By Li Zhiwei-Mareeg-Africa World Airlines (AWA), a privately owned airline based in Accra, capital of Ghana, announced recently that the company will open flights to more West African cities in 2017. Analysts believed that its decision symbolizes an increasingly closer economic and trade ties between China and West African countries including Ghana.
Those big Western African cities include Abuja, Monrovia, Abidjan and Freetown, announced Quan Xiaoyi, CEO of the company, adding that the firm has introduced a fifth aircraft to its fleet to celebrate its fifth anniversary since it started operations.
A friendly soccer game was held in May, 2016 in the Cape Coast Sports Stadium contracted with the aid of China. (Photo by Chinese Embassy in Ghana)
AWA was co-funded by HNA Aviation Holding (China), China-Africa Development Fund (China), SAS Finance Group (Ghana) and Social Security and National Insurance Trust (Ghana).
Ghana is China’s sixth largest trading partner in Africa. According to statistics from Chinese Embassy in Ghana, bilateral trade reached 5.9 billion dollars in 2016. In addition, China’s direct investment and the contract value of newly-signed engineering projects in Ghana are both among the highest in all African countries.
Data from China’s General Administration of Customs suggested that China’s non-financial direct investment in Ghana amounted to 73.87 million dollars in the first half of 2016, ranking the 8th place among all African countries and the 3rd place among the 24 West African countries after Ethiopia and Nigeria.
The contract value of newly-signed engineering projects by Chinese enterprises in the country added up to 968 million dollars in the same period, making Ghana 13th in all African countries and 7th in West African nations.
In 2016, two projects contracted by Chinese companies, the renovation programs of Cape Coast Sports Stadium and the Kotokuraba market to Ghana, were delivered.
The second unit of Sonon Asogli Thermal Power Station Phase II has also been put into operation this January. As China’s first project in Africa invested by independent power producer, the power station has contributed to a 20 percent growth to Ghana’s generating capacity.
In addition, several other big projects such as Western Corridor Gas Infrastructure Development Project Phase II and 1,000 Borehole Project are also under a steady process.
Cultural exchanges between China and Ghana are also more and more frequent. A total of 518 scholarship-winners from Ghana pursued studies in China in 2016. Ghana has nearly 5,000 students studying in China so far, ranking the first among African countries for 4 straight years.
In addition, Ghana has sent over 1,000 personnel to China for vocational training, being the first in the world.