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UK-GHANA BUSINESS FORUM 2024 ADDRESS BY H. E. DR. ALHAJI MAHAMUDU BAWUMIA READ BY H. E. PAPA OWUSU-ANKOMAH

The High Commissioner, H.E. Papa Owusu-Ankomah, together with officials of the Ghana High Commission, participated in the UK-Ghana Business Forum which took place on 24th June 2024 at the Landmark Hotel.

His Excellency the High Commissioner delivered the keynote address on behalf of H.E. Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, Vice President of the Republic, who was the Guest Speaker for the event.

Below is the address read on behalf of H.E. Dr. Alhaji Mahamudu Bawumia vice president of the Republic of Ghana by H.E. Papa Owusu-Ankomah

1. It is a great honor to be here today at the UK-Ghana Business Forum. I bring you greetings from H.E Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, Vice-President of the Republic of Ghana. On his behalf, I extend my gratitude to the AM Group and our strategic partners for organizing this important event, which highlights the longstanding and robust relationship between Ghana and the United Kingdom.


2. Since 1555, our nations have shared a close bond, strengthened over the centuries by significant historical events like Queen Elizabeth II’s visit to Ghana in 1961 and 1999, Kwame Nkrumah's pivotal role in the Commonwealth.


3. Today, Ghana shines as a beacon of political stability and economic progress. Our strategic location, favorable business environment, and abundant natural resources make Ghana an attractive destination for business and investment. Despite recent challenges, Ghana has shown remarkable economic resilience, achieving faster growth in recent quarters than projected by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).


4. At a recent IMF joint press conference on the outcome of the 2nd Review of the IMF-supported Post Covid-19 Programme for Economic Growth (PC-PEG), the Ministry of Finance highlighted that effective fiscal consolidation, revenue mobilization, expenditure rationalization, tight monetary policies, and structural reforms have led to relative macroeconomic stability and economic recovery in Ghana. It was noted that GDP growth exceeded expectations, reaching 2.9% at the end of 2023, surpassing both the original target of 1.5% and the revised target of 2.3%.

5. Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) remains a crucial driver in our quest to regain our position as one of Africa's fastest-growing economies. In this light, the UK-Ghana Business Forum serves as a unique platform for dialogue and collaboration between Ghanaian industry leaders and the global investor community, facilitating the identification of viable investment opportunities.
6. Ghana's attractiveness for UK investments is underscored by its hosting of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) secretariat, leading the world's largest free trade zone.

7. With tariffs eliminated on 90% of goods and access to a combined GDP exceeding $3.4 trillion, Ghana offers immediate entry to all ECOWAS markets and allows 100% foreign ownership. Supported by a judicial system based on English common law, Ghana boasts a burgeoning middle class projected to reach 3.1 million by 2025.

8. Additionally, as a burgeoning regional hub, Ghana presents opportunities in other West African markets and export-free zones exempt from customs duties, further enhancing its appeal for UK investments and collaborations.


9. With a thriving retail market expected to grow from $24 billion to $35 billion, Ghana's economy is diverse, excelling in gold, cocoa, and oil, and expanding in manufacturing and services. The country has a skilled workforce with high literacy rates and continuous reforms to enhance trade facilitation, including an official Trade Facilitation Enquiry Point, making it an attractive destination for UK investors seeking opportunities in a dynamic and growing market.

10. Ladies and Gentlemen, Ghana boasts an expanding stock market, well-developed financial and legal services, and comparatively advanced infrastructure. Our skilled and trainable labor force is ready to meet the demands of modern industry. Moreover, the UK's development objectives in Ghana are closely aligned with our own goals of economic diversification, high-quality health and education services, climate resilience, and democratic strengthening.

11. There is no gainsaying that the collaboration between Ghana and UK businesses is mutually beneficial. For UK businesses, investing in Ghana provides access to a growing market with significant opportunities across various sectors such as agriculture, energy, technology, and manufacturing. This expansion helps UK businesses diversify their markets, mitigate risks, and tap into new revenue streams.

