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01.11.2008 Business & Finance

US$4 billion to be pumped to develop integrated aluminium industry

By gna

Ghana's dream since the First Republic of developing an integrated aluminium industry is soon to become reality with a US$4 billion investment by Brazil and Norway.

President John Agyekum Kufuor, who dropped the hint, said discussions were far advanced between the two countries towards the project, which would employ about 4,000 Ghanaians.

It has built-in plans for generation of 4,000 megawatts of power half of which would be put into the West Africa Power Pool as well as a railway line.

Additionally, Brazil is coming in with a US$500 million concessionary loan to construct mini-dams on some selected rivers including Oti, Pra and Ankobra.

President Kufuor, who was addressing the opening of the Eighth Ghana Investors' Advisory Council (GIAC) meeting on Friday at Akosombo in the Eastern Region, said he was confident Parliament would appreciate the great potential of the projects and give its full backing.

The GIAC, made up of global Corporate Executives, captains of industry, commerce and finance in the country, has for the last six years served as think-tank for the Government.

Through its dialogue mechanism, the pulse of the investor community is taken and related to measures that could be introduced by Government to further enhance the climate of doing business.

The two-day meeting is designed to provide the platform to enable sector ministers to provide an update on progress made on decisions taken at their last meeting, hear their views on them and take a look at other issues of concern.

President Kufuor conveyed his appreciation to them for their invaluable suggestions, insights and ideas on best practices that had informed many of the Government's successful policies.

He acknowledged that the challenges that confronted the nation during the past years had been daunting but with courage, and drawing on the experience, knowledge and support of the business leaders, the Government was able to carry the nation along to achieve outstanding successes within the socio-economy.

"Now the climate for doing business has improved tremendously. The World Bank classifies Ghana as the best place to do business in West Africa, and for the past three years, one of the fastest reforming economies."

President Kufuor outlined the significant economic achievements recorded by the country against the backdrop of increasing crude oil price and said but for the discipline and prudent management, the entire economy would have been dislocated.

He said the Government was keeping a watchful eye on the unfolding global financial crisis in order to anticipate and forestall any danger to the economy.

Mr Ishac Diwan, representative of the World Bank, said with global economic recession in the air, the vulnerabilities of developing countries were really higher.

He promised that the Bank was ready to give every support to Ghana to manage a "soft landing of new shocks" so that, "this bad moment passes without scars for the future."

Mr Diwan encouraged the country to press on with its infrastructure development to enhance its competitiveness and become well positioned to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

The Minister of Industry, Private Sector Development and PSI, Papa Owusu-Ankomah, said the GIAC was truly a legacy that "speaks volumes of the Kufuor Administration's abiding commitment to partner with the private sector in charting the country's path to accelerated growth and poverty reduction".