Ghana seeks UAE’s partnership for national airline

BY: Ama Amankwah Baafi
A revived national airline for Ghana will bring back its pride in the aviation sector

Ghana is currently in talks with the government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for the re-establishment of a national airline for Ghana.

The country’s Consul General to the UAE, Mr Daniel Osei, confirmed the government’s interest in creating a national airline to the Graphic Business in Dubai such that it was actively looking for the right partners to make that a reality.

“Ghana and the UAE have strong trade relations and the story of emirates is widely known and these are top notch companies that we hope to engage. I have approached Etihad and Emirates and everything hinges on PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) advising on credible strategic investors in the airline industry. So at the appropriate time, we will take things to the next level,” he said. 

A national airline for Ghana has long been anticipated years after the collapse of the state-owned Ghana Airways. A proposed national carrier presents a relief to Ghanaian travellers who believe that the establishment of a new airline for the country will bring back Ghana’s pride in the aviation sector.

Ghana showcases in Dubai

The interview was on the sidelines of the 13th Middle East Natural and Organic Products Expo (MENOPE), 2015, which the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) sponsored local producers to exhibit in from November 2-4, 2015.

For the first time, 12 Ghanaian exhibitors, mainly from natural, organic, and agro-based sectors, showcased products such as, shea butter, dry fruits, coconut oil, moringa tea, hibiscus tea, natural cocoa powder and honey at the three-day expo.

It offered a unique platform for local businesses to enter the region’s fast-growing organic, natural, and eco-friendly markets.
Organisers said over 4,000 visitors were at the expo which featured more than 120 companies, including 75 international exhibitors.

Focus of collaboration

According to Mr Osei, about 70 per cent of travellers on Emirates were Ghanaians who travelled to the UAE and other parts of Asia for trading.
He said the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Dubai in particular, had evolved as a hub for trading, business, commerce, finance, tourism and others.
Consequently, he said, Ghana had engaged the UAE in different sectors during which the transport sector had been emphasised alongside the oil and mining sectors.

“Transportation is high on the agenda. Dubai-based port operator, Dubai Port World, has expressed interest in the Boankrah inland port project in the Ashanti Region. The banking sector is also very important as you know for all the things that we hope to do, money is important and so they are also interested in engaging the African market so we are in talks with the UAE government and I believe the sky is the limit,” he said.

Since Ghana has an agriculture based economy, Mr Osei said, the country would position itself to take advantage of the fact that the UAE imported a lot of its food as desert country.

Ghana–UAE trade

Plans are far advanced to double the volume of trade between Ghana and the UAE to US$5 billion in the next few years, from the current US$2.5 billion.
“Ghana and the UAE have strong relations and the future is very bright for both,” Mr Osei said.

He urged businesses in Ghana to leverage on the current demand for organic and natural products in the UAE to promote trade between Ghana and the region, so as to help the country achieve the target of raising $5billion from non-traditional exports (NTEs) by 2017.

“Businesses have different needs so whatever it is that you are looking for you pitch it so that people can partner you,” he said.