President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has made strong case for investors in Spain to see Ghana as one of the best places they can do business and succeed.
“As most of you know, Ghana is a haven of peace, security and stability; indeed, the safest country in West Africa, where legitimate investments are protected. We have witnessed, through the ballot box, three peaceful transfers of power from one political party to another in the twenty-eight year period of the 4th Republic,” he stressed.
The President made the call yesterday when he addressed the business community in Spain, as part of the “Focus Africa 2023” Conference in Madrid, Spain.
The President told the gathering that between 2017 and 2020, his first term in office was spent correcting the fundamentals of the economy.
“We have, over the period, put in place measures needed to reduce the cost of doing business, improve the business environment, and made the Ghanaian economy not only one of the most business-friendly economies in Africa, but also one of the fastest growing economies in the world between 2017 and 2020,” he added.
With the economies of most of the countries in the world either in recession or recording negative growth, he noted that Ghana’s economy was one of the very few that still managed to record a positive GDP growth.
“In spite of the ravages of the pandemic, we are working to grow the economy at a much faster rate this year, our target being a five percent GDP growth rate, which will enhance the prospects of a win-win environment for both private sector and country; an environment where companies do not just survive, but actually thrive,” he said.
He said the major programme driving the revival and revitalization of the economy is the GH¢100 billion Ghana CARES ‘Obaatampa’ Programme, whose main elements include supporting commercial farming and attracting educated youth into commercial farming; and building the country’s light manufacturing sector; developing engineering/machine tools and ICT/digital economy industries; amongst others.
“It continues to be an exciting time to be in Ghana, and to do business in the country. Already, global car manufacturing giants, Volkswagen of Germany, Sinotruk of China, Nissan of Japan have established assembly plants in the country. Energy giant ExxonMobil of the United States of America, is establishing an office and base in Ghana, and the well-known Norwegian energy company, Aker, is very much established in Ghana, and I believe it is for good reason,” he added.
He, thus, urged business community in Spain to take advantage of the business-friendly climate in the country to invest in Ghana.
AfCFTA offers more
President Akufo-Addo also indicated that a very important plank of the new strategic partnership between Africa, Spain and, for that matter Europe, would be the strong support for the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which began trading on 1st January.
“It is the world’s largest free trade area outside of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) itself. By 2050, it will cover an estimated 2.5 billion people, and have over a quarter of the world’s working age population,” he said.
According to the President, AfCFTA will link all the 54 markets of Africa, covering 1.2 billion people, into a single market.
“Imagine the investment and business opportunities offered by the infrastructure required to link our markets more effectively. And imagine the business opportunities that this huge market would offer for manufacturing and services firms from Spain and Europe that could establish production facilities in Africa to serve the African markets,” he said.
With the enhanced growth that would result from all these, President Akufo-Addo stressed that “the market opportunities for exporters from Spain and Europe could be truly amazing!”
He reiterated the commitment of African leaders to charting a new path of trade and investment co-operation with the rest of the world.
He said with Africa in possession of vast resources, it is disheartening to note that African youths do not see a future in their respective countries, and are willing to cross the Sahara Desert on foot and drown in the Mediterranean Sea, in a desperate bid to reach the mirage of a better life in Europe.
“It is eloquent testimony to the inability of the current structures of African economies – producing and exporting raw materials, importing manufactured goods and services from Europe and elsewhere – to generate the numbers of decent, well-paying jobs that Africa’s youths crave,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo told the gathering that “the time has come for Africa, Spain, and, indeed, the rest of Europe, to establish a sustainable, strategic partnership based on trade and investment co-operation on the exchange of value-added transactions.
Touching on the COVID-19 pandemic, he told the gathering that the need for global co-operation had been accentuated even further by the onset of the virus.
“We need to co-operate more, and we need to co-operate smartly. In the midst of all the complexities of the 21st century, our interdependence requires such co-operation. So, I applaud Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez for convening “Focus Africa 2023”, and for the brilliance of the Plan Africa III initiative,” he added.
President Akufo-Addo stressed that, in spite of the havoc wrecked by COVID-19, his government is pursuing accelerated economic development through improved macroeconomic management, improved domestic revenue mobilisation emanating from reforms in public revenue policy and administration, creation of conducive environments for businesses to flourish, tackling corruption and curbing excessive bureaucratic procedures.