Mr. Yaw Osafo-Maafo, the Senior Minister, says government is seizing the renewed opportunity to embark on delivery of bold infrastructure development initiatives which will 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 prioritised,” 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 during the colonial era infrastructure was largely provided to aid exploitation of natural resources.
He noted that, for example, all critical railway network-connected areas were where minerals, timber and other high-value commodities existed; however, this situation has not witnessed any significant structural changes after 60 years of political independence.
He noted that government will 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 Swaps, Barter, Joint Ventures 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, utilising various models of Public-Private Partnerships”.
He said government is committed to providing support for investors to help develop commercially viable business models from the various investment opportunities which Ghana offers.
He said Ghana has a longstanding reputation of being a business-friendly destination, and as such government is committed to sustaining and enhancing this image.
Mr. Iain Walker, the British High Commissioner to Ghana, said infrastructure is the enabler for future economic growth – particularly in the areas of railways and roads.
He said with government setting out an aspirational vision of a ‘Ghana Beyond Aid’, the UK is committed to helping Ghana achieve this as they build a modern strategic partnership to help the country harness private sector power 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 – further stating that these are 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.