ABIDJAN, Co-operation between Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire will be facilitated by a new initiative dubbed an Agreement For a Strategic Partnership which will be signed by the two countries says Ghanian President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of Ghana.

The agreement will bind Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire in even closer intimacy and go beyond the bounds of the concept of the Permanent Joint Commission, which is the conventional tool for co-operation, he said at a State banquet held in his honour by Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara after he arrived here earlier Friday for a three-day visit as part of a tour to Ghana’s neighbouring countries.

This agreement will embrace all aspects of our national lives, and, if undertaken with sincerity and transparency, it should enhance considerably the chances of our two countries to attain progress and prosperity, added President Akufo-Addo, who was bestowed Cote d’Ivoire’s highest national award, La Grande Croix dans l’ordre National Ivorien (The Order of the Grand Ivorian Cross), at the State Banquet.

Describing relations between Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire as being of the highest priority, for reasons which are self-evident, President Akufo-Addo noted that one of the areas of focus in the agreement would be in the cocoa industry, which are key sectors for both countries.

Together, we produce 65 per cent of the world’s cocoa, and if we work together and co-ordinate our policies, we can protect our farmers and guarantee a better life for them, he said.

Battered by the volatility of the international cocoa market, despite their position as largest suppliers of the commodity, the two countries have resolved to develop solutions which will ensure resilience to price volatility in the market, and, thereby, curb the fall in revenues derived from cocoa exports. Cocoa contributes to about 15 per cent of Cote d’Ivoire’s gross domestic product (GDP) and 7.0 per cent of Ghana’s GDP.

We are amongst the biggest economies in West Africa. We are also bonded by common history, by common ethnic ties, by common culture, and by geography. Our ties impose on us the necessity to work together, and to live as good neighbours, with each one being the brother’s keeper, the president said.