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Dr Thomas Mensah shaking hands with President Nana Akufo-Addo at the summit

Fibre optics inventor praises Beijing 2018 FOCAC summit

BY ERICA ARTHUR 

WORLD RENOWNED Scientist and Fiber Optics inventor, Dr Thomas Mensah, was part of the presidential business delegation led by Nana Akufo-Addo to the 2018 Forum for China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) summit in Beijing.

FOCAC summit was a meeting between China and Africa, which was largely premised on ways to increase diplomatic, economic and bilateral ties.

According to Dr Mensah, he was pleased to meet the Ambassador of Ghana to China, Mr Edward Boateng, who organised the programme in China for the delegation.

Speaking to the DAILY HERITAGE, he stated that he knew Ambassador Boateng in Atlanta as an Executive of the Coca Cola Company before he worked for CNN and that he is well liked and respected by African Americans and Africans in the US.

Dr Mensah recommended President Akufo Addo for making an excellent choice by appointing Mr Boateng as Ambassador to China.

“The President complimented Ambassador Boateng for doing such a great job for the China Africa Forum 2018. This Event takes place every three years and focuses on close collaboration between countries in Africa and China as part of China’s Global Silk Road Programme. Infrastructural development, investment, industrial development, technology transfer, capacity building and global trade are foundations of this collaboration.”

The 2018 summit saw heavy private sector participation from Ghana, including Cabinet Ministers, other government officials as well as agencies, making it more successful, comparing it to the previous summit in 2015 which did not include private sector leaders and top scientists.

The Ministers who participated in the summit included Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, Finance; Mr Alan Kyeremateng, Trade and Industry; Mr Joe Gartey, Railway; Mr Amoako Atta, Roads and Transportation; and Mr Owusu Afriyie, Agriculture.

From the Presidency, Nana Bediatuo Asante, Executive Secretary; Deputy Chief of Staff; Director of Protocol at the Presidency, Ambassador Amid Hassan; from the Finance sector, the Chairman of Ghana EXIM Bank, Mr Gyemfi Boateng, Board Member Peter Abebresse and the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of EXIM; and the CEO of Ghana Commercial Bank, Mr Ray Sowah, were part of the delegation.

Ambassador Boateng worked closely with the Chief Executive of the Ghana Investment Promotion Council, Mr Yofi Grant and the Chairman of Association of Ghana Industry, Dr Adu Gyamfi.

“This was one of the most successful China Business forums ever because of the leadership of President Nana Akufo-Addo and the calibre of experts participating as presidential delegates.”

There were 50 heads of States from Africa who attended China-Africa Forum 2018, and the President of China, His Excellency Xi Jin Ping, who was the Convener of the conference, pledged $60 billion to African countries for infrastructure development and modernisation. This is equivalent to the Marshall Plan investment by the US for rebuilding Germany after the World War II that turned Germany into the leading economic power in Europe.”

As the world leading scientific expert, Dr Mensah said he was pleased with the conference that included the Bullet Train ride by the President and the delegation from Beijing to Shandong, the most industrialised province in China.

Dr Mensah said he was impressed with the fact that China had moved 600 million people out of poverty and 300 million people into middle class through technology and industrialisation, making China a very attractive model for transforming Africa.

Nana Akufo-Addo discussed many collaboration and technology transfer initiatives with the governor of the Shandong province, and industry visits and business to business meetings were also part of the conference.

Ghana also secured among other things an agreement with a trucking company to set up an assembly plant in Ghana.

This is significant since Ghana has already been given assurance for an automobile assembly plant to be established by Volks Wagon in the country, which assurance was secured when Chancellor Angela Merkel came to Ghana recently.

Nana Akufo-Addo met with Jack Ma, Chairman of the Internet Giant Alibaba, and the Tech Company Inspur.

Dr Mensah is working with Ambassador Boateng to bring technology companies in China like Alibaba and Baidu to the Silicon Valley of Ghana, which he launched at the Kofi Annan ICT Centre in the country.

He has already attracted Internet giants in the West, namely Apple Computer, Google, and Microsoft, to Silicon Valley of Ghana and wants to include Chinese companies.

Dr. Mensah also noted that Dubai and UAE were training one million high school students in software and wants the Silicon Valley of Ghana to train 300,000 SHS students in software to make them competitive on the global stage.

According to him, this will help Ghana leapfrog other countries in the years to come.

Ambassador Boateng was commended by the President for organising the visit with the various Embassies and agencies in Ghana.

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