The Deputy Trade and Industry Minister, Michael Okyere Baafi, says for Ghana to become a major force and player in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA), there’s a need for major investments in the country’s Information Communication Technology (ICT) sector.
Speaking at the 2022 India-Africa ICT Expo opening in Accra on Wednesday, September 14, 2022, he said given the accelerated pace of technological advancements, Ghana needs to embark on massive infrastructural development in the area of ICT in order to become a dominant player in the continental free trade area.
“The Africa Continental Free Trade Area has come to stay. I say that it’s an opportunity for Africans to explore Africa very well and exploit ourselves, making sure we have benefitted from all the gains in the African Continental Free Trade Area,” the deputy trade and industry minister said.
He further stated that Ghana has a robust strategic policy regime to dominate the African ICT market, and it is doing everything possible to attract investments in that area.
“That’s how come Ghana is working hard with India to be able to get a lot of Indian companies in the area of technological development and ICT infrastructure to set up in Ghana,” Mr. Okyere Baafi stated, adding, “there exists skills and startups that can be incubated for prosperous partnerships.”
Touching on the expo and India-Ghana relationship, he said collaborations between the two countries have been very cordial and breathe common purpose toward mutual development – leading to increased investments between the two nations.
“Over the past decade, we have seen the growth of Indian-based investors in Ghana. Ghana has benefitted a lot from Indian investment. The Ghanaian populace is grateful for this support, and it is worth mentioning that in the past 25 years Ghanaian exports to India have increased at an annualised rate of 17.2 percent while the exports of India to Ghana have increased at an annualised rate of 14.2 percent,” he said, giving evidence of the great collaboration between the two nations.
The Indian High Commissioner to Ghana, Sugandh Rajaram, said India-Ghana relations have traditionally been warm and friendly, resting on a solid foundation anchored in shared values and a common vision; and the exchange of business delegations in recent years has led to an increase of investments by Indian companies in Ghana.
India is among the top-five trading partners of Ghana and is the largest destination for Ghanaian exports. India’s major exports to Ghana include pharmaceuticals, agricultural machinery, transport vehicles, electrical equipment, plastics, iron & steel, ethyl alcohol, beverages & spirits, cereals and made-up textiles etc.
Emphasising the enormous synergies and possibilities for cooperation and partnerships between India and Ghana, Mr. Rajaram called for the creation of necessary ecosystems for Indian and Ghanaian ICT entrepreneurs to ramp up their engagements for the two nations’ benefit.
According to him, technology and digitalisation are key aspects of both countries’ industrialisation agenda, hence the need for more bespoke collaboration that drives efforts to make Ghana Africa’s ICT hub and a major player in AFCFTA.
He said there’s huge emphasis to see India and Ghana move beyond trading products and services, and also ensure that the skills and technologies available in India are brought and integrated within the Ghanaian ICT ecosystem.
The Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA), Samuel Dentu, said the Ghanaian technology space as a sector has enormous export potential that deserves attention from policymakers and the value chain actors.
It is against this backdrop that the authority is working with many tech hubs across the country to fashion-out avenues for up-scaling, with particular emphasis on export readiness, he stated.
“The open nature of the ICT sector has been a catalyst for massive growth of the country, with players of various sizes participating in it.”
The India Africa ICT Expo – with conference, exhibition pavilions, business meetings and strategies – aims to promote eco-systems of digital transformation, and forever change the traditional way of seeing things and doing business.