Players in the business community have asked Tunisian investors to take advantage of Ghana’s stable socioeconomic and competitive environment by partnering their Ghanaian counterparts to establish multinational companies that can profit Africa’s over 1.2 billion consumers.
At a business forum on Tuesday, January 15 in Accra, government officials, manufacturers, exporters, importers and traders asked their Tunisian counterparts to partner them to take advantage of the numerous programmes introduced by the government to industrialise the country.
The forum, which was organised by Tunisia Africa Business Council (TABC) and Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GNCCI), was aimed at deepening the bilateral trade and investment relations between Ghana and Tunisia.
Untapped tourism sector
The Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mrs Catherine Abelema Afeku, stated that Ghana, as the centre of the world, had a lot of untapped business opportunities, especially in the tourism industry, which if well exploited, could yield high returns.
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For instance, she said there was a huge market for accommodation in the tourism hospitality industry in the country where quite a number of first-class hotels were in high demand.
“Ghana stands out as a beacon for safe investment in Sub-Saharan Africa because of its strong gross domestic product (GDP) growth forecast and stable political environment conducive to business,” she said.
Commodity-based to industrialisation
The Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Carlos Kingsley Ahenkorah, outlined a number of programmes initiated by the government to shift the economy from commodity-based to industrialisation-led.
“We have introduced a very ambitious transformational agenda for the country and there are some areas which I believe will interest you,” he stated.
He pointed out some of the numerous opportunities that the Tunisian investors could explore in the government’s 10-point agenda for transformation.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the GNCCI, Mr Mark Badu-Aboagye, observed that the country had had a good relationship with Tunisia for 60 years, which has been beneficial to the achievement of national development strategies and sustainable economic growth.
“Today’s meeting is essential in enhancing the bilateral trade and economic relations between both countries,” he said.
According to him, Ghana was an ideal destination to do business. Currently, it is one of the fastest emerging market economies and noted for its political and economic stability.
“It is ranked the best place of doing business in the West African sub-region according to the World Bank Doing Business 2019 report and has a B-rating from Standards and Poor (S&P) Global.
“The government is also committed to pursuing business-friendly policies and programmes towards achieving economic and industrial transformation of the economy and to move Ghana beyond aid.
It is continually seeking cooperation and partnership in realising this vision,” he said.
According to the International Trade Centre (ITC), in 2015 and 2016 Ghana’s trade surplus with Tunisia stood at US$1.7 million and US$0.8 million respectively.
However, in 2017 Ghana’s imports from Tunisia amounted to US$18.5 million in total products while its exports to Tunisia stood at US$15.1 million, recording a trade deficit of US$3.4 million.
The Secretary of State to the Minister of Foreign Affairs in charge of Economic Diplomacy (Tunisia), Mr Hatem Ferjeni, stated that the Tunisian government was hopeful that the forum would help deepen the relations between the two countries in order to bring economic and social benefits.