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The governments of Ghana and Norway pledged here on Monday to deepen bilateral economic ties in order to ensure greater mutual development in their respective countries.

Addressing the Norway-Ghana Business and Investment Forum held here, Nikolai Astrup, Norwegian Minister for International Development remarked that the two countries had shared aspirations which must be tapped in cooperation for mutual benefit.

“Our bilateral relations have grown substantially since the opening of the Norwegian embassy in Accra in 2011- Sharing knowledge in sectors that are a priority for Ghana, has been the central pillar in our cooperation,”Astrup stated.

According to him fisheries had historically been the backbone of both the Ghanaian and the Norwegian economy and Illegal, unregulated and undocumented fisheries undermined income generation and jeopardise fish-stocks for both countries.

The occasion also marked the official opening of the West African office of the Norwegian Development Finance Institution-Nordic Fund (Norfund) which has been sited in Ghana.

“The main purpose of expanding Norfund’s presence into Ghana is to look for opportunities in the agricultural sector and to build a pipeline of bankable projects in the agribusiness value chain. One of Norfund’s priorities is to invest in agribusiness in sub-Sahara Africa,” Astrup explained.

These investments the Norwegian minister said should be of high development impact, both in terms of jobs and potential for growth.

There were 20 Norwegian companies attending from Norway with 50 Norwegian-Ghanaian businesses also in attendance.

In his keynote speech Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia dilated on the vision and strategic focus of Ghana-Beyond –Aid proposed by the Ghanaian government in the short-to-medium term.

He said building a ‘‘Ghana Beyond Aid need long-term pillars, adding that Ghana must endeavor to strengthen the knowledge, scientific and technical capacity of citizens by improving access to quality education. “

“We have to leverage on our natural resources for national development through value addition in a fair and mutually understanding of exchange. We have to place greater premium on cross border and overseas trade and investment as well as deepen and enhance efficiency of domestic revenue mobilization, in the allocation of public resources and greater accountability in the use of these resources,’’ the Vice President stressed. Enditem

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