Ghana will later this month receive four patrol boats from China as part of a military cooperation deal between the two countries. China has also offered the Ghana Armed Forces a $7.5 million assistance package.
In November 2016, China donated $3 million worth of equipment including four naval patrol boats, machine guns, rifles and ammunition to Ghana. Six Chinese instructors will train Ghanaian personnel in their operation. Deliveries will take place later this month.
On 13 July Chinese ambassador to Ghana Sun Baohong and defence minister Dominic Nitiwul signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to strengthen the country’s defence ties. China also offered $7.5 million in military assistance to Ghana. The MoU was signed at the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) headquarters in Accra.
“The biggest problem with us is that, the navy is down with boats so our coastline is not as rigorously guarded as we have wished especially the eastern sides. So we appealed to them and they decided to help us with boats,” Nitiwul said. “By this month, the patrol boats will be here and then they will be sending six people to train our navy on the usage of the patrol boats.”
Baohong said the MoU underlined her country’s commitment to enhance bilateral security ties through the provision of financial aid and logistics to turn the GAF into a viable regional and international peacekeeping force. “We need to implement the follow-up actions of this visit and the MoU is the first step in fulfilling that promise,” she said.
Ghana will also benefit from 28 full scholarships in which selected military officer will be sent to China to study subjects that include security and defence. The beneficiaries will be drawn from the navy, army and the air force. Separately, China has pledged a further 100 Million Chinese Yuan to train and equip the Ghana Police Service.
Ghana has bought military hardware from China on previous occasions, ordering two 46 metre patrol vessels from Poly Technologies in 2008 to boost its naval capabilities. The Chemle and Ehoo were commissioned in 2011 and another two 46 metre vessels were ordered later under a separate contract. These acquisitions were part of a major naval expansion drive that saw fast attack craft and patrol boats delivered from South Korea, the United States and Germany.
Between 2009 and 2013, 86 WZ-523 armoured personnel carriers in several versions were delivered by China, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s arms transfers database. Other landward acquisitions over the last five years include 20 Maverick internal security vehicles from Paramount, two Sherpa vehicles from France and 50 Typhoon armoured personnel carriers from Canada.
On the aerial side, in September 2015 the Ghana Air Force commissioned into service four Z-9EH helicopters from China, which are being used to secure the West African nation’s oil and gas industry. Ghana is also acquiring a single Mi-35 attack helicopter and recently bought another C295 transport. Some of its other recent aircraft imports include Brazilian-made Super Tucano light attack/trainer aircraft and C-27J Spartan transport aircraft.
Ghanaian defence spending will rise by 2.56% annually from the $177 million allocated in 2016 to hit $213.8 million by 2021 spurred by a need to equip the armed forces to counter regional terrorist threats, peacekeeping operations and the fight against maritime piracy and drug trafficking, according to a recent report by Strategic Defence Intelligence (SDI).