Building capacity to help Africa trade better

President Akufo-Addo advocates for increased trade & investment cooperation with Germany


President Akufo-Addo advocates for increased trade & investment cooperation with Germany

President Akufo-Addo advocates for increased trade & investment cooperation with Germany
Photo credit: The Presidency, Ghana

President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, says notwithstanding the excellent relations that exist between Ghana and Germany, Ghana has decided to turn our back on the old Ghanaian economy, which has been dependent on the production and export of raw materials, and also dependent on aid.

According to President Akufo-Addo, “we want our relations with Germany to be characterised by an increase in trade and investment co-operation.”

The President explained that an increase in trade and investment co-operation between the two countries is the only way to put Ghanaian products at the high end of the value chain in the global market place, and, thereby, create jobs for the teeming masses of Ghanaians, particularly the youth.

President Akufo-Addo made this known on Tuesday, 28th February, 2017, when he delivered the keynote address at the German-Ghanaian Economic Forum, organized by the German Chamber of Commerce, and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation.

Expressing his delight that German Development Co-operation is now being aligned with his government’s vision of moving Ghana Beyond Aid, President Akufo-Addo added that his administration has implemented measures aimed at attracting investment, domestic and foreign, into Ghana, as well as stimulating growth of the Ghanaian private sector.

“We have introduced a monetary policy that is stabilising the currency and reducing significantly the cost of borrowing; and have initiated a raft of tax cuts that is bringing relief to and encouraging businesses,” he said.

These interventions, the President noted, have ensured that the fiscal deficit, which stood at 9.5% at the end of 2016, has been reduced to 5.6% at the end of 2017, and is projected to go down to 4.5% in 2018.

Additionally, he stated that inflation has declined from 15.6% at the end of 2016 to 10.3% at the end of January this year; the economy has grown from 3.6% in 2016, to 7.9% in 2017, and, this year, is estimated to grow at 8.3%, which would make it the fastest growing economy in the world.

President Akufo-Addo indicated further that Ghanaian industry was undergoing a spectacular revival, a decline in interest rates, a more stable cedi, and, overall, “our macro-economy is growing stronger.”

These measures, he stressed, have been put in place to build the most business-friendly economy in Africa, and create jobs and prosperity for all Ghanaians.

Additionally, he told the gathering that his Government has taken specific measures which will lead the country and its economy into the new digital age.

These include the introduction of an e-business registration system, a paperless port clearance system, a digital addressing system, a mobile interoperability system, and a national identification card system, all of which are designed to formalise the Ghanaian economy, reduce the cost of doing business, and facilitate interaction between businesses and their clients, particularly in a technology-driven era, where connectivity through digital services is an important element in achieving competitiveness.

“I am, thus, notifying the German Business community, to take advantage of the growing business-friendly climate in the country to invest in Ghana,” he said.

The President continued, “Our flagship policies of ‘One District, One Factory’, ‘One Village, One Dam’, and the ‘Programme for Planting for Food and Jobs’ map out areas of opportunity, which I commend to you, as I do areas in the development of renewable energy and ICT growth. We are particularly keen to receive German investment in the area of renewable energy, for reasons that are self-evident.”

Addressing the challenge of the country’s infrastructural deficit, he told the gathering that his government 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 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, i.e. Burkina Faso, to the west, i.e. Cote d’Ivoire, and to the east, i.e. Togo. We believe that this is an area where German and European technology and expertise would be very welcome,” he said.

President Akufo-Addo was confident that Ghana is on the cusp of a new, bold beginning, which will repudiate the recent culture of failure.

“We are determined to lift our country out of the doldrums. We want to use all the blessings that the Almighty has bestowed on us to bring progress and prosperity to our people, in our time. The Black Star is poised to shine and shine again, for, truly, the project is Ghana Beyond Aid,” he added.

“Africa must build value-added, industrialised economies” – President Akufo-Addo

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo says that Africa must build value-added, industrialised economies with modernised agriculture, which takes full advantage of the digital revolution, if she is to create wealth and prosperity for her peoples.

Describing Africa as “a rich continent, if not the richest”, President Akufo-Addo indicated that Africa has the world’s second fastest economic growth rates, the world’s fastest-growing region for foreign direct investment, and is in possession of nearly 30 percent of the earth’s remaining mineral resources, with a young, vibrant population.

“Indeed, six of the world’s ten fastest growing economies in 2018 are in Africa. And yet, the masses of the African peoples remain poor, when we have no reason to be poor,” he added.

Thus, in order to create prosperity for the African peoples, President Akufo-Addo indicated that “our first priority must be to change the structures of the economies on the continent, which are dependent largely on the production and export of raw materials. It is this reliance on raw material exports that feeds our dependence on foreign aid, and subjects us to the politics of the West.”

The willingness of many African youths 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, he explained, should serve as a wakeup call for governments on the continent.

“Africa needs to transform stagnant, jobless economies, built on the export of raw materials and unrefined goods, to value-added economies that provide jobs, to build strong middle-class societies and lift the masses of our people out of dire poverty. We can only do so if we participate in the global market place on the basis not of the exports of raw materials, but on the basis of things we make,” he added.

The continent’s second priority, he said, should be to increase trade and investment co-operation, and not aid, as it is one of the ways healthy economic relations can be developed between Africa and Germany, and, indeed, with the rest of the world.

“With Africa’s population set to reach some 2 billion people in 20 years’ time, there are immense opportunities to bring prosperity to Africa, and to Germany too, with hard work, enterprise and creativity. I urge German organisations and companies present to take advantage of this, and enhance their trade relations with Africa,” the President said.

He continued, “The time to deepen German-African trade and investment is now. We must generate investments in agro-industry, the energy and power sectors, and infrastructural development of Africa, capable of producing positive outcomes for the private sectors, especially small and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs), of Germany and Africa.”

Thirdly, President Akufo-Addo urged for co-operation between Germany and Africa in ensuring the promotion of transparent, and inclusive policy and decision-making processes at local, national, regional, continental and global levels.

“Fourthly, in order for us to build an Africa that meets the aspirations of the African peoples and opens up opportunities for all, especially its youth, we must also prioritise our budgetary arrangements to ensure that funds are available to strengthen key institutions of state, such as the Legislature, Judiciary, and fiscal institutions,” he said.

He continued, “It is important that we promote and develop a culture of accountable governance, free of corruption, whereby these institutions of state see themselves as independent public entities serving the wider public interest, not the temporary conveniences of governments of the day. We have a responsibility to make our countries attractive to our young people. They should feel they have a worthwhile future, if they stay and help build their nations.”


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