The official talks in Accra (Ghana) are set to take place on Wednesday, 12 July, and those in Cotonou (Benin) on Thursday, 13 July

In the coming week President Doris Leuthard will pay official visits to the West African states of Ghana and Benin. The main aim of her trip is to further deepen Switzerland’s traditionally close relations with these two stable democratic countries. The official talks in Accra (Ghana) are set to take place on Wednesday, 12 July, and those in Cotonou (Benin) on Thursday, 13 July.

In Accra President Leuthard will meet the Ghanaian president, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, as well as several members of government, to discuss financial and trade-related matters, human rights, migration to and from Ghana, regional issues and cooperation at international level. In addition, President Leuthard and President Akufo-Addo will be present at the launch of the new cooperation strategy for Ghana for the period 2017-2020, which forms part of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs’ economic cooperation and development programme.

The strategy aims, among other things, to further strengthen the competitiveness of the Ghanaian economy

The strategy aims, among other things, to further strengthen the competitiveness of the Ghanaian economy. Since 2010 Ghana has been classed as a middle income country and is one of SECO’s priority countries for economic development cooperation. Ghana is an anchor of stability in West Africa and Switzerland’s most important trade partner in Africa.

At the invitation of the IMANI Center for Policy & Education, a think tank, the president will give a speech in Accra on governance and social media. A visit is also planned to a project in the Eastern Region of Ghana, which, with Swiss support, promotes sustainable pineapple production.

Benin: SDC priority country

In Benin the official talks between President Leuthard and President Patrice Talon, along with several ministers, will cover regional and international issues, particularly development cooperation and economic relations. Benin has been a priority country for the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) since 1981; in Cotonou the Swiss cooperation strategy for Benin for the period 2017-2020 will be launched at presidential level.

Switzerland supports efforts in Benin to promote local governance and decentralisation. It is in this context that President Leuthard will attend the opening of a school in the region of Abomey-Calavi built with Swiss support. Also on the agenda is a meeting in Ouidah with a group of women aspiring to be managers.