Ghana is taking greater advantage of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), the outgoing American Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Robert Jackson, has said.
“Ghanaian non-oil exports to the United States (US) doubled in 2017. We saw continued growth in apparel, as well as new products such as frozen orange juice and dried mango. Ghana’s apparel exports increased from approximately $500,000 in 2010 to $8.5 million in 2017. That number is expected to double again over the next two years,” he stated.
Addressing a special farewell luncheon in his honour under the auspices of the American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM) Ghana in Accra last Friday, he said US exports to Ghana also increased last year to $885.7 million, reversing a two-year decline and maintaining “our positive trade balance”.
Mr Jackson, who is scheduled to leave the country at the end of July after a successful three-year stint, said: “This is good news. But the really exciting story in trade is what has happened with Ghana’s exports to the US during my tenure.”
Diversifying the economy
The outgoing ambassador said diversifying the country’s exports beyond cocoa, gold and oil was good for Ghana.
“Developing the manufacturing sector is good for Ghana. In fact, those two things are essential for Ghana; and what’s good for Ghana is also good for the US. An economically independent Ghana that is thriving and creating new jobs for its citizens maintains regional stability and is in America’s national security interest,” he noted.
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Moving forward, Mr Jackson expressed confidence that the bilateral trade and investment between the two countries would continue to flourish.
“Since I arrived in Accra in January 2016, 10 new American companies have launched businesses here, and I know more are coming soon,” he stressed.
Mr Jackson also noted that: “We are also excited about potential Ghanaian investments into America. In June 2017, eight Ghanaian businesses travelled to the US for the SelectUSA Summit, the highest profile event to promote foreign direct investments in the US.”
According to him, that was not just the first time a delegation from Ghana attended the summit but it was the first time a delegation from Africa attended it.
Mr Jackson said much as a lot had been done over the past years, there was so much more work to be done and so many more achievements to look forward to in the coming months.
The President of the AMCHAM, Mr Joe Mensah, described the relationship between the chamber and the American embassy as fruitful and more cordial, particularly during the tenure of Mr Jackson; and expressed the hope that his successor would also notice the value of the AMCHAM to raise the bar even higher in the best interest of Ghanaian and American businesses.