Mr. Aboagye (middle), in a group photograph with the Ghanaian delegation and some Turkish businessmen
With only three months left for oil to flow in commercial quantity in Ghana, the boom is likely to coincide with the trooping in of investors from the Middle East and Europe, after a 20-member Ghanaian investment promotion team undertook a successful 16-day tour of the two regions, convincing many businesses who looked too ready to make brisk investments in Ghana.
The main reason for their coming is this: They have come to the realisation that Ghana is, undoubtedly, Africa’s golden gateway to a safe and stable investment destination. Obviously, this is due to the country’s political stability underpinned by a transparent democracy and respect for the rule of law which gives recognition and protection to private business and property.
Added to this is the fact that Ghana can boast of a stable and attractive macro-economic, abundant supply of skilled and trainable labour, labour at competitive cost, fast developing financial infrastructure and services, and competitive corporate tax rates.
Another attraction is the location of Ghana, which makes it easy to do business with the two regions as the presence of their major airlines – the Emirates and soon-to-fly- to-Ghana Turkish Airlines -- present easy travelling connections.
And above all, Ghana abounds in so many natural resources which required bigger economies to partner public or private entities to tap them to improve the lot of Ghanaians and, thereby, create jobs for the people.
The tour which took the Ghanaian delegation to the United Arab Emirates, Turkey and Iran was organised by the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) to sensitize businesses, in the three countries, on the investment opportunities in Ghana as a whole, and oil and gas services (including petrochemicals), energy, infrastructure, financial services, agriculture and agro-processing, industry and manufacturing, tourism, and information and communication technology sectors, in particular. Additionally, it was to explore business opportunities for Ghanaian entrepreneurs in those countries.
Led by Mr. George Kwame Aboagye, Chief Executive Officer of GIPC, the delegation comprised Mr. Ahmed Hassan, Ghana’s Ambassador to Iran, Alhaji Amadu Bukari Sorogho, M.P. for Abokobi/Madina and Chairman of Parliamentary Select Committee on Trade, Industry and Tourism (PSCTIT), Mr. Seth Adjei-Baah, M.P. for Nkawkaw and Vice President of Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GNCCI), Prof. Samuel Kwadwo Amoako, M.P. for Akim Abuakwa North, Mr. Albert Kwadwo Twum Boafo, Executive Secretary of Ghana Free Zones Board (GFZB), Mr. Kwadwo Owusu Agyeman, Chief Executive Officer of Ghana Export Promotion Council (GEPC), some officials from GIPC and GFZB as well as some members of GNCCI. Also included were some Ghanaian media personnel.
Activities undertaken during the mission were: meeting with the International Foodstuffs Company (IFFCO), a United Arab Emirates based international group which manufactures and markets a well-integrated range of mass-market food products, related derivatives, intermediates and services, at Shajah, Dubai; discussions with representatives of Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) in Dubai; and meeting with Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA) in Dubai.
Others were: investment seminar with the Confederation of Businessmen and Industrialists of Turkey (TUSKON) in Istanbul; visit to TUSKON member companies in Istanbul; tour of Progroup, a group of six Turkish construction companies, in Istanbul; working lunch with the Foreign Economic Relations Board of Turkey (DEIK), a member of the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB), in Istanbul; and meeting with Deva Max, chemicals, cosmetics, construction, mining and foreign trading firm, the mother company of Berrak Manufacturing Company (Ghana) Limited, in Istanbul.
The rest were: visit to Yakhsaran , an Iranian manufacturing company, in Tehran; meeting with Kowsar Economic Organisation, an Iranian non-governmental body, in Tehran; talks with Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Mines (ICCIM) in Tehran; meeting with the Organisation for Investment, Economic and Technical Assistance of Iran (OIETAI) in Tehran; tour of the factory premises of Behrouz Food Industries in Tehran; visit to Pakshoma Industrial Company, manufacturers of home appliances; and visit to Iran Steel Plants (ISP) Group in Tehran.
During the meeting with IFFCO top executives, the Ghanaian delegation was briefed on the activities of the company whilst presentations were also made by the GIPC, the GFZB, the PSCTIT and the GNCCI on Ghana’s investment potentials. At the DCCI, the Ghanaian team and the Dubai chamber discussed and answered all queries related to business and trade between Ghana and Dubai. The meeting with JAFZA saw the Ghanaian delegation explaining the role GFZB plays in creating safe enclave for investors. The team also talked about Ghana’s business potentials. The GIPC and the GFZB later mounted an exhibition to showcase various investment opportunities and procedures for doing business in Ghana.
With regards to the investment seminar at TUSKON, presentations were made by Mr. Aboagye, Mr. Boafo, Mr. Adjei-Baah and Ambassador Hassan. The seminar afforded members the opportunity to meet directly with potential investors to have one-on-one discussions on particular investment opportunities available to Turkish investors in Ghana. At Progroup, the leader of the Ghanaian delegation briefed the top executives of the company on how Progroup could come together with Ghanaian businesses to make big-time investment in Ghana’s construction sector. The working luncheon with DEIK saw the Ghanaians and their Turkish counterparts making presentations on investment opportunities and possible areas of collaboration between the two countries. The meeting between DEVA Max and the Ghanaian team centred on the performance of the company’s subsidiary Berrak located at Tema and other available business opportunities in Ghana.
At Yakhsaran, the delegation was briefed on how the company operates whilst Mr. Aboagye urged the company to go into joint-venture with Ghanaian investors to set up a refrigeration factory in Ghana. The meeting with Kowsar saw the Ghanaian delegation being briefed on the activities of Kowsar and how it can facilitate bilateral economic relations between Ghana and Iran. In response, Mr. Aboagye said there were about 200 projects for the private sector in Ghana and urged the Iranians to create a forum to work on it to expand its investment. During the talks with the ICCIM, the GIPC boss called on the chamber to encourage its members to intensify their investment drive in Ghana because it has a sound economy and stable political terrain, making it the safest investment destination in Africa.
At the OIETAI office, the Ghanaian delegation engaged their counterparts on issues bordering on trade, investment and other social development.
Mr. Aboagye later suggested the signing of an agreement between the two countries on technical assistance and cooperation to strengthen their bond of friendship. When the delegation met officials of Behrouz, after touring the company’s premises, at Korag about 40 kilometres from Tehran, the Iranians were urged to established a factory at the GFZB enclave to produce assorted canned food, so was Pakshoma told to build a washing machine factory at the enclave whilst ISP Group, which is into building construction, was encouraged to go into partnership with Ghanaians to build low-cost houses in Ghana.
Certain conclusions were made at various meetings with particular companies and institutions.
And apart from networking with the companies and potential investors in different sectors, some of the outcome of activities undertaken during this mission included:
• IFFCO shows interest in expanding its operations in Ghana to specialize in the production of food, beverage, personal care and cleaning products.
• DCCI ready to explore new areas of interest in Ghana for its trading community to consolidate Dubai’s long-term trade ties with Ghana.
• Progroup coming to Ghana. The group has already registered with the Registrar’s General Department and acquired a certificate to operate a construction business in Ghana under the name Proak.
• DEIK to encourage Turkish companies to market their competitive products or make investments in Ghana.
• Deva set to expand its subsidiary, Berrak Manufacturing Company (Ghana) Limited, located at GFZB enclave in Tema.
• Yakhsaran promises to come down to Ghana to study the market to see the possibility of establishing a refrigeration factory in the country.
• ICCIM and Kowsar show readiness to collaborate with Ghanaian businesses to pursue value-creating operations, higher sustainable returns and new business opportunities in Ghana to facilitate its economic growth.
• OIETAI signs MoU with GIPC to identify areas for cooperation between Ghana and Iran to enhance investment and technology flows.
• Behrouz promises to come to Ghana to do feasibility study on how it could market its canned food products.
• Pakshoma wants to study the Ghanaian market to determine whether it is feasible to set up a washing machine factory.
• ISP Group ready to undertake large-scale low-cost housing project in Ghana.
Many international organisations, including the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), have ranked Ghana as one of the favourable investment environment which enables businesses to flourish. Ghana has over the last two decades implemented effective economic reform programmes to stabilise its macro-economic environment. This has resulted in the current vibrant and stable economy with growth targets regularly achieved or exceeded in some areas.
Added to this is the political stability in the country supported by a transparent democracy and respect for the rule of law that gives recognition and protection to private property and private enterprise.
Therefore, what Ghana needs to do now is to increase its Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows through continuous aggressive investment promotion missions to the Middle East, Europe, USA, China and South Africa, among others, to achieve the country’s dream of becoming an economic giant in Africa in the near future.