Ghana remains destination of choice — Australian Trade Commission
The Australian Trade Commission, the agency which promotes Australian business interests abroad and backward invesment flows to Australia, says Ghana remains a destination of choice for many of its companies, including prospective ones.
The Senior Trade Commissioner in charge of Africa, Mr John Madew, told the Daily Graphic that the growing interest of Australian companies in Ghana and other West African countries had led to increasing trade volumes between the two countries.
This comes at the back of the general dwindling trend in Foreign Direct Investments across the world, especially into West Africa.
Last year, Australian exports to Ghana totalled $260 million, mostly in industrial goods and mining supplies, as against Ghana’s $6 million exports, mostly in raw materials, including cocoa and timber.
He said the trade commission had identified investments in natural resources, agribusiness and education as the main opportunity areas for Australian investors, as they had the capability and expertise in those areas.
“One of the things we look at in countries we operate is to match the needs of the countries with areas that Australia is best in. For Ghana, these are the areas that come in readily,” Mr Madew said.
Most Australian companies in Ghana are in the mining sector, as well as other high-end product and machinery supplies. The trade commission is, however, helping the private sector to take advantage of other areas in its quest to trade more with Africa.
Australia has vast expertise capacity in mining and mining supplies, manufacturing and agro processing, education and financial services. Its educational system is among the first four quality ones in the world, and its $1.4 trillion pension funds being managed makes it the fourth largest in the world.
The Marconi Bank, the most successful Australian bank, has infrastructure projects across Africa, including one in Ghana. The trade commission officials said the bank was still interested in financing more projects in areas it found viable.
Mr Madew, however, said Ghana, like many African countries, lacked reliable infrastructure, statistical information and data for decision making, as well as the of highly skilled workforce and that needed to be addressed.
He said Australia was therefore ready to assist the country through private sector partnerships to close such gaps.
Already, as part of its Africa strategy, Australia is offering scholarships to 1,000 African students this year, including Ghanaians, to study post-graduate courses in Australian universities.
Mr Gordon Chakaodza, the Trade Commissioner, West Africa, who is based in Ghana, said the commission had been helping companies with support information and seminars on opportunities and challenges in Ghana.
He was happy to report that three out of over 20 companies that participated in the Australian Mining Mission to West Africa had already started operations in the country.
Mr Chakaodza was hopeful that the Ghana-Australia relationship, particularly in trade and investment, would soar higher in the years ahead.
By Samuel Doe Ablordeppey/Daily Graphic/Ghana