Ghana’s role and position as a regional hub has been enhanced with the location of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfFCTA) in Accra, making it an ideal entry point to the African market, Ghana’s Ambassador to the United States, Hajia Alima Mahama, has said.
According to her, AfCFTA had added to the attractiveness of the country as an investment location, given the huge market it presents with full incentives including significant reduction in tariff and non-tariff barriers as well as protocols on investments and intellectual property rights.
Hajia Mahama said this when she addressed a large enthusiastic number of potential American investors and Ghanaians living in the diaspora at a dinner on the margins of the just-ended 2021 Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) in Houston, Texas.
The special event, which was also attended by the Minister of Energy, Dr Mathew Opoku Prempeh, who is leading Ghana’s delegation to the conference, was hosted by the Houston Ghana Chamber of Commerce with partnership from the American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM), Ghana.
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Exposing the huge investment opportunities to the gathering, Hajia Mahama said “Ghana is looking beyond export of raw materials to value addition and this we anticipate should be integrated in the oil and gas sector to include downstream retail and service sectors.”
She referenced the good relationship between Ghana and the US over the decades and said this relationship was growing stronger and stronger.
Hajia Mahama said the USA support under the Generalised System of Preferences and the Africa Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA) offer duty free and quota free access to the US market for over 6,000 products.
“This, together with the trade reforms in Ghana and AfCFTA, presents channels to US businesses to set up factories and processing plants to produce for the US market”, he said, and encouraged the investors saying: “Let us continue to take advantage of the AGOA before it expires in 2025.”
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Ghana’s Ambassador also took time to school the gathering about the government’s COVID Alleviation Revitalisation of Enterprises Supports, dubbed: Ghana CARES Programme saying; “This is a 100-billion-cedi stimulus package, to be implemented over a three-year period, targeting five key sectors: agriculture, manufacturing, health, engineering and ICT, and housing and construction. These are the opportunities we most want to highlight to foreign investors.
According to her, it is important that we have a platform for US companies to engage more directly with the private sector in Ghana to facilitate deal-making and information sharing between peers.
She said the government could play a role in facilitating connections between US and Ghanaian companies adding that these connections were where deals were made, and real growth happened.
Hajia Mahama reiterated the commitment of her office to engage with the diaspora and businesses in the United States to expedite action on all they needed to make their move to Ghana smoother and stress free.
Focus on gas exploration
Dr Opoku Prempeh, for his part, said the country was working to ensure that the huge amounts of gas being flared was utilised for domestic purposes in the country to drive the government’s industrialisation agenda.
According to him, the plans of the government to industrialise cannot succeed at the pace expected, if the energy sources was not only cheaper but climate friendly to protect the environment.
Dr Opoku Prempeh, who was also awarded by the Houston Ghana Chamber for his outstanding role in the country’s energy sector transformation, said the potential was huge even at the domestic usage level because the government wanted to free the country’s vegetation from being used as a source of energy through the felling of trees for use as firewood.
He said the potential in the country was huge and enormous and expressed the hope that the Americans would come with their expertise and funds to invest in a country of which they could be guaranteed good returns on their investment because of good governance structures, respect for the rule of law and a vibrant and all-embracing and friendly people.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC), Mr Yofi Grant, also took the investors through some of the government’s flagship programmes such as the one-district, one-factory (1D1F) and said as the country sought to add value to kits natural resources before exports, there was a lot of potential for investors to leverage that opportunity.
He also mentioned the Planting for Food and Jobs and noted that as the government sought to ensure food security and export to wider markets, Ghana’s space was the best investors could turn to.