President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo says Ghana attracted the largest Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in West Africa despite the Coronavirus pandemic, raking in some $2.65 billion during the peak of the disease in 2020.
This is because the Government since 2017 had put in place measures to reduce the cost of doing business, improve the business environment and 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.
Speaking at the opening of the maiden Ghana Investment Promotion Council’s (GIPC) Annual Investment Summit, dubbed Sparkup 2021 in Accra on Tuesday, the President said Ghana’s economy was one of the few that recorded positive growth in 2020, even though many economies went into recession mostly on account of COVID-19.
He said despite the ravages of the pandemic, the Government was working to grow the economy at a much faster rate this year, targeting a five percent GDP growth rate to enhance the prospects of “a win-win environment for both private sector and country, and create an environment where companies do not just survive, but actually thrive.”
The country managed a GDP growth of 0.1 percent in 2020, though significantly reduced from the average levels of seven percent per annum recorded in 2017, 2018, and 2019.
The Spark Up Summit, being held on the theme,” Maximising Ghana’s Investment Potential” is a collaboration between the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre, the Ministry of Information and other government agencies to revive interest for investing in Ghana, and to help restore economic growth as the country emerges from the economic downturn occasioned by the pandemic.
The event brought together captains of industry, policy-makers, business owners, heads of state agencies and ministers of state to deliberate and brainstorm on opportunities and challenges in investing in the country and proffer solutions to them.
President Akufo-Addo told the gathering that upon assumption of office in 2017, his government took steps to build a business-friendly economy to enable Ghana to get to the stage “where the exploitation of the opportunities that are available to us will help us build an optimistic, self-confident, self-reliant, prosperous nation – a Ghana beyond Aid.”
Towards realizing this vision, the government, he said, had made deliberate efforts in determining the investment priorities of Ghana and taken steps to mobilize the necessary resources for the growth of those priority areas.
“This is because we want to help transform Ghana from being a mere producer and exporter of raw materials to a value-added, industrialized economy that will provide opportunities, jobs and prosperity for all Ghanaians, thereby creating a wiser nation that is a wealthy inclusive, sustainable, empowered and resilient one.”
The President said the Government had identified the relevant sectors of the economy requiring the needed investments that will help accelerate the rebound and growth of the Ghanaian economy, as was witnessed in the immediate years before the pandemic struck.
He said the GH¢100 billion post-COVID initiative to stabilize, revitalize and transform Ghana’s economy, Ghana Cares Obaatanpaa Programme, will inject substantial investments into key sectors of the economy such as agriculture, agro-processing, manufacturing, healthcare, housing and infrastructural development.
The programme will require some GH¢30 billion of funding from the government and GH¢70 billion from the private sector.
But in seeking to mobilize the GH¢70 billion from the private sector, President Akufo-Addo noted, required a critical examination of how FDI’s are on-boarded into the economy of Ghana.
“So, it is critical that this maiden edition of Spark Up, be dedicated to exploring ways of improving the turnaround times and the efficiency with which potential investments are integrated into the Ghanaian economy,” he said.
He charged the GIPC to use the Summit as a platform for open frank and solution-oriented engagements between investors, regulators and investment facilitators, hopeful that the event would remove all bottlenecks to the smooth and quick establishment of all registered investments to complement the efforts of government in engineering growth and the creation of jobs for our people.
Mr Yofi Grant, Chief Executive Officer of Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) told the gathering that Ghana was endowed with human and natural resources to spearhead Africa’s economic emancipation.
He said with the country hosting the African Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA) Secretariat, individuals and businesses needed to take advantage of the favorable investment climate to strike partnerships.
The GIPC CEO said it was time Ghana moved away from exportation of raw materials to increase productivity and value addition.
He noted that the country was geographically well-positioned to spearhead Africa’s economic emancipation and wealth creation due to its stable political and democratic environment.