Franz –Josef Lersch-Mense, the Minister for Federal Affairs, Europe and Media of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, has pledged the readiness of his State to continuously support Ghana’s socio-economic development.

He said since 2007 when the State of North Rhine-Westphalia and Ghana signed an official partnership agreement of cooperation, Ghana had enjoyed a lot of assistance from the State.

Mr Lersch-Mense said this at the joint Declaration of Intent on continued cooperation between Ghana and the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, in Accra.

He cited the collaboration between KNUST and Dortmund; and Gelsenkirchen on renewable energy, the cooperation between the Cape Coast Municipal Assembly and the City of Bonn, which he said had improved the Fosu Lagoon, as some benefits.

“Others are the training of the Ghana Police officers by their counterparts from North Rhine Westphalia at the Kofi Annan International Peace Training Centre, and the support for the West African Clean Energy and Environment Exhibition and Conference here, in Accra…,” he said.

He said North Rhine-Westphalia, with a population of 18 million, was one of the 16 federal German States, and it bordered the Netherlands and Belgium.

“We are the most populous of all the German States as well as the economically strongest and has four out of the 10 biggest cities in Germany,” he stated.

Mrs Elizabeth Ofosu Agyare, the Minister for Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts, who represented Ms Hanna Tetteh, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, at the signing, said the renewal of the agreement would create the platform for closer collaboration between the two sides.

“By signing the agreement, the Government of Ghana and North Rhine –Westphalia are renewing the existing framework for the conduct of their relations,” she said.

She said the new agreement would ensure that designs and implementation of projects would no longer be carried out by the two Governments and their institutions, but would be handed over to non-state actors for implementation.

“It is our hope that the private sector, Civil Society Organisations, religious bodies, educational bodies, and local authorities would champion the implementation of projects under this agreement for the direct benefit of the people at the local level,” she said.

Ms Akua Sena Dansoa, the Head of Mission, Embassy of Ghana, Berlin, said an estimated 25,000 Ghanaians lived and worked in the State of North Rhine Westphalia.

She said the State remained an attractive destination for trade.

“North Rhine Westphalia is also Germany’s number one industrial region, with 37 of Germany’s top 100 corporations, 70 per cent of employment and 80 per cent of training opportunities for young people,” she said.

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