The third meeting of the United Kingdom-Ghana Business Council held in Accra on Friday committed to taking a deeper and more strategic bilateral partnership, to enhance economic development, job creation and trade and investments opportunities.
The Council was established 12 months ago as a high-level forum to promote bilateral relations and strategic partnerships between Ghanaian private sector and UK counterparts for trade and investment that would mutually benefit each nation and enhance economic growth.
The meeting, which was co-chaired by Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia and Baroness Elizabeth Sugg, UK’s Parliamentary under-Secretary of State for International Development, resolved to implement actionable activities for priority areas like agri-processing, extractives, garments/textiles, pharmaceutical and financial services, as well as digital technologies.
In a joint communique issued at the end of the meeting in Accra, the Council also agreed to prioritise three thematic areas, which came out at its last meeting in London, UK in February, this year.
They are infrastructure development, domestic revenue mobilisation and the ease of doing business.
The Council agreed to continue working to deepen the cooperation across the aforementioned areas ahead of the next meeting in March 2020.
The meeting welcomed the announcement of new programmes under development to support Ghana’s towns and cities and infrastructure development, as well as oil and gas governance.
The Council recognised new partnerships between the British Geological Survey and the Ghana Geological Survey Authority as well as between the UK’s Government Digital Service and Ghana’s Ministry of Communications.
The meeting acknowledged several infrastructure transactions, including the expansion of Tamale Airport financed by UK Export Finance and supported by the UK’s Department for International Trade.
Ghana also confirmed several other projects that had been approved, notably, in water infrastructure, roads, energy and maritime security.
The UK-Ghana look forward to the UK-Africa Investment Summit in London on January 20, next year, which aimed at supporting job creation, private-sector development and environmental protection.
The UK and Ghana agreed to step up efforts to ensure trade continuity as the UK leaves the European Union and build stronger and deeper trade relationship for the future.
The participants agreed to hold the next UK-Ghana Business Council meeting in March in the UK.
Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, in an earlier remarks, said government of Ghana was committed to strengthening public institutions and institutional framework to enhance efficiency, transparency and accountability in public administration.
Dr Bawumia noted that President Akufo-Addo’s Government over the past two years had instituted the necessary building blocks to ensure sound macroeconomic environment and promote trade and investments.
He mentioned key indicators that underpin economic growth as good governance, strong public institutions and legal framework as well as safe and stable democratic credentials.
He said Government had been working tirelessly to ensure conducive business environment to promote trade and investments since it assumed the reins of government.
The Vice President outlined some policies and strategic interventions put in place to ensure enabling business environment and social inclusion as automation of the public sector institutions, e-business registration and paperless ports system.
He said government had also strengthened anti-corruption institutions like the Audit Service, Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice and Office of the Special Prosecutor with financial resources and logistics to fight corruption and ensure transparency and accountability.
Vice President Bawumia believed that in the next two to three years, the Ghanaian public sector would be transformed and become more efficient to stimulate socio-economic development.
Baroness Sugg, for her part, pledged UK government’s commitment to partner Ghana government to promote trade and investments.
She applauded the Ghana government’s vision of building a Ghana Beyond Aid and expressed its preparedness to provide technical assistance towards towards realising that agenda.
Baroness Sugg promised UK government’s commitment to fight the effects of climate change with 11.6 billion Pounds for the next five years,especially as the UK has been appointed Co-President of COP26 towards realising the Paris Agreement.
Some government officials and Ministers of State at the meeting include Mr Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen,the Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto,the Minister of Food and Agriculture, Mr Charles Aduboahen, a Deputy Minister of Finance, Papa Owusu Ankomah, Ghana’s Ambassador to UK and Mr Yoofi Grant, Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre.