French interest in Ghana started sometime in the 1908s when CFAO and SCOA landed on the shores of the country to transact business.
CFAO began operations in Sekondi in 1908 and opened its first counter to serve customers in December 1909, bringing in manufactured goods and exporting gold, cocoa and timber. Around the same time, SCOA also started operations in Ghana doing similar services in addition to representing some interests in the automobile industry.
Although, French private sector operations in the country has not deepened over the years, France on her own has done a lot to help the economy of Ghana.
Agencé Française de Dévelopment (AFD), the French Agency for Development, has implemented and delivered French government development assistance to Ghana – both for the central government and the private sector. Over the years, French support for Ghana has touched countless lives, particularly those in its chosen areas of focus.
The agency’s support has focused on infrastructure development, mainly in the telecommunications, transport and energy sectors and according to its official website, “AFD has also intervened to a large extent in agriculture and rural development, particularly in rural water supply, perennial crops sector (rubber, oil palm), as well as food crops, mainly rice production.
The Graphic Business is happy to learn that France plans to upgrade its economic ties with Ghana by doubling its investment in the country from the current annual figure of US$500 million to nearly US$700 million by 2013.
Indeed, the Movement of the Enterprises of France (MEDEF), the largest private sector union in France, would converge on Ghana next year for a summit to identify investment opportunities in the country.
Graphic Business, therefore, calls on the Ghanaian business community to prepare and put its house in order, before meeting this group for the mutual benefit of Ghana and France.
French Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Frederic Clavier, told the Graphic Business that French investors were amazed by the level of investment opportunities in the country.
This will be an opportunity for Ghana to deepen its relations with France at various levels and not just to look for grants and aids.
As a lower middle income country and an oil producing country, focus should be on developing the economy at the back of trade and investments instead of aid.
As for France it wants to “be a major player in this country'as echoed by its ambassador Mr Clavier.
Ghana should take advantage of the current economic and political stability to attract all forms of investments as they are the surest way to create employment and generate growth and development.