Government is available at all times to support the private sector to become the engine of growth of the economy. Though supply chain constrains and other global challenges linger on, government believes in the private sector’s capacity to adapt to these difficulties and adopt innovative ways to continue operations for the benefit of all.
Government, for its, part remains resolute and committed to working with the private sector in Ghana as well as the global business community to pursue sound economic policies and craft actionable strategies to ensure that private businesses continue to thrive and contribute to the development of the country.
This was contained in her Keynote Address by Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, at the recent Ghana-Africa Business Awards Dinner.
Mad. Ayorkor Botchwey emphasised that while the COVID-19 era global recovery seems uncertain with severe disruptions to business activities, government is determined to make every effort in support of private businesses in order that they respond effectively to those challenges since their success is central to Ghana’s ability to deliver inclusive and sustainable economic growth, and chart a new course for economic development.
Turning to the vision of increasing intra-African trade and commerce, as well as industrialisation of the continent which led to the signing of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement by African leaders, the minister observed that though at its infancy, AfCFTA’s outlook continues to be positive, and has had a favourable impact on Ghanaian industry and that of the continent. As countries work to honour the primary commitment under the AfCFTA Agreement of removing tariffs on goods and services in the short and long term, she took the opportunity to, once again, encourage the Ghanaian business community to explore and pursue other effective ways to enhance their production capacities so as to take advantage of the many opportunities provided by the Free Trade Agreement.
The minister stated that the recent launching of the Pan-African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS), Africa’s first centralised system for processing, clearing and settling of intra-Africa trade payments, is a boost to trading under AfCFTA. The system would support cross-border retail payments within Africa and promote payments for intra-African transactions where payment can be made in a local currency and received in another local currency by the beneficiary, thus, making redundant the need to change forex. This simple, low-cost and risk-controlled payment, clearing and settlement system will also provide an alternative to the current high-cost and lengthy correspondent banking relationship; facilitate trade and other economic activities among African countries; make intra-Africa trade a catalyst for building industrial capabilities in Africa and intensify intra-African trade in manufactured goods.
For his part, the Chairman for the occasion, Bryan Acheampong, who is also the Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Foreign Affairs, stressed that the Parliament of Ghana will do everything within its power to ensure that through the AfCFTA, Ghana will be successful in deepening trade ties with other countries on the continent. In particular, parliament will demand timely and quarterly reports on the progress as well as challenges in the implementation of the agreement for remedial action to be taken.
He added that to ensure the success of the AfCFTA, Parliament will also work hand in hand with the Executive to create the appropriate incentive and regulatory framework that will attract investments from the private sector, both locally and internationally.
The Dean of the African Diplomatic Corps, Zagré Pingrenoma, who is the Ambassador of Burkina Faso and who spoke on behalf of his colleague African Heads of Mission, reiterated that without peace, security and stable institutions, the environment will not be conducive for economic and industrial growth.
He therefore commended the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, for successfully spearheading the affairs of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), one of the pillars of the African Union, and hoped that peace and stability will return to the entire West African region very soon.
Also gracing the occasion as the representative of AfCFTA were Mrs. Malaika Mene and Wamkele Mene, Secretary-General of AfCFTA.
According to Isaac Dakwa, Director of Top Brass Ghana, orgainsers of the awards, the Ghana-Africa Business Awards Scheme was instituted in 2004 under the auspices of the Ministry of Regional Co-operation and NEPAD and, subsequently, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration to commemorate Africa Day (25th May) and to honour enterprises which make outstanding contributions to Ghana’s development through the promotion of trade, investment and other economic relations between Ghana and sister African countries.
He noted that with the recent creation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), whose headquarters secretariat is located in Accra, the Ghana-Africa Business Awards Scheme, orgainsed under the theme: ‘Accelerating Ghana’s Economic Development through Increased Intra-African Trade and Investment’, has assumed a special significance and relevance.
The topmost Platinum Award was conferred on three companies which have been at the forefront of Ghana’s trade and investment relations with the rest of Africa, namely: ABSA Bank (Investment Promotion/Banking);
Golden Tulip Accra (Tourism Promotion/Hospitality) and MDS-Lancet Laboratories Ghana Limited (Investment Promotion, Healthcare/Medical Diagnostics).
The Gold Award Winners included: Broll Ghana Limited (Investment Promotion/Real Estate); Carmeuse Lime Products Ghana Limited (International Trade); D. T. Engineering Systems Limited (Free Zone Operations/Manufacturing); Dignity DTRT Limited (Investment Promotion/Manufacturing); Engen Ghana Limited (Investment Promotion/Energy); E-Process International S.A (Free Zone Operations/Banking Technology); Ghandour Cosmetics Limited (International Trade); and Gilsan Manufacturing Company Limited (Free Zone Operations/Manufacturing).
Other Gold Award Winners were Metropolitan Life Insurance Ghana Limited (Investment Promotion/ Insurance); One Rand Group Limited (Investment Promotion/Construction and Manufacturing); Oro Oil Ghana Limited (Free Zone Operations/Agro Processing); Promasidor Ghana Limited (International Trade); Servair Ghana Company Limited (Tourism Promotion/Airline Catering) and Sterling International Limited (International Trade).