The Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Robert Ahomka-Lindsay, has urged local businesses to build strong collaborations with industrious Indian firms to tap into their technical expertise, because it is necessary to drive industrial growth so as to take advantage of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
According to the Deputy Minister, Indians are major global players in the pharmaceutical, automobile, information communication technology and agriculture sectors, with many companies doing very well in the country; hence, business-to-business partnerships with locals would better position the country to thrive in the AfCFTA.
“If we look at the automobile industry, which we have now set up as one of our key opportunity areas, Africa spends more on vehicle importation than food. Last year alone, US$1.3billion worth of vehicles were imported into the country.
“However, India has a strong automobile industry that can be tapped into by Ghanaian firms, especially the vehicle component parts, to reduce importation of vehicles. These business-to-business partnerships we are discussing are to create wealth and not only alleviate poverty,” he said.
Mr. Ahomka-Lindsay, made these remarks in his address at the launch of India Business Forum’s (IBF) maiden edition. He reiterated that bilateral trade between the two countries increased by 48 percent over the past two years, but the focus must move from export of raw materials to manufacturing.
Speaking on behalf of the Minister for Business Development, Awal Mohammed, the Chief Director of the ministry, Alhaji Hafiz Adam, reiterated that India has made an impressive economic footprint in Ghana by creating many jobs for the youth.
He added that over 250,000 young talents graduate from tertiary schools every year, but government is able to employ only 2 percent of them – hence government is creating the enabling environment for private sector to thrive and employ these graduates, which foreign businesses and investors must take advantage of.
“We are urging that India businesses must endeavour to invest in manufacturing and processing our cocoa products, and turn other raw materials into finished goods in order to add value to our resources and create more jobs for the youth,” he said.
The Indian High Commissioner to Ghana, Sugandh Rajaram, indicated that the platform is for businesses to come together and discuss the issues facing progress of bilateral trade relations between the two countries. “We want to see that our businesses are better-informed about the parameters of policies initiated by the government of Ghana, because some of them have not been clearly transmitted to the business ecosystem. With this business forum, we hope to clear all nuisances associated with policies,” he said.
He further notified that the platform will also provide data on businesses to members for easy connectivity and interaction, adding that the Commission will facilitate, support and guide businesses to successfully execute their operations in the country.