Ghana is the ideal place to invest and conduct business in Africa, especially in West Africa, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has told investors and business leaders of the United Kingdom (UK).
“Ghana is a haven of peace, security and stability, a country where the principles of democratic accountability are now firmly entrenched in its body politic and where the separation of powers is real to promote accountable governance,” he said in a keynote address he delivered at the second edition of the UK-Ghana Investment Summit in London on Tuesday.
The summit was organised by the UK-Ghana Chamber of Commerce.
President Akufo-Addo told the investors that rule of law in Ghana was not a slogan but an operating state principle of development.
He said Ghana wanted to participate in the global marketplace, not on the basis of the export of raw materials but on the basis of things produced by the country.
“We want to bring greater dignity to the lives of millions of people in Ghana. We want to build a Ghana Beyond Aid and so I believe very strongly that Ghana is on the cusp of a new bold beginning which will repudiate the recent culture of failure,” he added.
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Touching on the contribution of the private sector to the development of the local economy, President Akufo-Addo said the government was of the firm conviction that the role of the private sector in national development was crucial, adding that “the sector is the very essence of our economic philosophy, which has been so for 70 odd years”.
In addition, he said, the government had, over the past 15 months in office, instituted measures needed to reduce the cost of doing business and improve the business environment in Ghana.
That, the President said, had “resulted in the growing stability of the macro-economy and the cedi, reduction in inflation and the abolition of nuisance taxes to shift the focus of the economy from taxation to production”.
“The effective economic policies put in place have also ensured that the fiscal deficit, which stood at 9.5 per cent by the close of 2016, had been reduced to 5.6 per cent as of the end of 2017 and is projected to go further down to 4.5 per cent in 2018.
“Inflation has also declined from 15.6 per cent at the end of 2016 to 10.4 per cent at the end of March this year and it is expected to decline even further to the single-digit target of 8.9 per cent, with economic growth increasing from 3.6 per cent in 2016 to 8.5 per cent in 2017.
“As a result of appropriate policy and the normalisation of the power situation in Ghana, these interventions by the government have also led to the revival of Ghanaian industry, from a growth rate of negative 0.5 per cent in 2016 to 17.7 per cent in 2017,” he said.
Interest rates, he said, were declining, adding: “We are now witnessing a more stable cedi, our national currency, while our macro-economy is growing stronger.”
President Akufo-Addo said specific measures put in place by the government were leading Ghana and its economy into the new digital age.
Some of the measures, he said, were the introduction of an e-business registration system, a paperless port clearance system, a digital addressing system, a mobile inter-operability system and a national identification card system designed to formalise the Ghanaian economy, reduce the cost of doing business and facilitate interaction between businesses and their clients.
Those measures, according to the President, were crucial, particularly in a technology-driven era when connectivity through digital services was an important element in achieving competitiveness.
Describing infrastructure as a key challenge of Ghana’s economy, he said: “Ghana is embarking on an aggressive public-private partnership programme to attract investment in the development of both the country’s road and railway infrastructure.
“We are hopeful that with a solid private sector participation, we can develop a modern railway network with strong production centre linkages and with the potential to connect us to our neighbours to the north, that is, Burkina Faso; Cote d’Ivoire to the west and Togo in the east. We also believe that this is an area where British technology and expertise will be very welcome.”
President Akufo-Addo further stated that “there are several projects in roads, water transport, industry, manufacturing, agriculture, petroleum and gas, renewable energy, the exploitation of mineral wealth of bauxite, iron ore and gold and the ICT sector which are being structured to attract private-sector financing”.