It is my privilege and honour to give the keynote address at this symposium on the relations that have existed between Ghana and Canada over the past 50 years. As Ghana's official representative to Canada in charge of the interests of Ghana in Canada, I see this as a unique opportunity for which I am grateful to the organizers of the function.
Bilateral relations between Ghana and Canada date as far back as Ghana's independence although the first Canadian missionaries arrived in Northern Ghana 101 years ago precisely in 1906. Over the past five decades of our bilateral relations, as our two nations have developed excellent relations, through partnerships and cooperation in various spheres of development, the values that we both cherish and share have shaped new visions of life to our mutual benefit.
Ghana, during this period has come to appreciate Canada's principled and proactive diplomacy in contemporary international relations, particularly in the search for social justice, the rule of law, human rights, global peace and security. Canada's commitment to the promotion of these developmental issues, as well as to issues such as women in development, democracy, good governance and private sector development has earned her a leadership role in many international forms.
Ghana is proud of her association with Canada in the pursuit of global peace and security especially in the area of disarmament and international peacekeeping. It is pertinent to recall our complementary efforts together with other national contributors to transform United Nations peacekeeping into a more responsive, multi disciplinary venture that not only monitors peace agreements, but builds on such momentum to usher in post conflict infrastructure for the restoration of democratic institutions.
Ghana's commitment to the reduction of the negative social effects of conflicts has enabled our two countries to coordinate and jointly sponsor regional workshops to conscientise the international community to the phenomenon. Particularly, we have collaborated to ensure the safety of women and children as well as the effective reintegration of ex-combatants into society. It is also refreshing to recall Canada's contributions to the campaign against the use of land mines, including its ban, of whose treaty--the Ottawa Convention--Ghana is a signatory. Ghana has also received assistance through various Canadian programs to support the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre as a sub-regional institute, for which we are grateful.
My tenure as High Commissioner coincides with enhanced relations between our two countries as long standing partners in development cooperation following President Kufuor's state visit to Canada in 2001. Ghana has benefited tremendously from Canada's official development assistance to sub-Saharan Africa and today, she is one of six countries in the region on Canada's priority agenda. …