As suspected, the UK has given indication that once it leaves the EU it will come up with a trade package that “looks really good for Ghana” and add to the existing Economic Partnership Agreement with the EU.
Its trade envoy to Ghana, Adam Afriyie, told the B&FT that: “What is going to happen is that we will simply reflect the terms of the EPA you already have, and then through our Business Council we will at a high level decide what else we can add to the trade package which will enhance the relationship”.
Speaking ahead of the first UK-Ghana Investment Summit that opens in Accra today, October 15, Mr. Afriyie noted that the UK is ready, willing and able to create a package that really works.
“No trade agreement is perfect, and with such an Africa-wide agreement it is tricky – but nevertheless, the opportunity with Britain lies not only in banking but a wider bigger package with the UK bilaterally. So, when we leave the European Union we will have a clear idea about what we can add to the agreement.
“My view of all trade agreements is that not a single party is completely happy, and there will be things about the EPA specific to Ghana which make them happy but make someone else unhappy. The point is it will never be perfect – and that is why it is something we want to build on once we are no longer a member of the European Union,” he added.
Ghana Beyond Aid
Mr. Afriyie lauded government on the campaign to move ‘Ghana Beyond Aid’, and pledged the UK’s support to achieve this goal. “We completely support the president’s position; and the reason is not about reducing the amount of resources that we use to support growth and development in Africa, but is about how we direct those resources.
“The best thing we can do is ensure that any support we give to Ghana will help stimulate the Ghanaian economy. It should be more about empowering Ghanaian citizens and private businesses to be able to acquire the skills and develop Ghana for themselves. That is where the real growth is going to come from.”
Mr. Afriyie said the summit will not be another talk-shop but an opportunity to match businesses and see UK businesses investing in Ghana and vice-versa. “It is not just about investment money, but bringing in expertise to partner properly with the Ghanaian businesses.
“This is not just about British businesses investing in Ghana, it is also about Ghanaian businesses potentially investing in the UK as well. Trade is about looking people in the eye and no one being a supplicant but everyone benefitting.”
With over 50 UK companies coming to Accra to discuss opportunities in Ghana with government and private sector partners, the summit is being organised collaboratively between the UK government, UK-Ghana Chamber of Commerce, Ministry of Trade and Industry and Ghana Investment Promotion Council.
Organisers say the summit will support high-level discussions on trade and investment to further nearly £1billion of trade and FDI opportunities currently under consideration in infrastructure, industrial and manufacturing sectors.
President Akufo-Addo will be the special guest of honour and is expected to deliver the keynote address at the summit. He will be joined by the UK’s Minister for Trade & Export Promotion, Baroness Fairhead.
Alongside the Investment Summit, the UK and Ghana have established a new biannual ministerial dialogue known as the UK-Ghana Business Council. It meets this week for the first time, and will be hosted by Vice-President Dr. Bawumia and the UK Minister for Africa, Harriett Baldwin.
It will set joint priorities and drive progress expected to create mutual prosperity and support economic development, job-creation, trade and investment. Going forward, it will be the vehicle for bringing the best of UK private sector offers, including leveraging finance from the City of London and attracting world-class UK expertise on infrastructure.