A fair dubbed: “Techchange fair 2009,” opened in Accra on Tuesday with the aim of providing a platform for Ghanaian and Danish companies to interact and share business experiences as well as upgrade skills and technologies of Ghanaian entrepreneurs.
The fair codenamed Danida's Business-to-Business (B2B) programme is a project by the Danish Development Cooperation with the objective of reducing poverty by promoting economic growth and social development in developing countries like Ghana.
On the theme: “Creating a Green and Healthy Ghana through Partnership,” the fair brought together Ghanaian entrepreneurs working in the water, sanitation and waste management, agriculture and renewable energy sector and counterparts from Denmark, who are expected to create partnership with the Ghanaians and help transfer technological know-how in those sectors.
Ms Sherry Ayittey, Minister of Environment, Science and Technology, who commended the Danish government for providing such a platform in Ghana, urged participants to dialogue more on renewable energy.
“In the wake of climate change, challenges across the globe… part of the solution is renewable energy and am happy most of the companies gathered here are looking for energy efficient methods in their productive and joint venture activities.”
Ms Ayittey said industries in Ghana, which were energy intensive, played a critical role within the economy hence the Ministry's decision to promote sound environmental practices in the area of energy, agriculture, water, housing and to ensure that the sectors remained key players in the socio-economic growth and development of the country.
The Minister also recommended further investment into research and development in all the sectors participating in the fair and said her Ministry was working closely with the private sector to reduce the demand for electricity and create a healthy environment.
Ms Ayittey announced that the government had demarcated areas for pilot projects in strong wind and solar energy, expressing hope that with the availability of other sources of energy, Ghana would be the right place to do business.
Mr Stig Barlyng, Danish Ambassador to Ghana, who referred to Ghana as a potentially rich country, said there was the need for strong political and policy leadership on the part of government to create conducive business environment.
“There should be good governance with the focus on fighting corruption, ensuring strong judiciary and strong public participation in decision-making and oversight.”
Mr Barlyng said that the government of Ghana and the Danish government both agreed on the basic principles for development by eliminating poverty through economic growth and social development.
“Denmark provided close to one billion Ghana Cedis to development cooperation with Ghana over the last 20 years; current commitments is close to 100 million Ghana Cedis annually,” he said.
Mr Barlyng urged government to promote private sector development by strengthening the business environment and stakeholder participation and ownership.
Speaking on Techchange, he said it is an attempt to create a platform for Danish and Ghanaian businesses men and women to find areas of partnership.
He said the B2B programme hoped to build trust and openness, noting that businesses in Ghana and Denmark in the areas of energy, waste management, waster, housing and agriculture sectors had direct impact on the environment.
Mr Barlyng commenting on the theme, said environmental protection and energy efficiency required the intelligent use of technology, pointing out that Denmark had realized the very good business perspective and opportunities in Ghana.
Mr Lars Jepsen, Programme Coordinator, said the B2B programme was expected to be a long term and sustainable partnership between Ghanaian and Danish businesses.
The programme, he said was in three phases, the first phase being the contact stage where participants identify partners, had study visits and cultural workshop as well as pre-investment meetings.
The second, a pilot one, where further study would be conducted and the third phase being where there would be technical assistance and training, environmental measures cost of establishment and acquisition of equipment.
Mr Jepsen said in all about three to four million dollars would be spent and added that a fund would be created for skill development.
Mr Kwesi Kyei Darkwah, Director of Communications at the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC), said Ghana was open for business and the government was committed and supportive of that.
“The IFC report 2009 ranks Ghana the best place to do business in West Africa,” he said and noted that there was an ongoing development of legislation, regulation and administrative procedures to reduce the cost and time of starting business.