Free Zone Enterprises have contributed over $27 billion to the economy – CEO of GFZA reveals

By Beyonce Diamond Kpogli II Contributor
Economy & Investments Free Zone Enterprises have contributed over 27 billion to the economy – CEO of GFZA reveals
DEC 9, 2022 LISTEN

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Ghana Free Zones Authority (GFZA) Amb. Micheal Oquaye Jnr has indicated that free zone enterprises have made export earnings of over US$27 billion employing about 33,000 people directly with over 31,000 being Ghanaians.

This impressive achievement he said has contributed to the development of the Ghanaian economy.

He made this comprehension at a forum in Accra. The Forum is being held as part of the Ghana Free Zones Investment Week celebrations which commenced on the 5th of December and will end on the 9th of December 2022 under the theme “GFZA: Championing Export-led Industrial growth in the context of AfCFTA and world trade”.

Speaking on the Export-led Industrialisation in the context of Africa under AfCFTA and to the rest of the world. Amb. Micheal Oquaye Jnr said this scheme is primarily set up, to drive the country’s growth, shore up our foreign currency deposits and create jobs.

"We need to drive our own business cars and fly our own business jets all over Africa and therefore the AfCFTA is our only solution for self-reliance in Africa. The time to walk the talk is now and the GFZA is ready to take this charge in tandem with AfCFTA Secretariat and MOTI.

"I have just returned from a meeting of the Africa Economic Zone Organization (AEZO), held in Abuja, Nigeria. The focus of the meeting was on the theme “Economic resilience, green growth and industrial transformation”. Sustainability is becoming a topical issue and the SEZs have been identified to be the model and a starting point for the rest of the continent. There was no doubt that there is intense competition among developing countries to attract regional value chain (RVC) and Global Value Chain (GVC)-linked investment, using various policy tools of which the SEZ is considered the most powerful," he stated.


He explained that, firstly, all must leapfrog the rest of the world and make all Special Economic Zone (SEZ) green. "With no carbon footprints like in India or China etc., we must invest more in recycled waste and water, eco-friendly buildings as well as solar energy among other renewable energy options."

He continued, "As a way forward, green development will be a priority in developing new free zone enclaves, under the Ghana Free Zones Agency in charge of SEZ’s.

"SEZs are the future Garages and Hangers where we will park our business cars and planes, pertaining to Industry and Service to Africa and the World."

He seized the opportunity to commend the free zone enterprises for their tremendous contribution towards the development of the Ghanaian economy

The Minister for Trade and Industry Hon. Alan Kojo Kyerematen speaking as the keynote speaker charged the Ghana Free Zones Authority and all stakeholders to map out a strategy to ensure the recommendations are implemented to enable Ghana to benefit from opportunities offered under the SEZs.

He said there is a need to promote exports as a nation now more than ever. "As a country and a growing economy, we must be able to produce our basic needs, as well as have the abundance to promote exports for foreign exchange. This is the key objective of the government's initiatives such as the One District One Factory (1D1F)."

Access to electricity is key to industrialization, he noted that the Ministry of Energy will connect an additional 400 towns under the SHEP-4, SHEP-5 and Turnkey Projects in 2023. This, he said will go a long way to support businesses such as the single factory-free zones enterprises located all over the country to have access to reliable energy to produce more for export.

On her part, Hon Oboshie Sai Cofie, the presidential advisor on media and strategic communications, said the new trend in SEZ development is green special economic zones due to climate change issues. She noted that global warming issues are of major concern to the government because they pose a threat to the economies of climate-vulnerable countries such as Ghana.

She said the government is also pursuing opportunities that ensure that full advantage is taken of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement as part of efforts to pursue an export-led economic recovery focused on value chain development.

According to her, it is important for Ghana to become a key part of the regional and continental value chains, not only to survive but also, to make significant strides in the current world economic situation.

The Investment Week celebration is expected to be held annually to showcase the achievements of the Free Zones Programme.