The Chief of Staff, Mrs Akosua Frema Osei-Opare, says as part of efforts to encourage sustained dialogue with Ghanaians and other Africans in the diaspora, the government is leveraging several support measures, including the establishment of the Diaspora Investment Desk (DID) at the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC).
According to her, this will be hinged on the various ongoing business regulatory reforms, including digitization of government processes, improved access to information, among others, that are being implemented to improve on the investment climate in Ghana.
She said this during the maiden Ghana Diaspora Investment Summit, organized by the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) in Accra. The two-day summit, which was supported by KGL Group, brought together policymakers, corporate entities, private sector businesses and investors, both local and across the diaspora, to engage, identify entry barriers and propose viable solutions to create an enabling environment to foster direct local investments.
The Executive Director of KLG Group, Mr Alex Dadey, has been a strong advocate for diasporan collaboration. He was instrumental in initiating the Diasporan Homecoming Summit in 2017 and the Ghana Investment and Opportunities Summit in the UK, platforms which collectively roped in significant investments to leverage Ghana’s burgeoning opportunities.
The just-ended event provided a business development platform for participants to engage across different sectors, including agriculture, real estate, technology, fin-tech, among others, under a series of structured business to business sessions.
According to the Chief of Staff, the diaspora community plays a critical role in the economic development of home countries, especially in peripheral economies.
Mrs Osei-Opare added that beside the remittances, the diasporas promote trade and foreign direct investment, spur entrepreneurship, and transfer new knowledge and skills.
“Many countries, such as India, Mexico and Philippines, have recognized the massive contributions their over 15.5 million, 12.3 million and 5.3 million diasporas, respectively, make through remittances.
“According to data by the World Bank, remittances received in Ghana from the diaspora hit 3.6 billon dollars in 2020, indicative of a five per cent increase. This depicts the vast wealth processed by the diaspora,” she said.
The Chief of Staff noted that due to the importance of the diaspora community to the development of the Ghanaian economy, the government, in 2017, established the Diaspora Affairs Office at the Presidency (DAOOP) to engage with diaspora associations more directly and build linkages to harness market access, expertise, and knowledge for political inclusion, economic and socio-cultural development.
“The Government is also developing the Diaspora Engagement Policy (DEP) to formalise its engagement with the Ghanaian diaspora. It is being developed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration (MFARI) and DAOOP under the National Migration Policy (NMP) to promote constructive engagement between Ghana and its diaspora community for the purpose of leveraging mutual benefits from each other,” she said.
Country of choice
The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, said the summit was very important to her Ministry because of its stated objectives of fostering economic partnerships with the diaspora and positioning Ghana as the country of choice for doing business with the diaspora.
“As you may be all too aware, Ghana has for decades been a stable democracy, a beacon of hope on the African continent and been branded as the gateway to Africa. This has not just been the rhetoric but meaningful measures have been put in place by all to ensure that this remains Ghana’s reality,” she said.
She said it is also important that efforts are made to bring those in diaspora together in order to help Ghana recover from the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Although the Ghanaian economy has seen significant Foreign Direct Investment over the past years, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has made it all the more expedient to ramp up efforts aimed at increasing the number of Investments in the country.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, recognizing the significance of Investments primarily from Ghanaians in the diaspora, put in place several measures to ensure a smooth and seamless way of investing in Ghana from wherever you are,” she said.
The Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, called on heads of agencies affiliated to the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) to ensure that they create the necessary atmosphere to attract Ghanaians living abroad and the African diaspora to invest their resources in the country.
“My biggest word will go to what I call the facilitators. The facilitators are those who work in the various organizations or agencies that are supposed to actually make it possible for people to be on-boarded in this investment process and they span a wide scope.
“They are people from regulatory agencies, utility organizations and people who are supposed to give permits. Many things in the value chain that will finally make it possible for that potential investment that we are expecting to connect with opportunities back home,” he stated.
“Half the time, the facilitators are those who frustrate the process. It doesn’t matter how well the President will do to try and stabilize the economy or how far he will travel to sell Ghana or what the GIPC will do to put things like this together, it doesn’t matter how much capital people have out there. If we the facilitators who are responsible for unlocking the kind of investment so that they can connect with the potential, if we frustrate the process, the value will be zero,” he added.