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15.09.2002 Business & Finance

Ghana Equity Fund set up in Washington

By Nehemia Owusu Achiaw, New York
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THE Ghana Embassy in Washington has set up the Ghana Equity Investment Fund to mobilise capital from Ghanaians in the USA for investment in the Ghanaian economy.

In addition, the embassy has established the Ghana Credit Union to provide a channel for remittances from Ghanaians in the US to Ghana.

Mr Allan Kyeremateng, Ghana's Ambassador to USA, who disclosed this in an interview in New York on Thursday, said the two initiatives are the first major financial instruments established and owned by Ghanaians.

He said already the embassy has established the Ghana Skills Bank to compile and mobilise Ghanaian expertise abroad which can be accessed and used for the country's development.

He said the responses to the investment initiative, credit union and skills bank are very encouraging. Mr Kyeremateng said remittances of Ghanaians abroad to Ghana amount to $400 million annually and indicated that a substantial part of the amount comes from Ghanaians in the US.

This, he said, gives an indication of the enormous financial resource which can be mobilised for Ghana's economic development.

On Ghana's relationship with the US, Mr Kyeremateng said the relationship between the two countries has been strengthened.

He said Ghana is now ranked third among African countries that are able to attract trade and investment from the US. He explained that the major reason is that accounts for the strategic positioning of Ghana in its relationship with the US is the NPP government's commitment to freedom of speech, liberalised economy and enhancement of humanity which are consistent with the values of the US Government.

In a related development, the US Assistant Secretary of State for Africa, Mr Walter Kansteiner, has affirmed the commitment of the US government to encourage direct foreign investment in Ghana as well as open US market to Ghanaian products.

He said although the economic policies being pursued by the Ghana Government are tough and may take some time to bear fruits, they are in the right direction.

Mr Kansteiner made the remarks in an interview with a team of Ghanaian journalists after he had held a closed door meeting with President J. A. Kufuor in New York on Thursday.

The Assistant Secretary said the US Government wants to use the African Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA) to encourage countries such as Ghana to take advantage of the huge US market to promote economic growth.

On the meeting with President Kufuor, Mr Kansteiner said he had fruitful discussions with the Ghanaian leader on regional issues, peace keeping, and Ghana's economy. He said Ghana is extremely important to the US and the country is gradually emerging as a regional leader.

In a related development, President Kufuor and President Marc Ravalomanana of Madagascar have held discussions on recent political development in Madagascar.

He said the decision of the African Union not to recognise the government of President Ravalomanana was not meant to ostracise Madagascar.

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