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05.03.2007 General News

China’s growth has benefits for local businesses

By dailyEXPRESS

Managing Director & CEO of UBA Ghana Limited, Okonkwo Nnamdi has cautioned local industries and government against ignoring the huge opportunities currently offered by China, noting that, instead of being a threat, China's global penetration offers economies like Ghana big advantages that must be harnessed.

Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo says the Chinese penetration into Africa should not be seen as a threat but a challenge that Ghanaians and Africans must embrace.

Leading discussions at the 4th dailyEXPRESS BREAKFAST SERIES in Accra, Mr. Okonkwo said China has a foreign reserve of over one trillion dollars, which is more than that of the entire African continent, explaining that Ghana and Africa is not in a position to ignore such an economic powerhouse when it comes to business.

With participants which included government representatives, traders associations, manufacturers, bankers, economists, senior managers & students agreeing that China is not a threat to Ghanaian businesses, Mr. Okonkwo called for the harnessing of the country's resources in order to engage in favourable business with the Chinese.

“We should use what we have to get what we want” he said, adding that Ghana as a producer of first class cocoa preferred the world over, must move from the export of raw cocoa beans to China for chocolate production and rather enter into a partnership to produce quality Ghanaian chocolate with a global brand for the Chinese company.

He noted that the prevailing conditions in Ghana make it a preferred business destination. “It is amazing to see tourists, mostly foreigners with their bags in hand, walk freely on the Osu oxford street without having to look over their shoulders.”

The UBA boss, whose presentation brought out hard facts about China's potential, asked government to define the rules of engagement with the Chinese to ensure that the country derives the utmost benefit and not taken advantage off.

On the contribution of financial institutions, Mr. Okonkwo said as a matter of frank that “the reserve of a single bank is too low to finance a single industry and this is the more reason why mergers are important in this direction.”

Mr. Okonkwo said China's population of two billion people means out of every 7 people, 2 are Chinese, and that means they must work hard to feed their large population. Because of the high population, the Chinese produce far in excess of what they need. As such, there is a constant search for markets for these products and this is the main reason why it is penetrating developing economies in Africa like Ghana.

“Little wonder why they have advanced and are producing so much? The Americans and the Europeans are moving there because it is a powerhouse when it comes to labour and cheap labour as such.”

The 4th dailyEXPRESS BREAKFAST SERIES was sponsored by UBA Ghana. Managing Editor of the dailyEXPRESS Newspaper, Stanislav Xoese Dogbe thanked the bank for recognizing the benefits of the monthly breakfast discussion program.

Story by Shaibu Abubakar
(GIJ

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