Boosting Investor Confidence in Ghana………..Ghana High Commission, London
That Ghana's Economy is the tenth fastest growing economy in the world, is not in doubt as this is demonstrated by the influx of investors into the country and the confidence the international community have shown in the country and the government.
One of the sectors of the economy that has shown tremendous growth in the last four years of the current administration of His Excellency President John Evans Atta Mills is the Hospitality industry.
The hospitality industry and the support it is receiving from the current administration, was the subject of discussion when Mr. Markus Luck, the General Manager of Kempinski Hotel, Gold Coast City, a new up and coming Hotel in the centre of Accra called on Ghana's High Commissioner to the United Kingdom and Ambassador to Ireland, His Excellency Professor Kwaku Danso-Boafo, last Wednesday, April 11, 2012.
Receiving Mr. Luck in his Belgrave Square office in London, Professor Danso-Boafo said, to meet the expectations of investors and tourists, his office is doing many new things to make business travel easy for any investor or tourist traveling to Ghana.
He said the mission is improving its office accommodation by recently renovating its offices at Highgate, in London, which houses the Trade, Consular/Immigration and Education sections and also the Security Agencies.
Professor Danso-Boafo said, his office is also improving the quality of service it offers to members of the public by improving the quality of its staff to handle investors, tourists and ordinary visitors to Ghana.
Currently, Ghana's High Commissioner said, the Trade and Investment section is working closely with the Consular section to expedite travel documents for investors and travelers to Ghana.
Due to the rush for Ghanaian visas in recent times, Professor Danso-Boafo told his guest, the Ghanaian mission has introduced a 24 hour and 72 hour services to meet the deadlines of would-be travelers to Ghana.
As Ghana positions herself as the Hub of the West African Economy and the implementation of the Savannah Agriculture Development Authority (SADA) which is meant to open up the Northern part of the country, the government according to Professor Danso-Boafo, has opened up the Ghanaian Economy to both international and local investors who have the desire to take advantage of the government's opened door policy.
The Kumasi Airport is currently under renovation and expansion while as a long term measure, plans are being made by the Ghana Airport Company to have more airports built to ease the congestion at the Accra airport due to increased air traffic with the arrival of new airlines.
Professor Danso-Boafo assured Mr. Markus Luck that the government of His Excellency President Atta Mills was doing everything to encourage Tourism and the Business community to come to Ghana and that means a boost for the hospitality industry, the sector where the Kempinski Hotel, would be playing a key role when completed.
Mr. Markus Luck commended Ghanaians for their proverbial hospitality and said during his short stay in the country, the display of the kind nature of the people has given him the confidence that the Kempinski Hotel when completed, was going to do well.
He informed His Excellency Professor Danso-Boafo that the 230 room and two presidential suite Hotel, is currently 80 percent completed with management hoping to partially open in December while it will fully and officially be opened in March next year.
After having received assurance from Professor Danso-Boafo that come next year, the current administration of President Atta Mills would still be in place to ensure his company's investments were safe, Mr. Luck said his company was hoping to capitalise on the Ghanaian hospitality, combining it with the European culture and tradition to give their customers a feel of the two continents.
RADIO GOLD INTERVIEW
In a related development, Journalists from Radio Gold, an independent Radio station based in the national Capital, Accra, called on His Excellency Professor Kwaku Danso-Boafo for an exclusive interview on his views on the Tourism industry in Ghana.
Explaining the functions of the Ghanaian High Commission in London, he said the mission is accredited to the United Kingdom and Ireland and its main functions is to protect the interest of Ghana and seek the welfare of Ghanaians resident in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
Professor Danso-Boafo told the Radio Station that London is a very busy place due to the huge number of Ghanaian residents in the UK with the numerous ethnic Associations and political groupings, all requiring the presence and attention of the High Commissioner at their functions.
This hectic task of being present at all Ghanaian functions is not limited to London alone but spreads throughout the United Kingdom, he added.
Apart from taking care of the interest of Ghanaians here, there are other responsibilities, such as being the Chair of the Commonwealth Foundation, which also takes the time of the High Commissioner, His Excellency said.
He said London is Ghana's flagship mission and therefore much is expected of the High Commissioner and members of staff.
Dismissing the perception that at any particular time, the High Commission belongs to the political party in power, Professor Danso-Boafo said, the High Commission does not belong to any particular political party, it belongs to Ghanaians and urged Ghanaian residents to patronise the mission.
Professor Danso-Boafo said just like Ghana's first President Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, who sought to unify the whole country, His Excellency President Atta Mills also detests discrimination and want Ghanaians, irrespective of where they come from, to see themselves as one people.
On the relationship between the High Commission and the Ghanaian Community, he said due to the open door policy of the mission, relationship with the Ghanaian Community has been very cordial and this was demonstrated during the country's 55th independence anniversary celebrations recently.
Professor Danso-Boafo however admitted it was not every Ghanaian who wants to be associated with activities of the Ghana High Commission and that the mission would not relent in its efforts to mobilize all Ghanaians in the UK.
He said currently there were about 150 Ghanaians in UK prisons, who the mission pays regular visits to see how they are being treated and ensure that their interests are properly taken care of.
Expressing his regret at some publications in a section of the Ghanaian media back home concerning renovation works at the Mission, Professor Danso-Boafo said, the Highgate offices of the mission were becoming a disgrace to the country to the extent that the City Council had threatened to take Government to court and therefore very necessary that the renovation was done to save the image of the country.
He said, in selecting the contractors for the job, the mission ensured a very transparent process in the selection and also had the opportunity to select a contractor whose estimates were affordable and presented value-for-money.
The renovation of the Highgate offices was to improve on the quality of service rendered to Ghanaians who hitherto were at the mercy of the weather because there was no seating space for visitors who had business there.
Today, the Highgate office accommodates the mission's computers and some very sensitive equipment including CCTV equipment all aimed at improving the image of the country.
Touching on tourism sites in Ghana, His Excellency Professor Danso-Boafo cited the Forts and Castles along the coast of Ghana as the most important sites because of their historical relevance to the country.
He said even though these sites are very important tourist sites, they remind us of the inhuman treatment meted out to one race of people by another. The story of slave trade in Africa he said has not been told in its proper context and hope one day Africans can tell their story as it happened without any outside interference.
Professor Danso-Boafo said even though much is been done to improve Tourism in Ghana, the country still has a long way to go to improve Tourist sites to enable the Tourism sector play its role as one of the country's foreign exchange earner.
He cited places like the Dodzi Islands, Lake Bosomtwi, Boti Falls, the Crocodile Pond in Paga, the Mole park and many other sites which he said, if properly developed and enhanced could attract tourists to Ghana.
Source: Information Section
Ghana High Commission