Akufo-Addo courts investors to Ghana

BY: Kobby Asmah
President Akufo-Addo receiving the 2018 Outstanding Leaders Award from Scott Eisner, President, US-Africa Business Center
President Akufo-Addo receiving the 2018 Outstanding Leaders Award from Scott Eisner, President, US-Africa Business Center

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has asked global businesses to consider Ghana as their first business investment destination in Africa.

He told them to take advantage of the numerous incentives that had been introduced by the government of Ghana to ensure that investments were safe, protected by law and succeeded.

The President was addressing Fortune 500 business executives on the sidelines of the ongoing 73rd United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) session in New York, USA, last Monday, September 24, 2018.

“I urge representatives of Fortune 500 companies to look at Ghana and not to ignore it. Regardless of where the investments are, I am confident that through our policies we can bring greater dignity to the lives of millions of people in Ghana and beyond,” he stated.

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He said the government was establishing the most business-friendly economy in Africa to enable the private sector to thrive.

Value addition

The President also outlined the government’s vision to shift to industrialisation, which it intended to do by placing emphasis on value addition to the country’s natural resources.

He said the government had taken steps to modernise agriculture to enhance productivity, implement a clear industrial policy and rationalise the financial sector to support growth in agriculture, manufacturing and other sectors of the economy.

Nana Akufo-Addo said the modest successes chalked up by the government were being recognised globally and already some global businesses were showing eagerness to do business with the country.

Citing examples, he said two global car giants in Germany and China had announced plans to establish vehicle assembly plants in Ghana.

He said Google and Exxon Mobil were also in the process of establishing businesses in the country.

Foreign direct investments

He said the rapid enhancement of foreign direct investment was an essential ingredient in realising the transformational agenda.

“That is why we are building in Ghana a strong productive economy capable of generating dignified prosperous existence for its people,” he pointed out.

Resilient economy

He said the government was creating a resilient and robust economy and described macro-economic indices as pointing in the right direction.

Shedding more light on the performance of the economy, he said at the beginning of his mandate in January 2017, the government was confronted with an economy that was in steep decline, having obtained a growth rate of 3.6 per cent in 2016, the lowest in 22 years.

But by dint of hard and prudent management, President Akufo-Addo said, GDP grew by 8.5 per cent in the first year of the government.

For the second year (2018), he said, the government expected growth of 8.3 per cent which, he said, according to the IMF, would make Ghana one of the world’s fastest-growing economies.

He assured the investors that that strong economic growth would be maintained, so that the country could provide stability to stimulate rapid growth and investment.

Not an easy task

President Akufo-Addo noted that attaining all the development goals of his government would not come easy.

“I have no illusions about the task ahead. But I know we can rise to the occasion, as we did when we led the continent in the struggle for the liberation of Africa from colonialism and imperialism,” he stated.

“The Black Star is going to shine and we will build a Ghana beyond aid,” he said.

Roundtable discussion

Meanwhile, the President had earlier held a roundtable discussion with the US-Africa Business Centre/GIPC Concordia-Summit, where a memorandum of understanding was signed to facilitate investment into Ghana.

He was also honoured with the 2018 Outstanding Leaders Award by the US Chamber of Commerce in recognition of his leadership and commitment to championing trade and investment as the means to grow Ghana’s economy.

President eulogises Mandela

The President had also delivered a message at the high-level meeting on Global Peace to commemorate the centenary of Nelson Mandela’s birth.

President Akufo-Addo, who was the third speaker, eulogised the greatness of Nelson Mandela and charged the global leadership to emulate the peaceful life Mandela led on earth.

Bilateral meetings

President Akufo-Addo also held bilateral meetings with the President of Slovenia, Mr Borut Pahor, and the President of Austria, Mr Alexander Van der Bellen, at separate functions.

At both events, the discussions were very engaging and President Akufo-Addo said Ghana was open for business and looking for partnerships.

He explained to the leaders of the two countries the efforts being made in Ghana to attract investors.

Later in the evening, the President and his wife, Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo, attended a reception hosted by the President of the US, Mr Donald Trump, and Mrs Trump on the occasion of the 73rd UNGA.