The huge gap in the country’s energy supply, and government policies aimed at improving the sector took centre stage during the first Ghana Trade & Investment Forum initiated by the Italian government in Rome, Italy.
The forum held in Rome, as a prelude to the Green Economy Expo (ECOMONDO) in Rimini and the World Expo in 2015, attracted 250 Italian companies mainly in the renewable energy and waste management sectors, and 40 Ghanaian companies, Ministries Departments and Agencies.
The event was aimed at strengthening the bilateral relationship between Ghana and Italy.
The United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) office in Rome recommended World Trade Centre (WTC) Accra to also facilitate the organisation of private sector participants for the Ghana country presentation in Italy.
Togbe Afede XIV, Chairman of the World Trade Centre-Accra who was leader of the Ghanaian private sector delegation, sharing experience with the media in Accra, explained that the Ghanaian delegation presented the energy sector problem as an opportunity that the Italians businesses bought into it.
“For the energy sector it focused on renewable energy, wind, solar, waste to power, and they are keen to take advantage of the gap in the supply of energy and seize the government policy of increasing the contribution from the energy sector,” he said.
He said the country presentation’s objective is to showcase the country’s investment opportunities to Italian investors. “It was an opportunity to sell Ghana. They were keen in agriculture, construction, energy, real-estate, and across all the industrial sectors.
“Some of the Italians are ready to sign joint ventures with their Ghanaian business counterparts as early as possible.
“Most Italians were full of praise for Ghana as the best destination and most favourable investment destination for business to thrive,” he added.
Togbe Afede advised the Ghanaian private business leaders to prepare for doing international business.
“The private sector should ensure it understands international business relationships to help meet global standards.
“The private sector must go a step further, so when they go out to do business with their international counterparts they can meet the world standards.”
Mr. Akwasi Opong-Fosu, Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation observed that the investment forum was highly patronised by the Italian business community.
“We should as a country have positive thinking about the economy and focus on the country’s success story to attract the Italian business community.
“The country’s political and economic growth are favourable indicators; attracting major Italian businesses to come and invest in the country’s economy,” he said.
The delegation was received by the Ambassador of Ghana to Italy, Evelyn Anita Stokes-Hayford. There were presentations by Riccardo Maria Monti, President ICE-Italian Trade Promotion Agency; Laura Carpini, Ambassador of Italy to Ghana; Michele Valensise, Secretary General, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Republic of Italy; Roberto Binatti, General Directorate for sustainable Development, Climate and Energy, Italian Ministry for the Environment, Land and Sea.