The 2021 edition of the Ghana-Africa Business Awards Ceremony organised by Top Brass Ghana under the auspices of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration has been held.
The Awards dinner, the 15th in the series, was held under the theme: “Accelerating Ghana’s Economic Development – The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Factor”.
According to the Director of Top Brass Ghana, Mr. Isaac Dakwa, the Ghana-Africa Business Awards Scheme was instituted in 2004 under the auspices of the erstwhile Ministry of Regional Co-operation and NEPAD in commemoration of African Union Day (25th May) with the objective of strengthening Ghana’s trade and investment relations with the rest of Africa by celebrating the gallant captains of business who vigorously promote intra-African trade and investment.
In a speech read on her behalf Mad Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration underscored the importance of the establishment of the AfCFTA as participating countries in the integration programmes will generate maximum socio-economic benefits for their citizens through their collaborative efforts.
Ghana’s industrial sector, she noted, has emerged as a significant driver of growth in recent years with the country leveraging its abundant natural resources to diversify the economy through the production of high-value products for the export market and localising manufacturing by developing new factories under the One District One Factory (1D1F) Programme as well as the setting up of Industrial Parks and Free Zone enclaves.
The Minister also stated that government is taking steps to overhaul the regulatory system, improve the ease of doing business, maintain fiscal discipline, promote better transparency and accountability with the view to improving investor confidence. In this regard, Government, she pointed out launched the 3-year Business Regulatory Programme in 2018 with the aim of establishing Ghana as the continent’s most business-friendly nation. The measures being pursued in this direction include streaming regulations as well as advances in Customs clearance procedures.
These measures, the minister explained, are worthy of emulation by other African countries since the overall goal of the establishment of the AfCFTA is not only to boost intra-African trade but to industrialise the continent in order to transform Africa’s economy. Finally, she noted that the low level of intra-African trade is in large part due to the dismal state of infrastructure on the continent and urged member countries to take urgent steps to address Africa’s infrastructure deficit.
In his opening remarks, the Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Foreign Affairs, Bryan Acheampong, commended Top Brass Ghana and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration for partnering to recognise and honour deserving Ghanaian companies trading within the African continent.
He pointed out that in spite of Africa’s vast natural resource endowment, trade among member countries of the African Union remains low and that Africa controls just 2.9% of world production and 2.6% of world trade.
Against this background, Mr Acheampong welcomed the establishment of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) as a vehicle for the promotion and facilitation of trade and investment within the continent. In this regard, he urged the business community to take advantage of the location of the headquarters of the Secretariat of AfCFTA in Accra and play a vital role in influencing Government in its negotiations on such critical matters as the Rules of Origin, among others.
He further called for the reversal of the nature of Africa’s exports which are largely primary products by adding value to these primary products in order to derive the desired outcomes.
The topmost Platinum Award was conferred on three companies which have been at the forefront of Ghana’s trade and investment relations with the rest of Africa, namely Absa Bank Ghana Limited (Banking/ International Trade Finance); Gold Fields Ghana (Gold Mining) and Interplast Limited (Manufacturing/International Trade).
Other Award Winners included MDS Lancet Laboratories Ghana Limited (Healthcare/ Medical Diagnostics); Allship Logistics Limited (Trade Facilitation); Chocomac Ghana Limited, (International Trade/Cocoa Products); Ethiopian Airlines (Air Transportation); Gateway Logistics Limited (International Logistics) and Golden Exotics Limited (Free Zone Operations/Export Trade).
The rest were Nationwide Medical Insurance (Private Health Insurance); Oro Oil Ghana Limited (Free Zone Operations/Agro-Processing); Satguru Travel and Tours Services Limited (Tourism/Travel and Tours); Servair Ghana (Airline Catering); Sunu Assurances Ghana Limited (Insurance) and Quest Medical Imaging Limited (Healthcare/Radiological Services).
The Guest of Honour for the occasion was Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration. In view of their official assignments outside the country, the Minister was represented by Mr. Bonaventure Adjavor, Director of the Economic, Trade and Investment Bureau of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration while Paul Twum-Barimah, a member of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Foreign Affairs deputised for Bryan Acheampong. Also in attendance was Nana Dr. Baa Wiredu, a former Consultant of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation