Germany’s signature business event in Africa, where top business and government leaders from Germany and sub-Saharan Africa meet to discuss and promote economic relations, opened officially in Accra on Tuesday, February 12, with Vice-President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia as guest of honour.
Generally referred to as GABS, it is organised by the sub-Saharan African Initiative of German Business (SAFRI), chaired by Professor Dr. Heinz-Walter Groβe – who says sub-Saharan Africa is in a process of economic change and presents a huge chance for German businesses to invest in Africa.
Vice-President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia represented President Nana Akufo-Addo and observed that President Akufo-Addo’s avowed aimed of moving ‘Ghana beyond Aid’ is not mere rhetoric but a clear focus on trade and investment as economic enablers.
That is why in the past two years government has worked hard to restore macroeconomic stability, and passed laws putting in place institutions that will anchor macroeconomic stability. Government has passed the historic Fiscal Responsibility Act, and the Act establishes both the Fiscal Council and Financial Stability Council.
He said the fiscal council will advise the President on fiscal policy, and that Act ensures fiscal deficit cannot go below 5% of GDP. Bawumia expressed hope that German vocational training will be greatly utilised to provide the critical skilled labour force needed to build Ghana, as it lacks in infrastructure development.
The Vice-President assured German investors that it is government’s hope to transform the country’s economy in three years by digitising the economy to boost financial inclusion. He indicated that payment of services in the public sector is to be digitised by July this year, to enhance electronic payments and reduce human interaction as much as possible to eliminate corrupt acts.
The country’s mobile money interoperability infrastructure is poised to aid efficient electronic payments and gradually move away from physical cash payments where necessary, he stated. He cited numerous government flagship initiatives like the PFJ, 1D1F – which are designed to improve agricultural productivity while modernising it to provide raw materials to feed the industrialisation programme designed to have a factory in every district of the country.
The German Federal Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development, Dr. Gerd Muller, observed the reason why the 3rd German-African Business Summit was held in Accra is that Ghana currently has the highest growth rate in Africa- 8.5%, and its democracy is considered stable.
He emphasised the fact that Africa and Ghana need private sector investment, and that is why German businesses are looking for opportunities to invest and help Africa develop the continent. He however stressed that legal certainty is a requirement that investors look out for when seeking to invest in a country.
Muller also stated that about 50 German companies are expected in Ghana – and they intend to increase that number significantly within two years; and that is why Germany’s regional office will be opened in Accra. To this end, Ghana has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Federal Republic of Germany to establish the German-Ghanaian Business Council. Establishing this council will facilitate the exchange of information and views on economic cooperation, trade and investment. It will promote industrial cooperation on Small and Medium-scale enterprises and also collaborate on matters of mutual interest in respect of multilateral trade negotiations.
The Minister of Trade and Industry, Alan Kyerematen, signed a memorandum of understanding with the Federal Republic of Germany, represented by Mr. Thomas Bareib – Minister of Economy Affairs and Energy.