President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has urged the private sector and investors in the United Arab Emirates to make Ghana their first port of call when venturing into the West Africa Region for business.
Addressing the UAE-Ghana Business Forum held on the sidelines of the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week on Tuesday, he described Ghana as the best to do business in West Africa.
President Akufo-Addo told the Forum that the Government, since 2017, had put in place measures needed to reduce the cost of doing business, and improve the business environment.
Those measures, he said, “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, averaging 7 per cent GDP annual rates of growth, up from the 3.4 per cent rate we inherited in 2016.”
The President said the Government was working to restore the nation to the path of high growth rates experienced prior to the onset of COVID-19 and the Russian/Ukraine war.
He told the gathering of Ghana’s decision to seek the collaboration of the IMF “to repair, in the short run, our public finances, and give credibility to our balance of payments, which have taken a severe hit in very recent times as a result of these developments.”
“I am confident that we will emerge from this with a stronger and more resilient economy and advance towards our goal of reaching a Ghana Beyond Aid. Not only is Ghana the best place for doing business in West Africa, but she is also the preferred destination for a perfect blend of mineral resource potential, stable regulatory environment, favourable fiscal regime, and socially responsive mining in Africa,” he added.
Describing mining as a key pillar of Ghana’s economy, President Akufo-Addo told the gathering that gold, which still held its own as both a commodity and a financial asset, was, by far, the most commercially exploited mineral in Ghana, accounting for more than ninety per cent of the country’s mineral revenue.
“Indeed, in recent times until 2021, Ghana was the largest producer of gold in Africa and was sixth in the world. We are also major producers of bauxite and manganese, and are, indeed, the third largest producer of these two minerals in Africa,” he said.
“More recently, Ghana has been placed globally on the map of some few countries that have made significant discoveries of lithium, just as she has found also graphite and iron ore in significant quantities. Ghana is also working towards the net zero emission target and collaborating with other relevant stakeholders in employing climate-friendly technologies and practices, to achieve the maximum developmental impact for the country.”
The President explained that what his government was seeking to do was not just to exploit those minerals in their raw form to enhance export earnings, but “more importantly, generate value-added benefits, along the full value chain of the minerals, and create linkages with other sectors of the economy.”
“The potentials created offer considerable opportunities for UAE investors, who possess the capacity to generate the value-added benefits, especially through the Government’s local value-addition and processing drive, to partner Ghanaian companies in converting their natural comparative advantage into an enhanced, more valuable, sustainable and competitive advantage,” he stated.
President Akufo-Addo assured the Forum that the standards for responsible environmental and social stewardship, maintained by Ghana’s minerals and mining sector, were comparable to any found in the best of mining jurisdictions.
He maintained that despite the country’s present challenges “it is an exciting time to be in Ghana, and do business in the country.”
“So, I would urge the private sector in the UAE to take advantage of the business-friendly climate in the country to invest in Ghana. Regardless of where you choose to invest in Ghana, Government has instituted a number of fiscal incentives for the investor, depending on the nature of the activity or the location of the investment.”