Heritage Securities Limited (HSL), in partnership with the United States Friendship and Economic Development (FED) Group, has launched the Ghana-U.S Trade Hub to provide facilitation services for companies seeking to trade with the United States.
Heritage Securities Limited, which is now a member of the US FED Group Consortium, will provide services including advisory, consulting, facilitation of trade, project and commerce development and financing to non-US public and private companies interested in doing business with US companies.
Speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency at the launch of the Trade Hub in Accra on Wednesday, Mr Edward Agyekum Kufuor, the Director of HSL, said the partnership was an important one in Ghana’s quest to move from aid to trade in its bilateral relations with development partners.
He said the Hub would help facilitate the growth of small businesses through their services, which include matching businesses with prospective investors in the US to drive the economy and provide jobs.
Mr Kufuor said trade, especially through the export of value-added Ghanaian products, was what would make the rest of the world hear about Ghana, instead of aid or hand-outs.
“What is going to help our economy grow is when we’re able to foster these entrepreneurs and small businesses, encourage them and provide the environment where they can grow,” he said.
He noted that the Trade Hub would also address some of the issues that often came when start-ups and entrepreneurs tried to access finances as it would ensure that their ideas and projects were viable and link them to the appropriate investors.
Mr Gideon A. Quist, the Executive Chairman of HSL, said the services of the Trade Hub were open to all companies interested in doing business with US companies adding that clients could walk in and apply for trade finance, project finance and anything that had to do with the U.S financing of trade and business project.
He said financing of projects in Ghana was difficult due to the huge amounts involved, a challenge which would be addressed with the Trade Hub as it would bring in revenue.
“We’re looking at project financing at any amount you can think of; the cost of borrowing from the US is also low and that gives the businessmen the advantage of low interest on how much they invest in the business,” he said.
The FED was also ready to establish trade instruments for importation of any items, Mr Quist said, and urged businesses to take advantage of the Hub as they did not need cash capital to work with.
Mr Mark Darko, the Managing Director of HSL, and General Managing Partner of the US FED Group Consortium, said the arrangement with the Consortium was unique as it was a shift from the old reliance on aid by the country.
“This is unique, it has never happened in West Africa and this is the first time it is happening here and hopefully we’ll be able to extend it beyond the borders of Ghana,” he said.
Mr Darko said the most important criteria was for the company to be a viable one, which could be profitable enough to pay back the loan and make profit.
Companies are thus expected to be bankable and well documented businesses, he said.
The Consortium is currently looking at financing Celltel, formerly Kasapa, to the tune of about $300 million and could go higher if required.