12. For Ghana, collaboration brings in much-needed capital, technology, and expertise that can drive economic development and innovation. The infusion of UK investment can spur job creation, enhance productivity, and improve infrastructure. This symbiotic relationship does not only strengthen economic ties but also promotes cultural exchange and shared knowledge, contributing to the overall development of both Ghana and the UK.

 
13. It is also significant to note that the UK's and Ghana’s development objectives are closely aligned with the International Development Strategy, the Integrated Review, and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

14. The Ghana-UK Jobs and Economic Transformation (JET) programme exemplifies this alignment. The JET programme aims to position Ghana as a premier investment destination in West Africa. Focused on automotive, pharmaceuticals, and garments & textiles, it leverages partnerships with UK investors and the British International Investment (BII). These efforts resonate with ‘Global Britain’ objectives, emphasizing trade and economic prosperity, while also supporting the UK-Ghana Chamber in broader sustainable development and trade goals, including collaborative investment initiatives with China.

 
15. Other key programmes in Ghana, include Partnerships Beyond Aid (PBA) and Leave No One Behind (LNOB). These initiatives focus on policy reform, strengthening government systems, advocating for the extreme poor and disabled, economic diversification, and job creation.

16. Centrally managed programmes also play a significant role, including the Global Fund for HIV/AIDS, TB, and Malaria, the Ghana Education Outcome Project, the Blue Planet Fund, and Partnerships for Forests. These initiatives aim to improve health outcomes, enhance education quality, promote environmental sustainability, and foster economic growth.


17. Data from the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) reveals some interesting trends in UK investment in Ghana between 1994 and 2023. The data showcases a clear focus on Ghana's industrial development and infrastructure. The Manufacturing (MFG) sector stands out as the biggest recipient of UK investment, attracting over $5.1 billion. This highlights a strong British interest in bolstering Ghana's production capabilities.

18. Additionally, significant investments have been directed towards Mining ($406 million) and Building & Construction ($273 million) sectors, indicating that the UK recognizes Ghana's potential in resource extraction and infrastructure development.


19. While the Services sector has the highest number of projects (207), the total FDI amount is considerably lower compared to Manufacturing or Mining. This could suggest a preference for larger investments in core industrial sectors or a focus on smaller-scale service ventures.

20. Furthermore, the data presents a promising opportunity for growth in the Agriculture and Tourism sectors, with FDI currently at under $30 million and under $9 million, respectively. This indicates significant untapped potential. By addressing perceived risks and increasing awareness of the abundant opportunities in these sectors, we can attract more investment and drive substantial economic development.


21. The recently launched UK-Ghana Science, Technology, and Innovation (ST&I) Strategy sets clear objectives to enhance partnership quality and leverage ongoing initiatives, such as the Digital Transformation Agenda of the Vice-President. This strategic alignment marks a significant milestone in our bilateral relations, laying the foundation for a collaborative framework built on mutual respect, transparency, and shared knowledge.

22. The Vice-President has consistently emphasized my vision for a digital and cashless economy. He has been at the forefront of our nation's digital transformation, with the adoption of the National Identification Card (Ghana Card), the Digital Address System (Ghana Post GPS), and the Mobile Money Interoperability Platform (MMIP). Furthermore, initiatives such as the Universal QR Code Payment System (Gh QR), the ECG Power App (ECG Power), the Paperless Port System (PPS), and the E-Services Portal (Ghana.gov) have significantly modernized various sectors of the Ghanaian economy.

23. The Vice-President’s hope is to repeal the E-Levy tax to further encourage the use of digital payment systems, to promote a cashless society. This strategy aims to modernize the economy through technological advancements and digitization, making transactions easier and more efficient for both businesses and citizens.


24. As we embark on this journey together, we envision a future characterized by broader, more coordinated, and impactful cooperation in science, technology, research, and innovation. The UK-Ghana Business Forum serves as a testament to our shared commitment to fostering economic growth and development. Let us seize this opportunity to strengthen our partnership and work towards a prosperous future for Ghana and the UK.

Thank you.

God Bless Ghana! God bless the United Kingdom

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