June 14, 2010

Ghana High Commissioner visits Vancouver

By Charles Quist-Adade, PhD

Ghana’s High Commissioner to Canada, Dr. Richard Turkson recently paid what could be described as a very fruitful visit to Vancouver, in the Canadian province of British Columbia during which he met with members of the Ghanaian community and representatives of companies doing business or intending to do business in Ghana.

Among prominent personalities the High Commissioner met in Vancouver was Dr. Felix Durity who has long been involved in the Korle Bu Neuro Science project, an NGO based in British Columbia which has been working with the Korle Bu (a major hospital in Accra) Neuro Science department to improve condtions. They have shipped several containers of supplies and equipment to the department. They have also helped train a number of doctors and nursing staff.

Dr Durity has moreover worked with Rotary club in Canada to donate major hospital equipment to Korle Bu Hospital. He has also visited Ghana several times, each time helping to perform vital brain surgeries while working with Dr Thomas Dakura of the Korle Bu Hospital Neuro Science Department.

The High Commissioner had dinner with Dr Durity and his wife and they discussed the Korle Bu Neuro Science project and other issues.

 

Accompanied by Honorary Consul General George Piprah and Minister Obeng Koranteng, Dr. Turkson visited some Vancouver-based companies doing business in Ghana. One of these companies was Keegan Resources, a gold mining company, whose top brass were on hand to receive the High Commissioner and to brief him about their operations in Ghana including work at the Asaase Project and the Asamura Project. Keegan have been in operation in Ghana for more than 12 years and they employ about 90 people. They assured the High Commissioner that they always keep in mind responsible corporate practices in Ghana by diligently respecting the corporate and environmental laws of Ghana.

 

High Commissioner Turkson, right, and Consul General George Piprah.

Ambassador Turkson asked them for examples of their corporate governance in Ghana and they talked about several environmental initiatives they had complied with while hoping that the Government of Ghana would intensify action in regulating the operations of the “Galamsey” people. Galamsey are local artisanal gold miners working independently from the mining companies. Dr. Turskon praised the compnay for the efforts it is making to be a socially and environmentally responsible company in Ghana.


HC and Dr. Charles Quist-Adade, president, Ghana Association of BC.

The High Commissioner also had discussions with members of the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) headed by Professor Asha Kanwar. Among issues discussed were the Sir John Daniel-led visitation Panel in 2007 which resulted in a major report for changes to the governance of the University of Ghana, Legon. Dr. Turkson was presented a copy of that report. COL’s work with the University of Cape Coast, the University of Winneba and the University of Ghana in Distance Education and how the organization has helped these institutions to firmly set up their distance Education programs and current initiatives also came up for discussion

HC and some members of the Ghanaian community in Vancouver.

Dr. Turkson later met with executives of the Canada Export Centre and discussed with them possibilities for joint venture programs and how they can get the centre involved in export and import business between Canada and Ghana.

HC with Minister Koranteng, left, and Consul General Piprah.

he High Commissioner was also at Simon Fraser University where he met with Dr Nancy Johnston, Executive Director Student Affairs and Mrs Shaheen Nanji, Director International Development. SFU has just completed major CIDA funded work on HIV aids Education with University of Ghana, Legon. That was a five year project which involved working with faculty members from both Universities. The university has just received another CIDA funding to work with the University of Cape Coast in facilitating Canadian students to do short term internships of development projects throughout Ghana.

Towards the end of his visit, the High Commissioner met with Emergent Energy Canada where he was told about the technology that company has to convert waste to carbon blocks and bio fuel. Emergent Energy Canada also expressed interest in setting up joint ventures with some Ghana companies such as Zoom Lion ,VRA and some of the mining companies to set up a plant to convert waste.

Mr Ernest Daddey and the other executives of Emergent hope to visit Ghana in the near future to start the process of linking with some interested Ghana partner companies. The High Commissioner assured them of the mission’s support to help them contact some government agencies and ministries in Accra.

One of the highlights of the High Commissioner’s visit was the town hall meeting he had with some members of the Ghanaian community in Vancouver.

The town hall meeting organised by the Ghana Canada Association of BC ( GCABC) and its president Dr Charles Quist Adade narrated some of the achievements of the Association including the establishment of scholarship programs to benefit less fortunate children both in Canada and in Ghana.

Consul General George Piprah praised the GCABC members for working to make the Association a more cohesive unit, by avoiding the establishment of smaller tribal groups like what has happened in Toronto thus making GCABC a stronger more established unit.

Dr Turkson expressed delight for his visit to the community in Vancouver for the first time. He told the audience about the constitutional review commission that visited Toronto and the importance of everyone contributing the constitutional review process. He has secured an extension of the date for submission and urged the members to take time to make submissions before the new deadline.

He also told the audience of the government’s effort to curb corruption and foster economic growth in Ghana.

During the Question and Answer period, most of the questions were on Ghana entry visas and the Dual Citenship Programme. Mr Obeng Koranteng explained how the application process for the dual citizenship works and he offered some tips to the members assembled.

The visit ended with a church service at the Calvary Worship center on Sunday May 15th

The swervice was officiated by Rev. Dr Sam Owusu. Dr Turkson used the occassion to meet some more members of the Ghana community at the church service.

H.E Dr. Turkson and Mr Obeng-Koranteng departed Vancouver at 2pm for Ottawa and was seen off at the airport by the Consul General, George Piprah and his wife, Beverley.


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Gibril Koroma

 

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