US investors must partner locals to explore gains from AfCFTA — US Ambassador

US investors must partner locals to explore gains from AfCFTA — US Ambassador

The United States Ambassador to Ghana, Stephanie Sullivan, has urged American investors seeking to do business in Africa to partner Ghanaian entrepreneurs to explore opportunities of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

According to her, the opportunities provided by implementation of the AfCFTA creates a borderless trading environment across the continent that can be harnessed by investors to develop Africa.

She noted that Ghana is strategically positioned to gain from the AfCFTA if local entrepreneurs will enter into fruitful partnerships to reach other countries on the continent.

“The opportunities are ripe for the AfCFTA. The AfCFTA is a game-changer and Ghana is well-positioned to capitalise on gains of the AfCFTA. If the opportunity is not taken, it goes away,” she said.

Ambassador Sullivan was speaking on a virtual forum organised by the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) Ghana, on the theme ‘Promoting US-Ghana Partnership through Trade and Investment’.

She disclosed that despite the negative impact of COVID-19 on various economies across the world, there are still some American companies that have expressed interest in expanding to Ghana and helping them reach the entire continent through AfCFTA .

“The first time I heard of Ghana as the gateway to Africa was when President Bill Clinton visited Ghana in 1998. For American companies who may be new to Ghana, I say to you ‘don’t let this opportunity pass’,” she said.

Outlining some areas that have received American investors in recent times, Ambassador Sullivan stated that American businesses have expressed interest in agro-processing, aviation and food processing, among others.

She stated that the size of market provided by AfCFTA is a good opportunity for Ghanaians to look into sectors that provide leverage for economic growth through partnerships.

US-Ghana trade in 2020

Even though trading activities across countries saw a slowdown in 2020 due to COVID-19, Ambassador Sullivan announced that trading between Ghana and the US recorded some good results.

She stated, for example, that Ghana was able to export goods worth US$136million to the US, with many Ghanaian businesses expanding their operations to America.

In addition, she mentioned that the US government granted duty-free status to some 6,500 goods that were exported to the country.

“There are over a hundred US firms operating in Ghana now. Twitter recently announced that it will open its West African headquarters in Ghana.  American cosmetic producers and food operators also opened in Ghana despite the pandemic in 2020. In May this year, United Airlines also reopened a direct route from Washington to Accra,” she said.

Purpose of the virtual forum

On his part, the Executive Secretary of AmCham, Simon Madjie, explained that the forum is aimed at strengthening trade and investment, promoting business partnerships and opportunities between the US. and Ghana, as well as a review of trading under the AfCFTA.

“At the end of the conference, it is expected that US-Ghana commercial partnerships will be projected and enhanced, focused on improving the investment climate in Ghana and the African continent,” he said.

The Forum was organised by the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) Ghana and US Chamber of Commerce, with the Ghana Embassy in Washington DC, the US Commercial Service, Ghana Investment Promotion Centre and the Ghana-Houston Chamber of Commerce as partners.

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