It was in the square of independence in 1961 that the late President Kwame Nkrumah, father of the independence of Ghana and pioneer of pan-Africanism, lit for the first time the eternal flame, sending to the Ghanaian people and Africa a message of hope for a united Africa, master of its own destiny.
I would like to seize this opportunity to reiterate to both President Nana Akufo-Addo and Vice-President Bawumia my warmest congratulations for their brilliant victory in the presidential elections of December 7, 2016. The people of Ghana have expressed their trust and confidence in them and shown their support for their vision and ambition for Ghana. Their well-known leadership, political commitment, and love for Ghana and Africa will enable them to successfully meet the legitimate aspirations of the people of Ghana. I am very pleased to acknowledge the very good collaboration we have had with the previous President and which has enabled us to make significant progress in strengthening the economic and socio-cultural cooperation between our two countries. I am particularly pleased for the work achieved together toward the consolidation of peace, security, and integration in our sub-region.
The transparent and peaceful elections, as well as the smooth transitions of power we are witnessing today, demonstrate that Ghana has definitely opted for democracy and peace. This election is undoubtedly contributing to reinforcing the image of West Africa and Africa to the world. I humbly exhort the people of Ghana to preserve political maturity, the sense of discipline, and the love of peace. These important ideas are the foundations of sustainable economic development. Indeed, without democracy there is no peace, and without peace there is no sustainable economic progress. Ghana, just like Côte d'Ivoire, aspires to economic emergence in the very near future. To meet this challenge and achieve this goal, Ghana needs a climate of peace and social cohesion. Over the years, Ghana has shown solidarity with Côte d'Ivoire on many occasions. Indeed, Ghana has welcomed, for many years, thousands of refugees from Côte d'Ivoire. In addition, Ghana has contributed a large contingence of troops to UN operations in Côte d'Ivoire. I would like once again to thank the political leaders of Ghana for their support, assistance, and solidarity.