Ghana has joined other African countries to call for a clear policy on Africa by the United States of America (USA) to set the rules of engagement between businesses and governments on both continents.
“There is no need for a policy vacuum at this time”, the Trade and Industry Minister, Mr Alan Kyerematen said, adding that “such a policy will not only help US private sector players and other agencies to direct their resources and investments to support the policy but will also offer Ghana and Africa the opportunity to understand the context within which we can engage”.
Mr Kyerematen made the call in Washington on June 14 at the opening of the 11th biennial US-Africa Business Summit currently ongoing in the US capital. He shared the platform with other ministers from South Africa, Cape Verde among others who echoed similar sentiments.
The summit, which is being attended by high profile government officials including the Chief Executive Officers of the Ghana Investment Promotion Council, Mr Yofi Grant, Ghana Free Zones Board, Mr Michael Okyere, Baafi, Venture Capital Trust Fund, Mr Yaw Owusu-Brempong, Ghana Export Promotion Authority, Madam Gifty Klenam among many others from the private sector in Ghana, is meant to provide the perfect opportunity to facilitate US-Africa trade, investment and business relationships that is mutually beneficial to both America and African business leaders, companies and citizens.
This year’s summit, which attracted business from both continents, is on the theme; “The US Stake in Africa: A call for greater economic engagement”.
Mr Kyerematen said, “US policy on Africa has evolved over the years. Traditionally, it was anchored on aid through the USAID agency and more recently through the millennium challenge account and to trade through the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) legislation”.
He said it was time for the US to go beyond just the aid and trade and consider investments into Ghana and Africa, arguing that “without investment, you cannot produce and without producing, you cannot trade”.
He said the wait was over and the time for new policy was now because, “we all look forward to a strategic direction”.
With regard to Ghana, he mentioned the economic focus of the new administration which is expected to be private sector led and urged American investors to take advantage of the opportunities to invest in Ghana.
He mentioned the area of agriculture where efforts were being made to have products from the farm processed before they were exported rather than being shipped out in their raw form.
Opportunities in Africa
Earlier, the President of the African Development Bank, Mr Akinwumi Adesina, stressed the need for American investors to consider taking advantage of what he described as the enormous investment opportunities on the continent of Africa.
Using statistics to back his claim, he said the middle class of Africa was fast growing and noted that more countries on the continent were expected to be among the worlds fastest growing economies in the nearest future.
Mr Adesina said the population of the continent was also ballooning and would reach the size of India and China in the next few years, hence a market that is vast and profitable.
Open up to US investors
The US Commerce Secretary, Mr Wilbur Ross, asked Africans to open up their doors to American investors to do genuine business on the continent.
According to him, Americans are equipped with the requisite technology and investments needed to make a difference on the continent and urged openness to attract them.