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23.03.2019 Feature Article

Tears over Africa

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Greek businessman: “ Mr.Karl, I need charcoal for restaurants in Greece. Can you get it for me?“

Mr.Karl: „Certainly! Here in Ghana is a lot of charcoal available, good quality, low price.“

Greek businessman:“ Oh no, no. When the charcoal is in Germany I have no problems to send money there. But Ghana I do simply no trust. I pay money….but will I ever get my goods?“

Algerian businessman: “ We here in Algir need Shea Butter for the cosmetic industry. Can you get it for me?“

Mr.Karl: “ No problem, here in Ghana we have a lot of Shea Butter, good quality, low price.“

Algerian businessman: “ Oh no, no…when the Shea Butter is in Germany, we have no problems to send you money there! But Ghana….oh, we have no trust in that country.“

Mr.Karl: “ In Germany we do not grow Shea nuts. So you tell me, I should ship Shea Butter from here to Germany, causing higher costs, store it there before sending it back to Africa with new papers?“

Algerian businessman: “All I can say, to do business with Ghana…no, we do not have trust.“

The sign „Bilfinger&Berger Construction“ in Adabraka/Accra just behind GCB Tower pointing to the right to direct visistors to their former Accra office is still visible by the road side. The famous company had pulled out of Ghana years back after laws in Germany had come into effect by which German citizens engaging in bribery practices abroad can be jailed in Germany for years.

2013, Charles Khartey, owner of Executive Lodge, Greda Estate, helped 3 businessmen from Bilbao/Spain not fluent enough in English and with no contacts in Ghana to make their plan happen of investing Euros 20 Mio. for infrastructual projects over a period of 3 years into the country of Ghana. After three months of endless and baseless discusssions with various ministeries, they left the country again empty handed to invest their funds somewhere else.

Turkish businessman from Gelsenkirchen/Germany invested € 1,6 Mio. (€ 200.000 own capital, rest bank loan) to set up a MOT testing station (DEKRA) to the highest German standard testing cars for road worthiness. The Ghanaian partner to help him acquire the needed permits (even he found out later this was never needed) managed to take the company away from him and bring it into the hands of his Ghanaian family; a court case for the past 9 years with 14 judges sitting on the case still not settled.

More stories needed? We foreign investors have endless stories to share on various levels, small and big enterprises…so, come and we will tell you the truth.

Karl-Heinz Heerde
Karl-Heinz Heerde, © 2019

The author has 363 publications published on Modern Ghana. Column Page: KarlHeinzHeerde

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