A former Minister of Food and Agriculture and flagbearer hopeful of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, has told world leaders and captains of industry to put a chunk of their investments into Ghana and Africa’s agricultural sector for good returns.
Addressing the African Investors Council Forum in Turkey, he noted Ghana is the actual investment choice and not a potential investment destination.
Dr Afriyie Akoto added that Africa is the world’s biggest hope for global food security by 2050, hence an investment in the continent’s agricultural sector is the surest bet to reap the desired dividends.
The forum was under the theme ‘Agricultural Development and Investment Opportunities in Africa (Ghana as a case study)’.
He assured the global investors of the country’s readiness to provide them with the conducive and enabling environment for their investment.
“Ghana and Africa are ready to receive your investment in this era of our agricultural transformation. Ghana and Africa possess the greatest potential to feed the over 9.7 billion people globally by 2050,” he stated.
This, he indicated, could be achieved if Ghana and Africa are able to align themselves properly by strengthening all sectors of their economies and transforming agriculture sustainably. He believes that the transformational drive could propel the continent to be the driving force in an emerging economic order in the areas of food, renewable energy, water and big data.
Dr Afriyie Akoto bemoaned the impacts of COVID-19 and the effects of climate change on agricultural production as well as political unrest across the continent, macroeconomic instability, and the raging debt crisis that many African governments face.
He, however, noted that the agricultural sector offers immense and significant opportunities for transforming Africa’s economy from a net importer of food to the provider of food to the rest of the world.
He Africa’s potential in turning the world’s breadbasket should challenge African governments and its private sector to explore new strategies that unlock the wealth of the continent for the direct benefit of the people in a meaningful and sustainable way.
“It is time we stop perceiving Africa as a “potential” investment destination, but as an “actual” investment choice for Regional Trade and Foreign Direct Investments. It is time to create more mutually beneficial opportunities for trade, investment and collaboration with the African continent,” he indicated.
Achieving this, he noted, would require collaboration and political will of international actors to provide a level playing field in global trade – making it more fair and mutually rewarding.
Urging the world investors to see Ghana as the best destination, the former Food and Agricultural Minister highlighted the strong foundation he has laid for the country’s agricultural sector, combining policies with regulations to achieve sustained rapid economic growth.
He mentioned that under his tenure as the Minister of Food and Agriculture in Ghana, in 2019, he initiated the establishment of the Tree Crop Development Authority (TCDA) under an Act of Parliament, Act 1010. He explained that the TCDA, established in 2020, seeks to coordinate and promote the development of six tree crops – cashew, rubber, oil palm, coconut, mango and Shea.
“The goal of the Authority is to develop, produce, and distribute the selected cash crop seedlings to farmers so as to produce and generate a combined potential of export earnings between US$6 to US$12 billion per year after 8-10 years of implementation.
“At their full development, the additional US$6 to US$12 billion per year in earnings can substantially increase the less than US$2billion annual earnings from cocoa, the current highest foreign exchange earner for Ghana for over a century,” he stressed.