The German Ambassador to Ghana, Christoph Retzlaff, says the mission in Ghana will contribute its quota to ensure the country stays on course for its economic stability.

Coupled with that, he said the country also had to ensure a conducive environment to allow businesses to operate to increase exports from the country.

Retzlaff, who was speaking at the end-of-year dinner and coronation of officers of the Ghanaian-German Economic Association (GGEA) in Accra, said the bilateral trade between Ghana and German for last year was more than half a billion euros, placing Ghana as the fourth largest West African trading partner of Germany.

The ambassador said the German mission in Ghana would work closely with the people of Ghana to increase the volumes.

“I can assure you that promoting trade and investment among Germany and Ghana would be personally one of my priorities here. We have already started with a couple of initiatives, trying to bring together all stakeholders from the German and Ghanaian sides.”

He stressed that Ghana and Africa were now high on the political agenda of the EU and Germany. “It is fair to say that there is remarkable interest, especially in Germany about Africa and the question is how Germany can contribute to make Ghana and Africa a success story.”

Retzlaff outlined two key factors crucial to enforcing the success stories of Ghana and Africa. “First is education which is key for the future, especially as the population has a large share of young people.”

About 65 per cent of the population of Ghana is made up of young people of ages less than 35, according to the 2010 Population and Housing Census.

The second key factor is the economy, which Retzlaff said was crucial in developing Africa and making it that successful, saying “it would be utmost important to give the young people in this country the opportunity to see a bright future and we will also like to join the efforts to make this a reality.”

Retzlaff stressed that the key to success was to rally more of such stakeholders to, for instance, bridge the gap between development cooperation, trade and investment.

The President of the GGEA, Stephen Antwi, used the annual end-of-year dinner and induction of new officers as an opportunity to articulate the wishes of the association to the next government.

He called on the next government to outline policies and set up a taskforce to increase exports to the European Union under the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).

Antwi also wants the government to take the lead in galvanising other ECOWAS member states to implement protocols on the free movement of goods across borders.

“The GGEA would also like to implore the Ghanaian government in 2017 to expend political capital to really activate the ECOWAS protocols on the movement of goods within the ECOWAS region. Foreign investments into Ghana would go up several notches if the ECOWAS protocols on the movement of goods are made to work,” he stressed.

The ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme (ETLS) is a protocol that guarantees the free movement of goods and services, people and capital to facilitate intra-ECOWAS trade and investment. While the movement of people has been very successful, that of goods is a far cry.