Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for Social Policies Tharman Shanmugaratnam made an official visit to Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire from 3 to 7 November as part of Singapore’s deepening engagement with Sub-Saharan Africa.
In Accra, SM Tharman called on President Nana Akufo Addo, Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia and Minister for Finance Ken Ofori-Atta respectively, and also met with the Ministers in the Ghana Economic Management Team. They discussed the steps needed to attain the country’s vision of a Ghana Beyond Aid, and practical areas in which the two countries could work together including in technical and vocational education, tax administration and management of state enterprises, investment promotion and FinTech.
SM Tharman also met with several Ministers in Abidjan to discuss ways to enhance bilateral cooperation, including sharing Singapore’s experience in areas such as housing.
SM Tharman also met with African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina and delivered a Kofi A. Annan Eminent Speakers Lecture at the African Development Bank headquarters in Abidjan. He spoke on the strategic orientations needed in policy-making to achieve inclusive and sustainable growth, drawing on lessons from both Asia and Africa. They included active steps to maximise and spread the benefits of economic openness. Africa had the opportunity of diversifying its commodity-based economies by moving into agri-industry exports, and to use the new African Continental FTA (AfCFTA) to achieve industrial specialisation and develop the capabilities needed to participate in global value chains. He also highlighted the need to invest more boldly in the social foundations of growth. “It is investing in the social foundations – in education, in healthcare, in housing – that we create optimism in the future, as well as that sense of togetherness amongst people of different backgrounds.”
SM Tharman also spoke about the need to think long-term to develop financial resilience and environmental sustainability; as well as the need to focus on achieving policy coherence and effectiveness. “These are lessons coming out of experience of the last 30 years in Asia and Africa. If we each can focus on these strategic orientations, we have more than a fair chance of succeeding.”
SM Tharman also participated in a fireside chat at the Singapore-Ghana Business Forum co-organised by Enterprise Singapore and the Singapore Business Federation.
SM Tharman returns to Singapore today (8 November 2019).
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MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS
8 NOVEMBER 2019