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22.05.2003 Business & Finance

Third Asian business session underway in Accra

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The Third Asian Business Session is underway in Accra to forge South-South cooperation between Ghana and Asia to promote private sector investment and technology transfer.

The session attracted participants from the Confederation of India Industries, Korea International Trade Association and Malaysian Chambers of Commerce, who are interacting with Ghanaian trade officials and entrepreneurs to expand investment opportunities.

The forum, a collaborative effort of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC); United Nations Industrial Development Organisation - Asia-Africa Investment and Technology Promotion Centre (UNIDO-AAITPC), would facilitate the building of alliances amongst African Investment Promotion Agencies and their counterparts in Asia.

Mr Kwamena Bartels, Minister for Private Sector Development, said government had revised the legal and regulatory framework on investment to encourage the growth and development of the private sector.

Mr Bartels in a speech read on his behalf by Mr Ishmael Ashitey, a Minister of State at the Ministry of Trade, Industry and President's Special Initiatives, outlined the numerous benefits that would accrue from foreign investors that included a corporate tax of only eight per cent on export income.

Mr Bartels said the extension of the railway network to the Northern Sector of the country and investments in the agricultural sector were among the priority investment opportunities.

"Indeed with cocoa, our aim is to increase processing from the current 10 per cent to 20 per cent to at least 40 per cent of the total production and we will do all we can to encourage you to get into these areas," he said.

Mr Ahmed Akpa, UNIDO Regional representative lauded the impressive growth rates of Asian countries within the past 30 years, and this he said was the result of their willingness to attract foreign investments.

He said Ghana's policy of "Golden Age Of Business" was likely to attract the same investments to increase the country's Gross Domestic Product.

Mr Masato Tsukiji, Leader of the Asian Business Delegation, said their focus was now on investments in the textiles, printing and the pharmaceutical sectors.

Referring to the benefits that would accrue to Ghana by the visit, he said the AAITPC had concluded one investment in Uganda whilst negotiations were going on in Tanzania and Zimbabwe through similar interactions.

Mr Tsukiji said the distance between Ghana and Asia would not mar any investment drive in the country, since after all Ghana was closer to markets in Europe and the Americas.

Mr Kwasi Abeasi, Chief Executive of the GIPC, who chaired the function, said research had shown that developing countries could generate over 300 billion dollars annually if trade barriers were lifted and fair prices paid to them.

"Clearly weighed against the requirement of only 50 to 60 billion dollars by the New Partnership For Africa's Development programme per annum, it is obvious that there should be more trade for developing countries if the world were to make any headway in development and in fighting poverty."

The session would discuss: "Investment Opportunities In Ghana;" "Ghana Export Processing Zone" and "Facilitating Trade Investments In Ghana".

The entrepreneurs would also spend the next three days to visit some industrial firms in the country and organise one-on-one business meetings with President John Agyekum Kufuor.

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