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China-Ghana partnership to march forward despite COVID-19


Ghanaian Ambassador to China Edward Boateng   Photo: courtesy of Ghanaian Embassy in Beijing
As we entered the year 2020, I was full of vigor and optimism. My optimism was hinged on the achievements my colleagues and I at the Ghana Embassy had chalked up in the previous years. In my mind, this year was not going to be any different but if anything, much better. Unbeknownst to me, a virus, now called COVID-19 but generally known as coronavirus, was to become a major disruptor. 

We believe a lot of the programs we have initiated under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) may slow down due to the many restrictions in place now. However, since BRI projects are long-term economic projects that include a vast array of short, medium- and long-term phases and as China has already taken effective measures to tackle the spread of the virus, I have every conviction that they will be back on track in the latter half of the year. There are synergies between the BRI and Ghana’s national development plans which we believe are beneficial for people from both China and Ghana.

COVID-19 will play a significant role in the geo-economics and geopolitics of the world this year. This assertion can already be seen through the plunging stock markets and the re-evaluation of economic plans globally.  

The firmness of purpose and the decisive nature of China central government in the fight against COVID-19, however, are worthy of note and commendable. Beijing’s  inclination to share the knowledge it gathered on this strand of coronavirus and other critical aspects and protocols of containment has been widely acclaimed. China ability to initiate a bold and rational decision-making process amid uncertainty will go down in history as admirable. It undertook containment efforts while warning the world of the possible danger posed by this virus. 

In a world of very high-level artificial intelligence and virtual reality, it is critical that national governments and the international institutions allocate more funding to high level science and medical research. I believe the BRI could offer opportunities for countries and regions to work together in this field. This pandemic has shown us the importance of medical research collaboration and its precautionary relevance in our growing world. We cannot live in a virtual world when we do not even have the necessary medical might to fight epidemics and pandemics. 

We need to understand the fundamentals of world interconnectedness. Accra, my capital, might seem far from China but today’s technology puts Accra just a street away from Beijing, and Wuhan two blocks away from Milan, with Milan a mile away from Lagos. This virtual reality created by globalization and technology makes the world one in being and in spirit. 

United Nations organizations like the World Health Organization (WHO) must be further empowered and strengthened and given the necessary institutional backing to implement recommendations more effectively. The initial warnings given by the WHO were to an extent shrugged off by some circles but are now being implemented. We can do better and we must do better. 

With the world economy losing its robustness due to COVID-19, people are asking the question: What next? For me, what is next is for all of us to reflect on the happenings so far and create a positive outlook. We cannot afford to remain on the ground. If we are to attain a community working toward a shared future for humankind, this is the time for us to demonstrate our resilience and the deepening of trust and cooperation among the comity of nations. We cannot afford to fail future generations lest posterity judge us harshly. We must win this fight. 

Source:Global Times