The first Ghana -Zimbabwe Trade, Tourism and Investment Promotion Seminar opened in Accra yesterday to explore investment opportunities between the two countries. The seminar attended by a Zimbabwean delegation as well as other Ghanaian business executives would also look at incentives available for investors.
Ms Gifty Ohene Konadu, Deputy Minister for Trade and Industry in-charge of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) who opened the forum, said although Ghana and Zimbabwe enjoyed a cordial political relationship, trade relations between the two countries had not been encouraging.
She said the seminar would provide an opportune platform towards the strengthening of economic relations and offer the Zimbabwean delegation the opportunity for joint venture with Ghanaian businessmen.
She outlined economic policies and programmes put in place by Government to make Ghana the investment destination of choice in sub-Saharan Africa such as the Ghana Investment Promotion Act of 1994, the Petroleum Exploration and Production Law and the Free Zones Act of 1995.
“All theses together serve to provide predictability in the legal and regulatory environment for the development of businesses generally", she added.
Ms Ohene Konadu stated that Government recognised that trade was an important engine of growth and was seeking approved markets access to various international markets as a key strategy to diversify the export market.
She said the increasing competition in the international market required that investors acquired adequate knowledge of factors that contributed to successful business transactions, techniques of negotiations and preparation of profile for their businesses.
“We hope that the Ghana-Zimbabwe Business Forum will establish the appropriate network to boost the entry of goods and services into both markets", the Deputy Minister added.
Mr Phineas C. Chiota, Zimbabwean Deputy Minister for Industry and International Trade said his country was in the process of an economic transformation to enable investors to seize opportunities in the various sectors of the economy. “Our highly diversified economic activities thrived on highly developed physical and technical infrastructure, as well as a highly literate and skilled labour force ", he added.
According to Mr Chiota, the Zimbabwean economy, which was basically agro-based, had investment opportunities in key sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing, mining, tourism and infrastructure.
“Zimbabwe is also inviting investors in the development of infrastructure in the areas of water, transport, road construction, telecommunications, Energy and social services", he added.
Zimbabwean Ambassador Mrs Pavelyn Tendai Musaka said the Ghana -Zimbabwe Business Forum (GZBM), organisers of the seminar, registered as a company with limited liability to exchange experiences that would result in business deals for mutual benefit for both countries.
Nana Owusu Afari, First Vice President of the Association of Ghana Industries noted that intra-African trade had been very low accounting for only 11 per cent of trade relations in the ECOWAS sub-region. He said Ghana-Zimbabwe partnership would serve as a booster for intra African trade.
Ambassador Chris Kpodo, a member of the GZBM committee noted that realities of today's business environment required that countries partner with one another to harness economic growth. He encouraged more business entities to register with the association to promote the development and growth of the export sector.