Accra, Oct 17, GNA – The United Kingdom supports Ghana’s ambition to be a hub for investment in Africa, Madam Baroness Fairhead, UK Minister of Trade and Export Promotion, said on Monday.
Speaking at the UK-Ghana Investment Summit 2018 in Accra, Madam Fairhead said the United Kingdom would do all it could to help Ghana achieve the goal.
She said the UK had some companies that could invest in the country and the UK Government was taking real, practical steps to achieve this working in partnership with the Ghanaian Government to stimulate investment growth.
She recounted that during her recent visit to Africa, Prime Minister Theresa May set out the UK’s ambition to be the G7’s largest Foreign Direct Investor in Africa by 2022.
Madam Fairhead said Ghana would be a key part of that new strategy for Africa; declaring that “It is a key market for the UK – our fifth largest export and seventh largest import market in Africa”.
The third UK-Ghana Investment Summit, which is the first to be held in Accra; brings over 50 major UK companies to Ghana to learn about the country’s investment opportunities.
The two-day Summit, which was formally opened by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, had in attendance Vice President Alhaji Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, Ministers of States and other Senior Government Officials.
Madam Fairhead said the summit was part of the drive for a stronger, more coherent and more targeted UK approach to Ghana.
She said there were so many opportunities yet to be realized, because the UK and Ghana had a shared agenda – and complementary strengths.
“Our mutual ties are built on our shared membership of the Commonwealth, our common language, legal system, shared history, and shared time zone – at least for half a year!” she stated.
She said more than 100,000 people born in Ghana live in the UK – and the Ghanaian diaspora, including those born in the UK, were likely to be about a quarter of a million.
“Our two countries are ideal partners to build on these links to foster our mutual prosperity: both catalyzing Ghana’s economic transformation and providing UK business with the opportunity to invest in and partner with some of the most exciting companies and entrepreneurs in Africa,” she said.
“And we will build further on this shared agenda with the UK-Africa Investment Summit being hosted in London next year,” she added.
Madam Fairhead said the UK Export Finance (UKEF) supports overseas buyers of UK goods and services by helping them access competitive finance.
She said it could provide an additional level of certainty and security for UK businesses, and for those companies who use it; declaring that “they say it is a ‘game-changer’”.
She said the UKEF’s impact had already been demonstrated through projects such as the Offshore Cape Three Points oil and gas project, for which UKEF provided $400 million in finance, and the recently financed Kumasi Airport Phase two expansion project.
“And this is only a part of the wider strategic agenda we have across Africa,” she said.
Mr Alan John Kwadwo Kyerematen, Minister of Trade and Industry, said “There could not be a better time than now for us to be having a UK-Ghana Summit”.
He explained that one of the tragedies of Africa was the perception that “we cannot develop except by depending on aid”.
He, however, noted that African governments could not transform their economics without moving beyond aid.
Mr Ian Walker, British High Commissioner to Ghana, said: “The UK and Ghana relationship is built on our long history, our common shared trading interests.”
He said Ghana was currently the UK’s fourth biggest export market in Sub-Saharan Africa; stating that “but there is potential for us to do much more together”.
He said he was confident that the best of the UK’s private sector was ready and waiting to help accelerate President Akufo-Addo’s agenda for moving Ghana ‘Beyond Aid’.