Third UK-Ghana Investment Summit underway in Accra

BY: Sebastian Syme
• President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo (2nd right) interacting with Mr Iain Walker (right), the British High Commissioner in Accra, at the Ghana-UK Investment Summit. With them is Vice-President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia (left). Picture: Samuel Tei Adano
• President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo (2nd right) interacting with Mr Iain Walker (right), the British High Commissioner in Accra, at the Ghana-UK Investment Summit. With them is Vice-President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia (left). Picture: Samuel Tei Adano

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has reiterated his call on investors to take advantage of the prevailing positive investment climate in Ghana and invest in the country.

He assured investors of safe and secure investment in Ghana under a dispensation governed by the rule of law.

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The President was addressing the opening ceremony of the UK-Ghana Investment Summit 2018 in Accra yesterday.

The two-day summit is expected to be attended by more than 50 British companies to discuss trade and investment opportunities with ministers and other government officials.

It is a follow up to a similar summit held in London in April this year.


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The purpose is to facilitate the establishment of links with local private sector partners and leverage on their involvement to build international partnerships as a critical element in achieving a ‘Ghana Beyond Aid’.

Take advantage

In particular, President Akufo-Addo asked the UK business delegation to take advantage of Ghana’s macro-economic stability and invest in relevant sectors of the economy for the mutual benefit of the peoples of the two countries.

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He said until recently the UK was Ghana’s largest trading partner and stressed that the government was committed to maintaining its relationship with the UK on a win-win basis.

Difficult economy

The President alluded to what he described as the difficult economic situation he inherited on his assumption of office in January 2017 and stressed that Ghana had good human capital, abundant natural resources, for which reason the people deserved to live under better economic conditions.

In line with his government’s objective to improve the economic situation of the country, President Akufo-Addo posited that the implementation of an economic policy to promote a good business environment was the best option for Ghana’s future.

He expressed optimism about formalising the economy, stressing that after 20 months in office, all the economic indicators pointed in the right direction, including a relatively stable economy, a reduction in the lending rate, stable inflation and a paperless port system.

He further pointed at the reduction in utility tariffs as part of the government’s measures to attract investments into the country.

Optimism

President Akufo-Addo expressed the conviction that the intention by other countries to set up plants in Ghana was a demonstration of how investor-friendly the country had become.

Ghana and Germany signed an agreement to establish a car assembling plant in the country after a meeting between President Akufo-Addo and the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, at the Presidency in August this year.

The agreement, when given effect, would involve German car manufacturing giant Volkswagen setting up a plant in Ghana.

President Akufo-Addo touted some of the flagship policies of his administration, including the one-district, one-factory initiative, for which he made a clarion call to UK investors to partner the government in its execution.

As part of the effort to attract investors into the country, President Akufo-Addo outlined some measures his administration had taken, such as the introduction of the 25 per cent tax rebate for investors and the 50 per cent rebate for companies that invested in the country.

‘We are open to all’

The President spoke to the vexed issue of Africa’s shift to China for support when he remarked that inasmuch as the government would welcome Chinese support for Ghana in the areas of technology and others, “we will give equal access to all investors, no matter where they are coming from”.

Turning his attention to the implications of Britain’s exit from the European Union (Brexit) on Ghana’s relationship with the former, President Akufo-Addo expressed optimism about a continued positive Ghana relationship with Britain, irrespective of the outcome of the ongoing Brexit negotiations.

UK Minister

In an interview, the UK Minister of State for Trade and Export Promotion, Baroness Rona Fairhead, said it was the avowed commitment of Britain to be the leading G7 country investor in Africa by 2022.

She said the summit was in pursuance of investing £500 million in Ghana through UK companies that desired to make the country their investment destination in Africa.

When asked about the implications Brexit would have for Ghana, Baroness Fairhead gave an assurance that Britain’s trade relationship with Ghana would not be disrupted and indicated that it would rather be an opportunity for the UK to turn to the Commonwealth for more trade.

Ghana’s High Commissioner to the UK, Papa Owusu-Ankomah, also in an interview, said Ghana was on course to becoming the trailblazer for foreign direct investment in Africa.

The UK-Ghana Investment Summit is an event created by the UK-Ghana Chamber of Commerce (UKGCC) to promote Ghana as an investment destination for British companies and investors.

The first event took place in London on July 22, 2017 and attracted more than 250 senior business professionals and leaders, followed by a second summit held in London in April this year.