GHANAIANS ASKED TO INVEST BACK HOME
7/27/2012 2:27:14 PM -
The Economy and the Business climate in Ghana, was the toast at the first Network Diaspora International Professionals Conference of Ghanaian Business leaders and Ghanaian Diaspora Professionals and Investors in the United Kingdom last Friday night, July 20, 2012 at the Park Plaza Riverbank Hotel in Vauxhall, London.
The conference was organised by Network For Diaspora Professionals Limited headed by Mr.Frank Anderson, under the auspices of the Ghana High Commission.
Opening the conference, His Excellency Professor Kwaku Danso-Boafo, Ghana's High Commissioner to the United Kingdom said, the government is committed to improving the business climate in the country, hence the introduction of legislations that has lessened the period of time required for business registration and also make the process more transparent for investors seeking to do business in Ghana.
He said the government is equally interested in the skills of Ghanaian professionals in the Diaspora that is why the High Commission has set up the Ghanaian Professional Skills Database to help tap the expertise of Ghanaian professionals interested in going back home to help in the development of the country.
Prof. Danso-Boafo was full of praise for Ghanaians in the Diaspora, who he said their contributions, in the form of remittance to family members back home helped boost the national economy.
As one of the fastest growing economies in the world, the High Commissioner said Ghana is ripe for investors and urged Ghanaians in the Diaspora to take advantage of the favourable business climate back home and invest in the various opportunities the discovery of oil is presenting to Ghanaians today.
Commenting on the national economy, he said the Ghanaian economy has endured the current Global economic turbulence mainly due to the prudent economic measures put in place by the government.
Ghana's economic performance in the last three years has improved significantly registering a GDP growth of 4.0 percent in 2009, 7.7 percent in 2010 and 14.4 percent in 2011 and is projected to grow at the rate of 9.4 percent by the end of this year, Prof. Danso-Boafo said.
He said, the country's fiscal deficit of 8.5 percent of the GDP in 2008, has been reduced to 2.0 percent at the end of December 2011 and 1.2 percent at the end of the first quarter of 2012.
Inflation has gone down from 18.1 percent at the end of 2008 to 8.60 percent by December 2011.
On the exchange rate of the Cedi, he said, the value of the cedi has been relatively stable over the last three years but has begun to experience depreciation due to factors among which is the rising volume of trade with China and business people's demand for foreign exchange.
The Chinese, he said, demand cash payment rather than LCs which spreads payments over a period of time, resulting in the pressure on the cedi.
Prof. Danso-Boafo said the government has embarked on a comprehensive infrastructure development to address the infrastructure deficit by improving on existing infrastructure and the construction of new ones such as roads and highways, railways, power generation facilities, schools, hospitals and improvement of the ports.
Mr. George Aboayge, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC), speaking on Ghana's business environment and the opportunities in Ghana explained to the audience how the government has amended legislation to make doing business in Ghana easy to attract investors, especially Ghanaians in the Diaspora seeking to do business back home.
The GIPC Chief Executive gave the audience a catalogue of businesses readily available in Ghana and said all an investor needs to do is to register with the Register Generals Department before coming to the GIPC, who will guide the investor through the initial processes to get his or her business started.
He cited the Housing sector and said Ghana currently has a deficit of about 1,000,000 houses, making the sector one of the areas the government is ready to assist any investor willing to invest.
The GIPC, Mr. Aboagye said, is not only meant for foreigner investors, but it is also for Ghanaians who are interested in investing in the country and assured the audience the doors of the GIPC were always open for them when they come back home.
Mr. Alhassan Andani, CEO of Stanbic Bank of Ghana, who also spoke at the conference and disabused the minds of Ghanaians that Banks in Ghana were hostile to the Ghanaian business community and explained that no bank would turn away a good business but the problem with Ghanaian businesses he said, is that they are high risk areas for Ghanaian Banks.
He said most Ghanaian businesses are sole proprietorship without any succession plan that would encourage the Banks to grant them loans; which means in most cases when the owner dies, that is the end of the enterprise.
Mr. Andani said Banks are interested in businesses with permanent structures for succession, that gives the Bank confidence to deal with the company knowing that the company is well structured. .
The President of the Association of Ghanaian Industries (AGI), Nana Owusu-Afari, lamented the sale of most of the Industries set up during the first Republic under the Convention Peoples Party (CPP) administration and said that has been the woes of the Ghana.
The AGI president said it was time the government gave way to the private sector and assisted them to build the country's industrial base to create jobs which the country badly need.
Nana Owusu-Afari said even though it was not easy starting a new business, he wants to invite Ghanaians in the Diaspora to come back home to invest in the country's economy.
Ghana's economy is growing very fast, that is why it is attracting investors from all over the world, he said and asked Ghanaians to take advantage of the current favourable business climate created by the government and come and invest back home. Ms. Dyane Epstein, Chief of Mission of the International Office for Migration also shared with the audience the work programmes of her office and encouraged Ghanaians to take advantage of it.
Ghana High Commission