President John Dramani Mahama on Thursday urged the international investor community to partner the government to accelerate Ghana’s infrastructural development.
He mentioned Transportation, Housing, Ports and Harbours and Telecommunications, as the major areas of co-operation for which government was seeking investors, to move Ghana into a full-fledged middle income economy.
President Mahama made the call when he addressed the opening session of the Ghana-UK investment and Trade Forum in London, as part of his four-day official visit to the United Kingdom.
The programme brought together over 500 business representatives from the United Kingdom, Ghana and other countries in Europe.
President Mahama said although the country experienced some macro-economic challenges, the opportunities in investing in Ghana were still high, taking into account the political stability, peace, good governance and the rule of law.
He mentioned Agriculture, Energy and Gas and Oil, as the other available areas that could receive a boost in investment, as Ghana was on the verge of moving away from the perennial exportation of raw materials to other countries.
“As part of our economic transformation, we are now placing high premium on the processing of our primary goods into finished ones, that will attract better prices and income to the country than its current state.”
He explained that the macro-economic challenges the country was experiencing, was due to the fall in prices of cocoa and gold that had over the years being the mainstay of Ghana’s economy on the international market, and the rise in wage bills from three million to nine million Ghana Cedis three years ago.
President Mahama said the engagement of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was to help government in the transformation structure of the economy, to avoid the perennial challenges anytime there was a fall in the prices of cocoa and gold.
On the West African sub-region, President Mahama said efforts were underway to integrate the entire area, and ‘we have already began agreements on common external tariff system, where we can now have a market share of 370 million without hindrance.”
He said the outbreak of the Ebola disease had been considered as the disease of the world, so long as citizens of those countries would continue to interact with other countries throughout the world.
The President said, although the sub-region was doing everything possible to reverse the trend,there was the need for other partners to support the cause, as it would open up more markets for investors in other parts of the country.
Mr Seth Terkper, Minister of Finance, said the engagement of IMF was fruitful, since it would empower the Ghanaian economy to expand its economic investment, and appealed to the business community not to lose hope, as the economy would soon grow stronger.
He said, in spite of the fluctuations in prices of cocoa and gold on the international market, government would invest in production that would add value to the primary goods to avoid losses in the event of price falls.
Dr Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, Minister fr Trade and Industry, expressed the hope that Ghana’s position in the agro- processing sector could become a boost to the Ghanaian economy, irrespective of the continuous fall in prices of gold and cocoa.
He said government would facilitate the activities of investors in Ghana, and called on those interested in investing in the country to forward their proposals for government’s attention.
Mr Fiifi Kwetey, Minister of Food and Agriculture, said Ghana is the next place to invest in Agriculture as the arable lands in Europe and other continents were becoming saturated.
He particularly mentioned rice cultivation and vegetable production as some of the agricultural opportunities in Ghana.