Story by Business and Financial Times
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has described Ghana as the best place to do business in West Africa and urged the private sector and investors in the United Arab Emirates to make Ghana their first port of call when venturing into the for business.
Addressing the UAE-Ghana Business Forum held on Tuesday 17th January 2023 on the sidelines of the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, President Akufo-Addo stated that government since 2017 has put in place the measures needed to reduce the cost of doing business and improve the business environment.
According to the president, these measures “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 by averaging 7% GDP annual rates of growth, up from the 3.4% rate we inherited in 2016”.
With government working to restore the nation onto the path of high growth rates experienced prior to the onset of COVID-19 and the Russian/Ukraine war, he told the gathering of Ghana’s decision to seek collaboration with the IMF – “to repair, in the short-run, our public finances and give credibility to our balance of payments, which have taken a severe hit in very recent times as a result of these developments.
“I am confident that we will emerge from this with a stronger and more resilient economy and advance toward our goal of reaching a Ghana Beyond Aid. Not only is Ghana the best place for doing business in West Africa, but it is also the preferred destination for a perfect blend of mineral resource potential, stable regulatory environment, favourable fiscal regime, and socially responsive mining in Africa,” he added.
Describing mining as a key pillar of Ghana’s economy, President Akufo-Addo told the gathering that gold – which still holds its own as both a commodity and a financial asset – is by far the most commercially exploited mineral in Ghana, accounting for more than ninety percent (90%) of the country’s mineral revenue.
“Indeed, in recent times until 2021, Ghana was the largest producer of gold in Africa and was 6th in the world. We are also a major producer of bauxite and manganese, and indeed the 3rd-largest producer of these two minerals in Africa,” he said.
The president continued: “More recently, Ghana has been placed globally on the map among a few countries that have made significant discoveries of lithium, just as it has found graphite and iron ore in significant quantities. Ghana is also working toward the net zero emissions target and collaborating with other relevant stakeholders in employing climate-friendly technologies and practices to achieve the maximum developmental impact for the country”.
He explained that what his government is seeking to do is not just exploit these minerals in their raw form to enhance our export earnings, but more importantly generate value-added benefits along the minerals’ full value chain and create linkages with other sectors of the economy.
“The potentials created offer considerable opportunities for UAE investors who possess the capacity to generate the value-added benefits, especially through the government’s local value-addition and processing drive to partner Ghanaian companies in converting their natural comparative advantage into an enhanced, more valuable, sustainable, and competitive advantage,” the president added.
He assured that the standards for responsible environmental and social stewardship maintained by Ghana’s minerals and mining sector are comparable to any found in the best of mining jurisdictions, stressing that: “The Minerals and Mining Act of 2006 (Act 703), supported by the Regulations passed in 2012, along with a few amendments and introductions that have been made, have stood the test of time”.
In spite of the country’s present challenges, President Akufo-Addo maintained: “It is an exciting time to be in Ghana and do business in the country. So, I would urge the private sector in the UAE to take advantage of the business-friendly climate in the country to invest in Ghana. Regardless of where you choose to invest in Ghana, government has instituted a number of fiscal incentives for the investor – depending on nature of the activity or location of the investment”.
With Ghana considered a beacon of democracy and stability in Africa, possessing a modern democratic system of governance with an independent Judiciary and a strong attachment to the rule of law, the President stated: “In the same vein, we are determined to make Ghana an example of rapid economic growth within the context of a well-developed market economy. We welcome greatly your contribution to this endeavour”.