The Trade Minister, Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen, has called on Ghanaians living in China, mostly graduates and professionals, to identify investors who they can collaborate with to establish businesses in Ghana as government positions the economy to attract more investments.
After a period of challenging economic conditions, the country’s economy has recovered. In 2017 the country’s economy grew by 8.5 percent as against a 6.3 percent target, largely anchored on an increase in oil production volumes.
In monetary terms the country’s economy (including oil), when adjusted to inflation, grew by some GH₵56.3billion compared to Q4 of 2016 when it grew by GH₵47.3billion.
To encourage Ghanaians in the diaspora to contribute their quota to national development, the Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo administration has set up an office at the seat of government called the Diaspora Liaison Office, with the mandate to scout Ghanaian talent everywhere and populate a database of their areas of specialisation.
Speaking to the Ghanaian community in Beijing, China, Mr. Kyerematen told the young talents: “You have an advantage; China is already industrialised and it is a manufacturing hub. So, you can identify partners and collaborate with them and come back to Ghana and invest”.
He said the most critical challenge facing Ghana is job creation, and as a result it is government’s priority to address this comprehensively in it vision of ‘Ghana Beyond Aid’.
He said: “The ‘Ghana Beyond Aid’ agenda is essentially to develop a new Ghana that is self-reliant and self-sustaining, because it is only when we achieve this that we can say we are moving beyond aid”.
He said since agriculture remains the backbone of the country’s economy, government has introduced a very comprehensive programme called ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’.
“As part of this programme, we are supplying fertiliser to over 2000,000 farmers at subsidised rates. The reason we are doing this is that we realised that in Ghana a little below 11 percent actually use fertilizer, and if you compare this to others countries you actually cannot achieve the needed agricultural productivity,” he said.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre, Mr. Yofi Grant, said all the macroeconomic indicators are positive and this has created an attractive business environment.
“Our focus as a government is to make Ghana the best place to do business in Africa, and you are the bridge between Ghana and China. As you engage the Chinese, you need to learn their culture, skills and talent. Don’t just come here (China) and be a student; come back to Ghana with partners to invest in the various sectors of the economy,” Mr. Grant said.
Renowned preacher and founder of the International Central Gospel Church, Mensa Otabil who had a similar encounter with some students and professionals in China, also urged them to return to support national development.
He charged them to be the generation that brings about development of the country by bringing back their skills and expertise to support national development.
Many Ghanaians students – some of which were offered scholarships by the Chinese government to further their studies as a result of the cooperation between China and Ghana, and others who were sponsored by the Scholarship Secretariat of Ghana – have found comfort in China after graduation and are sceptical about their returning and contributing to national development.
Most of the graduates offer English lessons to Chinese nationals to earn a living while others do their private businesses.
Speaking on the theme ‘The role of Diasporas in National Development’ in Beijing, organised by the Ghanaian Community, Pastor Otabil said Ghanaians by their nature are travelers – which he described as something that the founding fathers of the nation also did, but they returned to help in building the nation to where it is today.
He cited the likes of Tetteh Quarshie, who brought cocoa from Fernando Po to Ghana to grow – a visionary act that has made Ghana a global leader in cocoa production; and Dr. Kwagyir Aggrey, who after years of education in the diaspora brought the modern concept of education into the Ghanaian system.
Pastor Otabil used these inspirational Ghanaian legends to charge the young professionals and students in the diaspora to see the need to come home and help build a prosperous nation for all.
He said as Ghanaians living in China, a country that has now become a global force, there are many things they can learn from the world’s most populous yet industrialised country which will enable them to also contribute their quota in Ghana’s development.