The Regional Director for Enterprise Singapore (Enterprise SG) West Africa, Jean Ng, has said her outfit remains resolute in its quest to strengthen ties between Singapore and Ghana.
She said Enterprise SG is looking forward to matching Ghanaian start-ups with the right Singapore partners, while providing advisory services to companies interested in expanding into Singapore and Southeast Asian markets.
The agency, she explains, helps Singaporean companies keen to establish a presence in West Africa find suitable partners.
Singapore’s foreign direct investments into Africa rose from US$21.1billion to US$23.7billion between 2019 and 2021; and according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the country has been among the top-10 investor economies in Africa as measured by foreign direct investment stock since 2015.
Enterprise Singapore’s aim is to drive enterprise transformation and growth while strengthening Singapore’s position as a global hub for innovation and startups, among other things, Ms. Ng said.
She made these observation during the Africa-Singapore Business Forum 2023 zoom meeting held in Accra under the theme Enhancing Africa and Singapore economic collaboration.
Reaffirming her country’s commitment to climate solutions and sustainability, she noted that Singapore-based AJA Climate Solutions together with the GenZero investment platform will be investing US$20million to US$30million into restoring about 100,000 hectares of degraded land at Kwahu in the Eastern Region of Ghana.
She added that the funds will be deployed progressively across the project’s two stages – with the first phase set to start in the last quarter of 2023 and the second phase in 2027.
With respect to food manufacturing, she noted Singapore’s leading manufacturer of frozen foods, Tee Yih Jia, secured a distribution partnership at the end of 2020 with Panific Ghana to supply frozen spring-roll skins, spring-rolls and samosas for key supermarket chains under its Spring Home brand – and added that concerning trade SMJ Holdings, Singapore carpet specialists serving both commercial and industrial sectors, in 2019, entered into a partnership with Ghanaian company Hollocome Prime for the distribution of its carpet tiles in Ghana.
Regarding trade and export, she stated that Olam International Ltd. – Singapore company leading in cashew export through its subsidiary based in Ghana, Olam Ghana – has also been exporting cocoa, coffee, cotton and shea nuts; further saying, the company has a wheat flour mill in Tema and operates a tomato paste processing and canning facility. In 2017, Olam opened a US$18million biscuit factory in Tema, she added.
Also, she noted that Wilmar Africa – a subsidiary of Singapore’s Wilmar International, an agribusiness company in Ghana – is currently the largest producer and marketer of edible oils and rice in Ghana.
On the diplomatic front, she said that the Bank of Ghana (BoG) and Monetary Authority of Singapore in December 2020 commenced discussions to adopt the Business san Borders (BSB) open hub of platforms between Singapore and Ghana; aimed at benefitting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and MSMEs in both countries by expanding their connectivity with counterpart economies while introducing innovative financial technology (fintech) and digital tools to help them complete business needs.
Citing reciprocity and mutual respect as principles underpinning the relationship between Singapore and Ghana, she said the two countries have over the years reciprocated each other’s visits as means of strengthening the ties between them.
To this end, she said, then-High Commissioner of Ghana to Singapore, Frank Okyere, visited Singapore in March 2019 to present his credentials to President Halimah Yacob – a gesture reciprocated by then-Senior Minister of Singapore, Tharman Shanmugaratnam, who visited Ghana in November the same year together with the country’s business delegation, among others.
Additionally, she noted that Minister of Finance Ken Ofori-Atta led a delegation to Singapore on behalf of President Nana Akufo-Addo in February 2018 with the aim of deepening economic ties in environment, hospitality, Fintech among others. And the same year in January, the country’s Petroleum Hub Task Force – aiming to develop Ghana into a petroleum hub for West Africa, visited Singapore to seek better understanding of its policies in this area.
In response to that, Singapore’s Senior Parliamentary Secretary of Trade and Industry at the time, Tan Wu Meng, visited Ghana to foster trade relations – to mention a few according to her.
Enterprise Singapore is the Singapore government agency championing enterprise development and supporting the country’s growth as a hub for global trading and start-ups. In 2013, the agency established its overseas centre in Ghana to support business development efforts in the West African region for Singapore and African enterprises.
The agency is also a leading global trading hub with a complete ecosystem for the energy, agri-commodities and metals and minerals trading clusters, as well as home to many global enterprises, start-ups and investors that operate in Singapore’s robust pro-enterprise environment.