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16.02.2012 Business & Finance

GCCI Embraces European Investors

By Charles Benoni Okine - Daily Graphic
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Foreign investors have been advised to take the challenges on the continent of Africa especially in Ghana as opportunities.

The President of the Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), Mr Seth Adjei-Baah, threw the challenge when the GCCI and its Portuguese counterparts signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in Accra to start cordial business relations between their members.

Mr Adjei-Baah said the chamber had many members in business who require foreign counterparts to enable them to expand their operational activities and noted that it would serve the interest of the investors to partner them for effective business.

Directing his attention to the Portuguese delegation, he said the Ghanaian chamber was ready to form partnerships with them to enable the two parties realise their objectives.

The debt crisis in the euro zone has created a lot of anxiety on the part of business owners and as a result they seem to be turning to Africa.

Their fears has been aggravated by the threats by Standard & Poor's warning that it could downgrade 15 euro zone members, including 'AAA'-rated Germany and France, if it judged the EU summit had failed to come up with meaningful measures to tackle the debt crisis.

A downgrade could automatically require some investment funds to sell bonds of affected states, making those countries' borrowing costs rise still further.

If France and others lose their top-notch credit rating, the euro zone's EFSF rescue fund which is underpinned by those nations will almost certainly suffer the same fate, placing further doubt over its ability to raise sufficient funds to ward off market attacks.

Rival agency Moody's Investors Service says it intends to review the ratings of all 27 members of the European Union in the first quarter of 2012 after EU leaders offered 'few new measures' to resolve the crisis at their summit on Friday.

Fitch Ratings said the summit failed to provide a 'comprehensive' solution to the crisis, thus increasing short-term pressure on euro zone sovereign ratings.

A ratings downgrade would further weaken the, the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), which policymakers are aiming to leverage so its roughly 250 billion euros of capital could stretch further.

With European investors turning to Ghana and Africa as a whole, analysts are of the view that the move will help grow the economies on the continent in general and Ghana in particular, through the provision of job opportunities, technological transfer among other things.

Mr Adjei-Baah said the chamber members believed in what he termed as “create and share” and expressed the hope that MOU between the two countries will inure into greater collaboration and partnership between the Portuguese and Ghana.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC), Mr George Aboagye, has called on investors in Europe to turn to Ghana and the continent of Africa to explore new business opportunities.

With specific reference to Ghana, he said, the economic and political conditions are ripe for business and urged business owners who want new areas to secure their wealth to turn to the country for the right return on investment.

Mr Aboagye said “the countries of Europe may be in some kind of financial turmoil but not their business people”.

He said Ghana is interested in the people with money to invest and has, therefore created the right business environment to attract such people.

As of the last count, the Portuguese have invested in nine projects in the country at the value of above US$11 million.

But Mr Pedro Meneres Cudell, President of the Portuguese Chamber of Commerce, described the value of the investment as “too small to be proud of”.

He said this is why the delegation is here adding that “we are here to explore the business opportunities available in the country”.

Mr Cudell who is also the President of Banco Espirito Santo Cabo Verde, a local bank in Portugal, said the delegation is impressed by the various presentations on the business opportunities in the country by the GIPC and the Ghana Free Zones Board.

He said the delegation conducted its study of the African continent and found Ghana to be the right place to invest because of the cordial political and social environment and the potential for the country to grow even faster than the present situation.

“We believe in the economy and the with the newly found oil and gas resources among other things, we believe we are at the right place and we will not relent in our efforts to come back”, he said.

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