Ghana, and much of the African continent, according to the CEO of the Ghana Investment Promotion Center (GIPC), Yofi Grant, is well positioned to attract Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) which are committed to social impact and sustainability, due to a number of crucial reforms that have improved its attractiveness and consequently negotiating power.
This, in his opinion, is in addition to the continent’s unique position as the ‘next big opportunity’ due to a favorable demographic distribution, the potential of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and an abundant supply of natural resources including arable land.
Speaking to the B&FT on the sidelines of the Sustainability and Social Investment Awards 2020, he addressed a few concerns surrounding how foreign direct investors conduct businesses in developing countries, which has oftentimes been described as exploitative, especially as Ghana has in 2020, seen a more than 400% growth in FDI year-on-year.
“Due to some reforms that have been implemented recently, we have become an even more attractive destination for foreign direct investment as well as foreign private investment. This has also put us in a stronger position to negotiate more favorable terms under which investors operate with the confines of our land.
But it is important to note as well, that many investors are taking the lead in proposing more ethical and sustainable ways of doing things and it is becoming increasingly obvious that we can have a win-win situation for everyone,” he said.
He added that the concept of United Nations’ (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) was not novel to the country as SDG 1, which is poverty eradication, has been the greatest need of the continent and we have been taking steps to address it, long before the goal became institutionalised. This, he noted, was evident when the government took the innovative approach of benchmarking the national budget and development agenda to the SDGs.
“In our budgetary process, all the metrics of development are tied into a scorecard where we score ourselves on the SDGs. The whole clarion call of the SDGs has never been delinked from our development agenda, whether it is more schools, hospitals, roads, railways, smart cities, or better portable drinking water,” he said.
Mr. Grant further stressed the need for more collaboration, as set forth in SDG 17, highlighting the usefulness of integrated financing between the public and private sectors to reduce the financing gap which has plagued the attainment of the Development Goals.
With an estimated global SDG funding gap of US$2.5 trillion, he stated that to fully achieve the SDGs in the country, there is the need to develop a robust financial assessment and stakeholder partnerships for sustainable development, as no country is going to be able to withstand the new world that is coming, we all have to do it together.
He further tasked businesses to adopt the triple bottom line framework of being socially, environmentally and financially responsible, indicating that this approach will be the standard for appraising the performance of businesses and even nations.
The 2020 edition of the SSI Awards saw several socially responsible and sustainable businesses duly recognized. The event which came off at the Kempinski hotel in Accra saw a congregation of deserving persons to fete, network, review the year in perspective and set the tone for the upcoming year.
This saw top-level performers from various multinational enterprises, NGOS, indigenous SMEs in the public and private sector rewarded for their display of rare tenacity of purpose in their commitment to driving impact, despite the disruptions of the pandemic on business operations, theirs included.
The award scheme, which is endorsed by the Ministry of Education (MoE), National Road Safety Commission among others, has received plaudits of highest-acclaim as it not only rewards the profitability but more importantly, the social impact of businesses institutions and persons, particularly in the localities where they operate.