India Donates $1m for Flagstaff House Renovation: 5 Things You Never Knew About Ghana-India Ties

Questions on what inspired the $1m donation have been arising from those who knew nothing about Ghana-India ties…

The Indian government has donated one million US Dollars to the government of Ghana. The donation which was presented to President Nana Akufo-Addo by India’s Minister of State for External Affairs, M.J. Akbar, was meant for the refurbishment of the Flagstaff House.

Ghana-India ties

Mr. Akbar made the donation to Ghana on behalf of the Indian government when he paid a a courtesy visit to President Akufo-Addo on Tuesday, August 15th. The present according to the Indian External Affairs Minister is a gesture to celebrate their relationship with Ghana on India’s 70th independence. India gained self government on 15th August, 1947.

This act of generosity and benevolence has left many wondering, especially those who know little or nothing about the age-long Ghana-India ties. To clear off the puzzle, BuzzGhana brings you 5 significant facts about Ghana-India ties.

1. India’s Influence on Ghana’s Independence

Nationalist activities ongoing in India around the 1940’s really inspired the struggle for independence in Ghana. While receiving the $1m donation, President Nana Addo took a quick trip down the memory lane of the relationship between India’s independence and Ghana’s nationalist movement. He said:

“The people who began the struggle for our nation’s freedom were heavily influenced by events in India. Indeed, it was exactly 11 days before the 15th of August [1947] that they met in Saltpond to begin the battle for Ghanaian freedom, and they did so because they were conscious of what was taking place in India. Many of them, in fact, had close friendships with many of the leading lights of the Indian Nationalist Movement, and thought it would not be right to announce the struggle for Ghanaian freedom after Indian independence. So they did everything possible to assemble in Saltpond, even if it was 11 days before India’s independence.”

Nana Addo was actually referring to the establishment of the Unite Gold Coast Convention (UGCC), the first formal political party in then Gold Coast on the 4th of August, 1947 by the country’s founding fathers. This strong connection is actually what inspired the erection of the controversial Mahatma Gandhi statue at the University of Ghana, Legon campus.

See: Why August 4 Is Celebrated In Ghana

2. Indian-Ghanaian Leaders Friendship

As pointed out above by President Nana Akufo-Addo, there existed very close relationships between early Indian and Ghanaian leaders. Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana’s first President was particularly a bosom friend of India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, shared a strong personal bond of friendship.

Ghana-India ties date back to the days of Ghanaian and Indian founding fathers: Kwame Nkrumah and Jawaharlal Nehru

Moreover, Ghana Presidents including Nkrumah, Hilla Limann, John Rawlings and John Kufuor at one time or the other paid state visits to India. Indian leaders sometimes also reciprocated the gestures.

3. Trade/Development Co-operations

There are significant economic cum developmental relations long existing between Ghana and India. Some of the major accomplishments of Ghana-India ‘collabos’ include:

  • India and Ghana are founding members of the Non Aligned Movement, the Government of India’s Team-9 initiative.
  • India through its Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation Programme and the Special Commonwealth Assistance for Africa Programme(SCAAP) has trained over 1,100 Ghanaian students and professionals.
  •  India has also helped Ghana with expertise in IT and Communications (ICT) by establishing The Ghana-India Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence and also transforming the Tema Community Centre into a modern ICT facility.

4. Indian-Ghanaian Relations

You may not believe that there are about ten thousand Ghanaian Indians and Persons of Indian Origin living currently residing in Ghana. Some of these persons have actually been in the country for over 70 years.

The Indians came with everything about them – culture, religion, etc., with an African Hindu monastery was established in Accra in the mid ’70s. Ghana has in fact, become a home to a growing indigenous Hindu population numbering about 13,000 families!

Aside religion, so many other things reflecting the Indian culture are prevalent in the Ghanaian society. Adom TV‘s Kumkum Bhagya in Twi dialect is one of the prominent ones. This significant mixture has resulted to a growing demand of products between the two countries. For instance, Indian clothing and textile is increasing in Ghana while the demand for cocoa beans from Ghana to India is also growing.

Moreover, many big companies in Ghana are also of Indian origin and ownership. Bank of BarodaBharti AirtelTata Motors and Tech Mahindra are among the major Indian companies in Ghana.

5. Flagstaff House

The Flagstaff House, the building that serves as Ghana’s seat of government, was actually built by India using a $60 million soft loan from the Government of India. This serves as one of the main explanations to the recent $1m donation from India for the building’s rehabilitation.

Among other numerous trade deals and agreements, the Government of India has extended $228 million in lines of credit to Ghana which has been used for projects in sectors like agro-processing, fish processing, waste management, rural electrification and the expansion of railways.