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US Special Rep calls for enabling business environment in Ghana

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Mr Nathan (in suit) interacting with Mr Sampath Agalawatta, General Manager Operations of DTRT.
Mr Nathan (in suit) interacting with Mr Sampath Agalawatta, General Manager Operations of DTRT.

Mr Scott A. Nathan, Special Representative, Commercial and Business Affairs of the US Department of State, has called on government to provide the enabling environment for joint venture businesses such as DTRT to thrive.

He said the venture was the sort of thing that the US department of State wants to see happening over and over again, which requires an enabling environment and the right business and investment climate.

Speaking during a tour of the DTRT production facility in Accra, as part of a two-nation visit, he said the company employs more than 1,100 people at the factory and the need for more space in order to expand production was an opportunity for Ghana as it would provide more jobs especially for the youth, who are the majority of the employees.

“What Ghana is doing here is a terrific thing. I know that my colleagues at the West Africa Trade Hub are working to help support the ongoing growth of these businesses. This is a shining example and that includes working with them to secure more space,” he stated.

Mr Nathan said he was very impressed with what he saw at the factory, saying it was a real accomplishment, in spite of the challenges that came with the opportunities.

He noted that that the African Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA) was big part of the opportunities that were available in Ghana.

AGOA is a US non-reciprocal trade preference programme designed to help spur market-led growth and development in sub-Saharan Africa and deepen US trade and investment ties with the region.

According to the Congressional Research Institute, the programme provides duty-free treatment to US imports of certain products from eligible sub-Saharan African countries.

Although most of the products imported into the US under AGOA are oil imports, apparel remained a top non-oil export for AGOA countries, giving them a competitive advantage over other apparel producers.

Mr Nathan noted that US support for such initiatives symbolised the context of its commitment to Ghana. terrific

“Ghana is a very important partner for us. Ghana is the largest recipient of US aid in West Africa and a critical trading partner for the United States and vice versa,” he stated.

He noted that this tied into President Barack Obama’s focus on promoting economic empowerment globally through entrepreneurship and job creation, with particular emphasis on women and youth.

Mr Marc Hansult, Co-Chief Executive Officer of DTRT Apparel, said the company had decided to partner with local company, Dignity; and not start an independent business because it wants to help promote the local industry instead of just being a foreign investor, which is not as developed as it is in other countries.

“In the long run, we also hope to attract other buyers to place business with the companies around and thus jumpstart the whole industry. That’s usually how it happens; you need one success that people will see and buyers will gain confidence and become serious about a certain region.”

He noted that the industry is such that a lot of business is being moved out of China and buyers looking for new homes and looking mostly in Africa. The challenge however is the difficulty in identifying local partners with the know-how and the infrastructure to service the export business.

Mr Hansult noted that Ghana has tremendous potential and good human resources willing to work, though they have to learn everything and are provided training before they are put on the production lines.

Source: GNA

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