Renaissance of Keta

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The Keta District, situated within the scenic Volta province, has the potential to become a contemporary industrial port city, a tourism hub and a commercial centre for offshore financial services. The gradual and steady progression of the district has attracted the interest of citizens within the Republic of Ghana, Africa and beyond.

Tourists have been seduced by the blissful environment and fascinating ancient traditions that animate the district. There is a profoundly intimate reverence residents express for nature that is captured by the serene clear blue seas and clean idyllic beaches. The Keta district does not just offer unexploited wealth; it offers peace of mind. And that’s why potential investors and local-based budding entrepreneurs, with a sophisticated appetite for risk, seek to leverage the opportunities of its untapped domestic economy.

Pro-business reforms

An unintended consequence of Ghana’s post-coronavirus economy has been a surge in the number of start-ups being established. There are two reasons for this:  firstly, to tailor solutions for the new needs of individuals and businesses. And, secondly, laid-off workers have decided to set up new ventures. The Keta district’s fairly well-educated workforce tends to face towards Accra — but most recently there has been an exodus of the professional classes from the capital city back home.

Today, there are many job-hopping millennial graduates in need of employment or capital to establish a business. The Keta Municipal Assembly, in cooperation with financial institutions, has a duty to identify and evaluate feasible industrial projects for the district and assist in the development of existing enterprises.

The reputable Keta-based branch of the Anlo Rural Bank, as a classic example, desperately needs a venture capital fund that would offer a diverse collection of investment options themed on agribusiness, tourism infrastructure, education and fintech – this is the engine that will get the district on the move again. But for Keta to be a domicile of funds, high net worth individuals need to be assured that such institutions have the administrative competence and business acumen to make the right decisions.

This is why I co-founded Voltacoast Investments: to offer corporate services and investment opportunities to small and medium-sized enterprises within the Keta district. Our short-term flagship project is to erect a symbolic edifice and architectural showpiece – The Startup Tower – to headquarter pace-setting Ghanaian-owned enterprises and influential firms vital to the sustained growth of the district.

Business registration for residents and Ghanaian-owned enterprises within the district should be fee-free. Government should also completely free residents and enterprises from the burden of personal income tax. Ghana ranks 118 on the World Bank’s ease of doing business list, compared to Rwanda at 38 – we need catch up and then sprint ahead of the curve. This is a chance to vault up the ladder of business-friendly Republics.

Voltacoast Investments seeks to be a catalyst for a wide middle-class business and professional community passionate about the development of Keta’s informal market. The long-term vision is to create an ecosystem that upgrades the methods of production within the district; there’s an urgent need to dissociate from the backward approach to agribusiness — we must phase out handicraft tools and transition to machine production as the first step towards a radical push for technological advancement.

It’s regrettably primitive that in 2021, agribusinesses depend on the physical prowess of employees to set the instruments of labour in motion. We need modern factories so we can exploit the resources of the land and link millions of potential consumers in Africa to products manufactured in towns like Anyako.

We need to also scale up apprenticeships, training schemes and hiring subsidies for the low-skilled unemployed youth. The digital economy is the future and we’re too far behind. Start-up tech-oriented firms can seize the chance to provide solutions for local businesses, academic institutions and households. Telecommunication firms must improve access to affordable data and efficient internet services in districts like Keta — this is a prerequisite for modernisation.

Lomé, capital city of the Republic of Togo, is a stone-throw away from the Keta District. This makes the district a prospective location for multinationals to base their operations – it provides access to two separate administrative capitals: Accra and Lomé. The good fortune of its geographical position can be enhanced by high-quality infrastructure. Land is scarce within the district — and that means eco-friendly residential properties, co-workspaces, beach resorts and commercial skyscrapers must be a central part of city planning, as well other urban archetypes such as multistorey parking garages.

The most complex socioeconomic and political task of the twenty-first century for the Ghanaian political architect is to integrate the proletariat estranged from humanity — those economically, politically and culturally alienated. I believe Keta needs a financially secure middle-class where the average Ghanaian worker can earn enough income to provide for their families, afford to purchase a decent home and retire in dignity.

>>>The writer is an entrepreneur and co-founder of Voltacoast Investments and Voltacoast Natural Resources. He is also the Chief Executive Officer at D. K. T. Djokoto & Co. He is an alumnus of the Hillary Rodham Clinton Law School, Swansea University, where he obtained a Bachelor of Laws — and also an alumnus of City Law School, University of London where he trained to be a Solicitor. Email address: [email protected]

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