France’s relations with Ghana, which are historically less strong than with the Francophone countries of West Africa, have been growing in recent years, particularly with the presidential visit in 2017.
France and Ghana consult one another on West African security and political issues. The two countries are also in contact in the framework of the United Nations Security Council, where Ghana has been a non-permanent member since 1 January 2022, notably concerning the consequences of the conflict in Ukraine.
The relationship between France and Ghana was boosted following the French President’s visit in 2017: a first for a French President since Ghanaian independence.
The Ghanaian President made an official visit to France (Paris and Marseille) in 2019, during which he took part in exchanges with African diasporas alongside his French counterpart, chaired the France-Ghana Economic Forum and met the Secretary-General of La Francophonie, Louise Mushikiwabo.
In January 2021, President Nana Akufo-Addo attended, alongside French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian, the inauguration of the Embassy of France in Accra, just after his inauguration for a second term.
The Ghanaian President also visited Paris in November 2021, on the sidelines of the Paris Peace Forum. He was also present, as Chair of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, alongside the French President and the European Council President, Charles Michel, during the announcement of the re-organization of the French counter-terrorism disposition in West Africa.
In October 2022, President Akufo-Addo received an honorary doctorate from Paris-Panthéon Sorbonne University, in the presence, notably, of Minister of State Chrysoula Zacharopoulou. He also met the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Catherine Colonna.
Ghana is the fifth-largest market among non-Francophone sub-Saharan African countries, and the 14th-largest in sub-Saharan Africa as a whole. Sales of French goods represent 2.4% of Ghana’s imports, as against 6.5% in 2011. Trade is very concentrated in certain sectors. Capital goods, agrifood products, chemicals and perfumes continue to represent more than 75% of France’s exports to Ghana, while hydrocarbons and agricultural products and agrifood accounted for 39%, 35% and 26% respectively of our imports in 2019.
More than 70 French companies are currently present in Ghana, with investment stock of €1.3 billion, making it the seventh-largest destination for French foreign direct investment in Africa and the fourth-largest in ECOWAS. The largest investment in the country is that of Bolloré, in partnership with Maersk, for the Tema seaport expansion project. However, France’s economic presence remains below the country’s medium- and long-term economic potential.
The Embassy of France in Accra implements projects that illustrate the new partnership between Africa and France, in the fields of sport, the French language, and student and academic mobility.
The Solidarity Fund for Innovative Projects (FSPI) project PROFF (2021-2023), for example, sought to assist the Ghana Education Service in its policy to develop the teaching of French. The ongoing NYANSAPO project, meanwhile, should help produce new research partnerships between France and Ghana, capitalizing on two previous projects that forged ties with Sciences Po Paris and ParisTech (FSPI ADESFA) and supported higher education and research relating to heritage and tourism (FSPI SANKOFA). Two further FSPI projects should be launched by the end of 2023: one focused on promotion of sport, including skateboarding, and strengthening partnerships with French federations; and another for French language training for teachers.
France’s Embassy has also been organizing Franco-Ghanaian University Encounters since 2013, which have led to the signing of some 10 inter-university partnerships between the major Ghanaian universities and many French establishments.
The Agence Française de Développement (AFD, French Development Agency) has an office in Accra and is active in various fields in the country, primarily through non-sovereign loans. The AFD has financed structural projects, like the Kumasi-Bolgatanga electrical line, which has enabled many Ghanaians to receive electricity, particularly in rural areas. This line, tied in with the electrical interconnection between Ghana and Burkina Faso, was inaugurated by President Nana Akufo-Addo in October 2022. The AFD is also active in the north-west of the country in the development of irrigation networks, to help Ghanaian farmers improve yields. By providing several banks with the SUNREF credit line (€30 million), the AFD helps many SMEs finance investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency.
The Alliance Française branch in Accra is a key establishment in the capital, hosting many concerts as well as French classes.
The Jacques Prévert French school (LFA) in Accra is the only school in Ghana under contract with the Agency for French Education Abroad (AEFE). It has 648 pupils, of whom 27% are French, 27% are Ghanaian and 46% are of other nationalities. It aims to teach 900 pupils by 2025. With this in mind, a British international section was opened in September 2020, so as to diversify educational options and attract new publics.
Updated: 31 January 2023