Mr Yaw Osafo-Maafo, the Senior Minister says Government was seizing the renewed opportunity to embark on the delivery of bold infrastructure development initiatives that would help change Ghana’s developmental landscape.
“We are however, confronted with financing and other constraints; that is why a United Kingdom – Ghana Partnership for Infrastructure Development is relevant, timely and must be prioritized,” Mr Osafo-Maafo said at the UK High Commission forum on infrastructure development in Accra.
The event was organised by the UK High Commission, in collaboration with the UK Department for International Trade, on the theme, “Infrastructure Development in Ghana through UK-Ghana Partnership”.
The forum highlighted how the UK is transitioning its development support to focus squarely on Ghana’s long term economic development, thus, building the nation’s infrastructure through private sector investment.
Mr Osafo-Maafo said that during the colonial era, infrastructure was largely provided to aid exploitation of natural resources.
He noted that for example all critical railway networks connected areas where minerals, timber and other high valued commodities existed; however, this situation had not witnessed any significant structural changes after 60 years of political independence.
He noted that government would not use the convenient route of simply borrowing to provide infrastructure, but rather, explore and develop non-conventional but pragmatic financing arrangements.
The Senior Minister said these include Commodity Swap, Barter, Joint Venture with land and resources as equity, and Guarantee for Equity among others; adding that, “we want to do this in closer collaboration with the private sector, utilizing various models of Public-Private Partnerships”.
He said Government was committed to providing support to investors to help develop commercially viable business models from the various investment opportunities which Ghana offers.
He said Ghana had a long standing reputation of being a business friendly destination and as such, government was committed to sustaining and enhancing this image.
Mr Iain Walker, the British High Commissioner to Ghana, said infrastructure was the enabler for future economic growth, particularly in the areas of railways and roads.
He said with government setting out an aspiring vision of a ‘Ghana Beyond Aid’, the UK is committed to helping achieve this; as they build modern strategic partnership to help Ghana harness the power of the private sector to unlock its potentials.
“I have made it my number one priority to help ensure the UK’s offer matches Ghana’s ambition with the same pace and sense of urgency”, he added.
The High Commissioner said they had consortia bringing together unique expertise and a distinct advantage in providing world class infrastructure projects, in rail, roads and ports; stating that, these were backed up with structured finance packages from UK financial institutions.
The UK companies, who participated in the Great British Infrastructure Trade Mission and Business Forum, include Shard Capital, Liberty Group, BHM International Limited, AECOM, Portcullis Infrastructure, Impactagri, Colas Group, Klegtech, Unatrac, WSP and Moore Stephens.
The rest are Wardour, ARUP, Stodec, Holdtrade (UK) Limited, Irbaris, Advisan and Bam Nuttal Limited.