Federal Councillor Simonetta Sommaruga travelled to Senegal and Ghana from 5 to 9 July. Talks with both countries focused on climate protection. In Senegal, Ms Sommaruga signed a bilateral agreement on climate protection; a similar agreement between Switzerland and Ghana is already in place. She also took part in several bilateral meetings and a ministerial roundtable discussion in Ghana to examine joint initiatives to protect the climate and the environment. Both in Senegal and Ghana, she visited several energy and environmental project sites.
- A look back on the working visit
- Cocoa production (8 July)
- Solar Taxi tour (8 July)
- Visit to the Citi FM media company (8 July)
- Electronic waste recycling firm (7 July)
- Chance for Children: an NGO for street-connected children (7 July)
- Ghana Cooperation Programme launched (7 July)
- Meeting with environment minister Kwaku Afriyie (7 July)
- Taiba N’Diaye wind farm (6 July)
- Switzerland–Senegal treaty signed (6 July)
- Cultural exchange in Senegal (5 July)
A look back on the working visit
With its 800,000 smallholder farms, Ghana is the world’s second-largest cocoa producer. Switzerland imports 50% of its cocoa from Ghana. The cocoa industry is facing numerous challenges: the poverty of small farmers, falling production due to factors like climate change, deforestation and the loss of biodiversity. SECO recognised the cocoa sector’s challenges and launched the Swiss Platform for Sustainable Cocoa together with 55 Swiss stakeholders in 2017. The aim is that 80% of imported cocoa should be sourced from socially, ecologically and economically sustainable production by 2025, thus improving the living conditions of cocoa farmers and their families. Switzerland has taken the lead through its active engagement with these issues: during her term as president in 2020, Ms Sommaruga discussed the challenges faced by cocoa farmers with Ghanaian President Nana Akufo Addo during his state visit to Bern. As part of her visit to Ghana this year, Ms Sommaruga met with stakeholders in the cocoa branch on 8 July, gaining insight into innovative sustainability solutions.
Solar Taxi tour
Farming and fishing have traditionally shaped life in Ghana – now young companies are creating increasing numbers of innovative jobs. Ms Sommaruga’s tour of Solar Taxi on 8 July gave her a first-hand look at the country’s e-mobility start-up scene. Solar Taxi has been producing electric vehicles since 2019 and also offers an app-based courier service. The start-up, which strives to work in accordance with the 2030 Agenda’s sustainable development goals, emphasises inclusivity and mainly employs women even in engineering functions. Solar Taxi exemplifies several elements of the Federal Council’s Sub-Saharan Africa Strategy: digitalisation, sustainability and prosperity through education.
Visit to the Citi FM media company
Communications minister Simonetta Sommaruga visited Citi FM on 8 July, which provided her with a look at Ghana’s media landscape. The sheer number of radio stations gives a good indication of the country’s diverse media offering: there are around 430 national broadcasters in Ghana, 56 in Accra alone.
Electronic waste recycling firm
Chance for Children: an NGO for street-connected children
A visit to Chance for Children (CFC) on 7 July allowed Ms Sommaruga to see the humane side of the Old Fadama district. Around 40,000 people live near the e-waste dump. Swiss national Daniela Rüdisüli has been operating her drop-in centre for street-connected children for over 20 years. Up to 45 children a day receive a warm meal, medical care and the opportunity to participate in classes and workshops. There is currently a project underway in cooperation with the relevant ministry to develop an occupational education and training programme modelled on the Swiss dual-track system.
Ghana Cooperation Programme launched
Ms Sommaruga officially launched SECO’s new Ghana Cooperation Programme on 7 July. Ghana has been among Switzerland’s priority countries for development cooperation since 2002. A total of CHF 65 to 70 million will be available for the 2021–2024 window. Each country’s programme follows a four-year cycle.
Ghana: meeting with environment minister Kwaku Afriyie
Switzerland’s 2020 climate agreement with Ghana was among the first of its kind, and the related CO2 compensation projects are now in the implementation phase. Ms Sommaruga discussed future implementation with Kwaku Afriyie, head of the ministry in charge of the projects, at their bilateral meeting on 7 July. A roundtable with representatives from the other Ghanaian ministries involved in the climate agreement allowed participants to examine more closely how to ensure its efficient implementation.
Taiba N’Diaye wind farm
The largest wind farm in West Africa was built recently in Taiba N’Diaye, some 90 kilometres from Dakar, the capital of Senegal. There 46 wind turbines produce reliable clean energy. Senegal draws on an energy mix that includes increasing amounts of power from renewable energies.
Switzerland–Senegal treaty signed
Federal Councillor Simonetta Sommaruga and Senegalese Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development Abdou Karim Sall signed a bilateral agreement in Dakar on 6 July 2021. The agreement establishes a framework for Switzerland to compensate CO2 emissions through climate projects in Senegal. Peru and Ghana signed similar agreements with Switzerland in 2020.
Cultural exchange in Senegal
Ms Sommaruga visited the Maison des Cultures Urbaines (House of Urban Culture) in Dakar, where she spoke with young female rappers and a graffiti artist to get an insight into the cultural life of young people in Senegal’s cities. She also met author Ken Bugul, who described a more traditional Senegal as well as some of the country’s current social challenges.