He said the UK and businesses there were impressed with Ghana’s credentials and the progress it had made in recent times and were willing to contribute to growing the economy of Ghana.
Mr Umunna, who is the Labour Party Member of Parliament for Streatham in London, was speaking in an exclusive interview with the Daily Graphic in Accra yesterday upon arrival in Ghana with a delegation of businessmen and women for a two-day visit.
He said although the UK had deepened trade and political ties with Ghana, it was dissatisfied with its share of the export market in Ghana and was ready to increase that for the mutual benefit of both economies.
About 22 company representatives are on the trade mission, which is seeking to explore opportunities in various sectors, including water purification, industrial paints, transport, oil and gas, health care, education and infrastructure.
He said having met with President Dramani Mahama and looking at the development path of Ghana, the country would be seeking to engage UK businesses to help solve infrastructure and power and other needs “and we are happy to do that for a win-win benefit”.
Mr Umunna explained that although views differed on the economic strategy of the UK, which had been facing growth challenges in recent years, there was consensus about the need to increase the UK’s exports and close the trade deficit.
“I am here to send a message loud and clear to policy makers and the business community that UK firms mean business in Ghana. We are united behind one voice in saying that we want to be at the forefront of helping Ghana with its growth,” he stressed.
Exports from the UK make up about five per cent of Ghana’s imports. This compares to other European countries which control about 20 per cent of Ghana’s merchandise imports.
On foreign direct investments (FDIs), the UK, which used to be among Ghana’s first three leading sources of FDIs, is now the seventh, according to the 2012 fourth quarter investment results of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC).
“I want to change that; I want the UK to have a much larger share of the export market here and be at the forefront in working in partnership with Ghana and the private and public sectors to promote growth,” Mr Umunna stated.
Story: Samuel Doe Ablordeppey