the Diplomatic Corps,
Delegation of China National U-19 Football Team,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Dear Friends and My Compatriots,
Good afternoon! It is a great pleasure for me to come to Cape Coast, a well-known historical and cultural city in Ghana, and share this exciting moment with you.
Since its construction in July 2013, the Cape Coast Sports Stadium, with a Chinese government grant of USD 30 million, has been completed successfully after two and half years’ intensive work. Let me begin by saluting the contractor- China Jiangxi Corporation for International Economic and Technical Cooperation. You have accomplished your mission successfully against all odds and watered the flowers of China-Ghana friendship with your sweat. I also would like to extend my gratitude to H.E. President Mahama and all the Ghanaian friends who have cared for, supported and participated in this project. With your help, a new landmark of China-Ghana friendship is erected on the land of Ghana.
Merely a few years ago, this place was a wasteland cloaked with weeds and bushes. Now, a 16700-seat-capacity ultra-modern and magnificent stadium furnished with 8 runways, one football pitch, basketball courts, one handball court, one box training field, athlete dormitories, parking areas and other facilities rise straight from the ground. The newly-built stadium, which looks like a shell sleeping on the beach or a white sail in the sea, perfectly matches beautiful Cape Coast. I am confident that it will further promote the development of the sports of Ghana, enhance the capacity of Ghana of hosting major sports events, diversify the cultural and sports life of the Ghanaian people, and stimulate the economic development of Ghana and Cape Coast in particular. It is a gift from the Chinese government and people to the Ghanaian people, demonstrating the deep sentiments between our two countries and peoples.
The key to sound relations between countries lies in the affinity between their peoples, which largely stems from mutual understanding. China always seeks to consolidate public support for our bilateral cooperation through cultural and people-to-people exchanges. The China-aided projects in Ghana include among others the National Theater, Office Complexes of the Foreign Ministry and Defense Ministry, the Expansion Project of the New Century Training Institute as well as University of Health and Allied Sciences in Ho. Driven by the mechanisms of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), the exchanges between our youth, media, think-tanks and higher institutions are ever-increasing. The Chinese side provides a large number of scholarship and training opportunities to Ghana each year. In the Central Region alone, we have implemented the Awutu Senya D/A Junior High School Expansion Project and set up the Chinese Ambassador Scholarship programme in the University of Cape Coast. The second Confucius Institute in Ghana will be inaugurated in the University of Cape Coast on 27th this month. The Chinese government will work together with the Ghanaian government to set up more platforms to strengthen the bonds of our two peoples so that China-Ghana friendship will be carried forward from generation to generation.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
To celebrate the inauguration of the Cape Coast Sports Stadium and to strengthen exchanges and friendship, we have invited China National U-19 Football Team to have a football friendship match with Ghana National U-20 Football Team after the ceremony. More than 2300 years ago, the Chinese people invented football. But now compared with world football power such as Ghana, China lags far behind. Ghana National U-20 Football Team, a former FIFA U-20 World Cup Champion and a three-time African Champion, is a famous team featured by indomitable styles and solid skills. I hope that the two teams can put friendship first, competition second and present the audience with a wonderful match. I also hope that the young players of China Youth Team can learn from their Ghanaian brothers, raise their level of skills and tactics and accumulated strength for the development of China’s football cause.
To support the football cause of Ghana, the Chinese Football Association decides to take this opportunity to donate 300 footballs to the Ghanaian side. This donation, though limited in figure, can help thousands of Ghanaian kids play football. In Ghana, you can see kids chasing football on the beach, open space, streets and in the alleys. Many footballs they play are actually made by cloth, plastic bags and strings. But it can’t cover up Ghanaian kids’ talents and passion. To them, football means happiness, life and dream. I hope the Ghanaian children could will a happy childhood with the companion of these footballs. Moreover, I wish that with the help of this humble donation, more Abedi Pele Ayew, Sulley Muntari, Michael Essien and Asamoah Gyan will come to the fore.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Currently, China-Ghana and China-Africa relations are at a stage of high-speed and all-round development. Last December,the Johannesburg Summit of FOCAC put forward a new China-Africa cooperation framework of “1+5+10”. Ensued by the successful meeting between H.E. Chinese President Mr. Xi Jinping and H.E. President Mahama at the Summit, H.E. Mr. Yu Zhengsheng, Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), paid an official and goodwill visit to Ghana two weeks ago to promote the implementation of the outcomes of the Summit and China-Ghana pragmatic cooperation on all fronts. Both China and Ghana should take the opportunity of all-round development of China-Africa relations, exploit the conducive conditions of shared development strategy and mutually complementary advantages, promote the transformation and upgrading of China-Ghana relations and enhance quality and efficiency of cooperation and bring more benefits to our two peoples. By doing so, China-Ghana relations will be ushered into a new era of win-win cooperation and common development.