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26.10.2004 Business & Finance

One-Day Ghana-UK Business Forum ends

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A one-day Ghana-UK Business Forum has ended in London. The forum which, attracted many companies from the UK was organised by the Industrial Pinnacle Africa Network (IPA) in collaboration with the Ghana High Commission in London.
Other collaborating agencies included the London Chamber of Commerce, Ghana Investment Promotion Council, Association of Ghana Industries, the Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Ministry of Private Sector Development and the Ghana Export Promotion Council. Others were the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Presidential Special Initiatives, Ghana Union London, the National Board for Small Scale Industries and the Ghana Standards Board.
The forum which underscored the significance of the synergy between the private and the public sectors in national development, discussed issues relating to investments, market for Ghanaian businesses and the transfer of Ghanaian technologies for business enhancement between Ghana and the UK.
At the forum held under the joint chairmanship of Prince Kofi Kludjeson, President of the Association of Ghana Industries and Mr. Solomon Quartey, President of Ghana National Chamber of commerce and Industry, a number of papers were presented on various sectors of the economy.
These were on the role being played by the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre as a one-stop agency for investors, advantages of investing in Ghana, the role of the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research, the enhancement of new technologies, the Sontech Energy Research and Strategic Business and Industrial Development in relation to Ghana.
The presentations drew varying questions and comments from participants. These centred on the need for proactive campaigns to publicise generous incentives offered under the Ghana investment code, aggressive marketing strategies of the various research findings, the need for the banking sector to grant flexible loans to the private sector to expand, modernise and market their products in order to enable them take advantage of the keen competition within the structure of the globalised village.
Participants also expressed concern about the inability of Ghanaian companies to meet requests for supply of goods despite the desire to enter the world market and called for integrated approach by related companies in their export drive.
There were also calls for Ghanaian companies to endeavour to develop local financial capabilities in order to be able to support investments from abroad and the mobilisation of resources for Ghanaians abroad for the formation of new companies.
Speaking at the forum, Mr. Kwabena Baah-Duodu, Deputy High Commissioner of Ghana to the UK urged investors to take advantage of the favourable investment climate in Ghana, stressing that the economic and social environment was conducive for doing business in Ghana.
He said “Ghana has now become not only an Island of economic and political stability but also a symbol of what a dedicated government can achieve for his people”.
He added, among other things, citing as reference points, the Standards and Poors B plus rating for Ghana, the consistent growth of the country's domestic product at 5.2% compared to other sub-saharan African countries where growth slowed down on average from 4.3% in 2001 to 3.2% in 2002 and negatively in 2003, the drop in inflation rate from 40.5% in December 2000 to 12.9% in August 2004 and the increase of the nation's foreign exchange resources from US$233m in December 2002 to over US$1.4256m representing 3.9 months of imports, the highest since the liberation of foreign exchange in 1990.
Mr. Klujeson said Ghanaian companies in the diaspora should consider extending their operations into the country and urged them not to feel discouraged by the initial difficulties in their bid to get a foothold into the Ghanaian business environment.
Mr. Solomon Quartey assured the investors that Ghana provided a safe haven for their investments and urged those who were yet to enter the market to take advantage of prevailing investment opportunities.
Investors who attended the forum were ecstatic about the forum which they described as another bold attempt by the private sector to contribute their quota in the investment drive for the country.
According to them, the numerous contacts and the variable data made available to them at the forum, had re-enforced their determination to take advantage of the investment opportunities in Ghana. This stance, they pointed out, would make them part of the solution to the many problems confronting the development of the country.

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