Local Indian businessmen in Ghana donate more than Rs 6.5 million to deal with COVID-19 crisis

WION New Delhi May 14, 2020, 12.37 AM(IST) Written By: Sidhant Sibal

Indian community in Ghana donates money to COVID-19 National Trust Fund Photograph:( WION )

Story highlights

Indian High Commissioner to Ghana Sugandh Rajaram said around 500 Indians in Ghana, Sierra Leone and Togo are stranded due to COVID-19 crisis

Indian businessmen residing in Ghana have given around 5 million Ghanaian cedi (GHC) or 6.5 4million Indian rupees to the authorities to deal with the COVID-19 crisis in the country. 

This effort has been praised by the government in the African country to which India has allowed commercial export of Hydroxychloroquine. 

Speaking exclusively to our diplomatic correspondent Sidhant Sibal from Accra, Indian High Commissioner to Ghana Sugandh Rajaram said around 500 Indians in Ghana, Sierra Leone and Togo are stranded due to COVID-19 crisis for which the mission is "working on the possible repatriation". About 60 Indians working in a railway project in Ghana have been tested positive but the company is taking care of them.

WION: How are India and Ghana cooperating on COVID-19 pandemic?

Sugandh Rajaram: As a close friend of Ghana, India is cooperating very closely with Ghana in various aspects of COVID-19 pandemic. 

India has allowed commercial export of Hydroxychloroquine to Ghana in order to cater to its demand in view of the pandemic. 

This special gesture has been well appreciated by the Ghanaian authorities. India has also helped the Ghanaian students, who are pursuing various courses in India, to manage with the pandemic or to return to Ghana. 

The Indian community in Ghana has contributed significantly towards the mitigation efforts, both in cash and kind. The Indian businesses in Ghana have donated more than GHC 5 million to the efforts to manage the situation. These Indian efforts of support have also been appreciated by the Ghanaian authorities.

WION: How is the Indian Mission reaching to Indians stranded in Ghana or nearby countries? Any plans of repatriation?

Sugandh Rajaram: High Commission in Accra is also accredited to Sierra Leone and Togo, in addition to Ghana. There are around 500 Indians travelling on short-term visas to these countries and now stranded because of the travel restrictions. 

The High Commission is in regular touch with the stranded Indians in these countries and helping them to stay put there till the time the travel restrictions are lifted. 

The High Commission is providing medicines, space for lodging and boarding for some of the needy stranded Indians. The High Commission is also working on the possible repatriation of these Indians in coordination with the authorities in India.

Around 60 Indians working on a railway project in Ghana had been tested COVID-19 positive. However, the company management is taking their care in terms of treatment/quarantine required. 

The High Commission is facilitating their efforts and extended all necessary assistance to them.

WION: How has the ground situation in Ghana changed, how have the Indian diplomats been faring?

Sugandh Rajaram: The situation in Ghana is managed well by the authorities here. There are around 5000 cases, however, very few deaths (22). There are designated testing and treatment/quarantine facilities. Fortunately, the diplomatic and other staff of the High Commission is safe. 

However, during the three week period of the lock-down in Accra in the month of April the High Commission staff had to work from home. Many of the events of the High Commission planned since March have been postponed.

WION: How is India reaching out to the larger African continent in times of COVID-19?

Sugandh Rajaram: India has been a close partner of Africa in its developmental growth. The number of developmental projects in almost all the countries of Africa are being implemented with Indian credit assistance and also the technical assistance. Many of the Indian businesses have taken advantage of this and established their project implementation capabilities in different countries of the continent. 

In addition to Indian Missions in Africa, these businesses are also helping the Governments and civil society in Africa to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.