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02.10.2008 Business & Finance

Kumasi open for business

By The Statesman

A conference on Ghana's economic future and particularly that of Kumasi, the Ashanti regional capital has been held at Columbia University in New York City.

The Millennium Cities Initiative, under the guidance of Prof. Jeffrey Sachs spared no effort in launching Kumasi Investment Day - North America. In an intimate session that was all business and that saw a combination of Ghanaians, Americans, Europeans and Asians, speaker after speaker shared the many opportunities that abound in the Kumasi area. With 97% of foreign investments going to the Accra metropolitan area, values are ripe for the picking in Kumasi.

Akenten Appiah Menka, Chairman of the Kumasi Development Foundation challenged Ghanaians to step forward and explore more business initiatives back home rather than political positions.

Ghana's Ambassador to the US, Kwame Bawuah Edusei listed at least eight areas where prospective investors might consider -food processing, ICT, petrochemicals, mines, cocoa, commercial real estate and infrastructure.

Samuel Owusu Akyaw, President and CEO of Osteopath, provided a framework for evaluating investment opportunities.

Thomas Roettgen, CEO of MGF in Germany talked about how his firm is building cooperatives with Ghanaian palm oil farmers to generate ingredients for bio-fuel in Europe.

Karen Hobson of Hobson Associates made a presentation on building state-of- the- art and affordable hostels at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology to alleviate the housing needs of students.

Have you ever seen a bicycle made of bamboo - i.e.- the frame? Representatives from KPMG asserted that bamboo is stronger than steel, it is available in the Kumasi area, and it can be made for utility and sold affordably. They had one on display.

Nana Susubiribi, Asokore Chief and representative of Asantehene (also known as Nana S.K.B. Asante) disclosed that rare minerals can be found all over the Kumasi area. The regulatory framework for investment and non-hindrance of the flow of profits are protected under Ghana's Constitution, he added.

The Chief Executive of the Kumasi Metropolitan Area, Patricia Apiagyei affirmed the support of her office for investors and the growing infrastructure in the metropolitan area to facilitate investment.

Joseph Owusu Akyaw, the Chairman of the new Accra Mall advised prospective entrepreneurs to grab on to their passions, do the homework, gather and secure all necessary titles and documents, do the financials and then look for the money. It will be easier if you don't ask the investor to do the running around.

Prof. Jeffrey Sachs said that he is very excited about the economic future of Ghana. He cited Ghana's leadership, location, level of education and political stability as contributing factors.

Kumasi is one of eight African cities selected for the MCI that enables the Earth Institute of Columbia to drive resources and partnerships to the adopted cities to accelerate their development.

The participants were urged to not just attend conferences but get involved and share their experiences.