The Executive Secretary of the American Chamber of Commerce – Ghana, Mr Simon Madjie, has said investor confidence in the local economy is being restored; two months after the corruption scandal that rocked the judicial service.
The judicial scandal, which was exposed by ace investigative journalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas, in September this year left many investors in a state of anxiety as the confidence in the judiciary waned.
Answering questions at a news briefing organised by the chamber to announce a new business initiative designed by the American Chamber of Commerce for Africa, Mr Madjie said the manner in which the scandal was being handled so far was enough to revive the confidence.
“I think that we have already made our point on that issue and what we said was very simple, if this is handled in an open and transparent manner, which I think is being done now, then investor confidence will surely return,” he said.
The news about corruption in Ghana’s judicial sector in September 2015, has added to the woes of a country which is already battling some major economic crises.
The scandal led to the interdiction of some lower court judges as well as some high court judges who are presently facing a judicial committee set up by the Chief Justice, Her Ladyship, Justice Georgina Wood.
“It is not the case that investors do not expect systems to go wrong, and so if it does, it is expected that the remedial actions will be prompt. I feel we are very confident in the correctional activities being undertaken by the Chief Justice, so investor confidence is coming back,” Mr Madjie said.
Confidence in the judiciary system of any country is always in the mind of investors, especially when it comes to multinational companies, with respect to carrying out contractual obligations and legal issues.
It is, therefore, necessary for any country to have a clear and transparent judicial system in order to be able to drive investments into it and give foreign investors an assurance of a fair deal as and when the need arises.
In the case of Ghana, after the expose, a lot of investors were believed to be in a state of anxiety as they were unsure of the outcome of the case.
The Vice President in charge of African Affairs of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Mr Scott Eisner, who also addressed the press, said the sanctity surrounding the rule of law in any country was a key thing many investors looked out for.
“The confidence of the judiciary is in the mind of every investor, and having a clear and transparent judicial system can drive investors into the country, due to the need for proper contractual obligations,” he said.
Two-way trade in West Africa
The U.S Chamber of Commerce, in collaboration with the leadership of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) sub-region launched the U.S.-ECOWAS Business Initiative (USEBI) in September to drive investments in the sub-region.
Mr Eisner said the initiative was to engage companies in the sub-region as a way of increasing two-way trade, removing or reducing commercial barriers, fostering a better understanding of respective investment climates.
“The aim of the whole initiative was to promote trade and strengthen economic and commercial ties between the United States and ECOWAS. The target, however, is to drive about three million membership into the sub-region,” he said.
The USEBI would advocate for a U.S.-ECOWAS-free trade agreement that would focus on promoting increased trade and investment in a mutually beneficial manner.
It also seeks to remove obstacles to trade and investment, thereby creating a limited number of working task forces to address cutting-edge issues as well as strengthen U.S.-ECOWAS cooperation on energy.
The five priority areas the initiative is looking at is in respect to energy and gas, ICT, food and agriculture, banking and finance and retail and supply chain.