Strategic partnership between Ghana/South Africa crucial – President

Accra- President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has highlighted the critical need for Ghana and South Africa to forge a strategic partnership.

With the population of West Africa and that of the entire continent of Africa set to hit 500 million and two billion, respectively, in 20 years, he said, such cooperation would empower the business communities of the two nations and help to enhance their trade and investment relations.

He was speaking at the Ghana-South Africa Business Forum, in Pretoria, as part of his state visit to that country.

The theme was Advancing industrialization through trade and investment

President Akufo-Addo said regional and continental markets in Africa should be in the mutual interest of South Africa, the number one economy on the continent, and Ghana, the gateway to the markets of West Africa.

These markets will present immense opportunities to bring prosperity to our peoples with hard work, creativity and enterprise.

He added that my visit here is a signal of how much we welcome such a partnership.

President Akufo-Addo said the future economy of Africa could not be the raw material producing and exporting economy of the past, and must be based on value-addition and industrial activities.

He drew attention to the important role of the private sector in achieving a value-added economy and industrial revolution for Africa.

That was why over the past 17 months in office, his Administration had been putting in place, measures vital to reducing cost of doing business and improving the business environment.

He said progress was being made – growing stability of the country’s macro-economy and the currency (cedi) and single-digit inflation.

President Akufo-Addo spoke of the abolition of nuisance taxes and said the aim was to shift the focus from taxation to production.

His government had implemented specific measures including the introduction of an e-business registration system, a paperless port clearance system, a digital addressing system, a mobile interoperability system, and a national identification card system, to formalise the Ghanaian economy, reduce the cost of doing business, and facilitate interaction between businesses and clients.

I am, thus, notifying the business community in the South Africa, to take advantage of the growing business-friendly climate in the country, to invest in Ghana.

Our flagship policies of One District, One Factory, One Village, One Dam, and the Programme for Planting for Food and Jobs describe areas of opportunity, which I commend to you, as I do areas in the development of renewable energy and ICT growth.

President Akufo-Addo also made reference to a dedicated South Africa established the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) to facilitate and expedite South African investments in Ghana.

He expressed optimism that with firm support of the private sector to address Ghana’s infrastructural deficit, we can develop a modern railway network with strong production centre linkages and with the potential to connect us to our neighbours to the North – Burkina Faso, to the West, Cote d’Ivoire, and to the East, Togo.

We believe that this is an area where South Africa technology and expertise would be very welcome.

There are several projects in roads, water transport, industry, manufacturing, agriculture, petroleum and gas, renewable energy, the exploitation of our mineral wealth of bauxite, iron ore and gold, and the ICT sector, amongst others, which are being structured to attract private sector financing.

He assured business leaders that Ghana was a haven of peace, security and stability, where the principles of democratic accountability were now firmly entrenched in its body politic, and where the separation of powers was real in promoting accountable governance under the rule of law.

We are keen on attracting foreign direct investments to exploit our country’s great potential on mutually satisfactory terms. Investments are protected in fact and in law, he added.

President Akufo-Addo said he was confident that the Ghana-South Africa Business Forum would help facilitate partnerships between Ghanaian and South African companies, and create the common platform that generated ideas and nurtured them into success.

It is my hope that exchanges of this sort will enable the strong relations between Ghana and South Africa to grow even stronger.

Source: Ghana News Agency