Business News of Thursday, 22 January 2015
The Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry says businesses in the rich oil country are interested in partnering local Ghanaian companies to process gold and cocoa for export.
Dubai imports gold, cocoa, coffee and other primary products from Ghana every year.
The Chamber’s CEO Hamad Buamin told Starr Business in an interview that: “We want to explore if we can do more by partnership.”
“For example if we look at the gold, if we can process the gold over here instead of sending it to Dubai and processing it over there, we can have a better, I would say, value addition,” he said.
“There are lots of cocoa that get exported to all over the world and we think that if we can have another partnership where the cocoa can be packaged or processed here [and] packaged in Dubai,” he added.
He said the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry is also interested in Ghana’s trade, tourism, agriculture, real estates and supplies and logistics sectors.
Toward that end, the Chamber has opened a new office in Accra as part of efforts to strengthen economic and trade ties with Ghana and the rest of the African continent.
Buamin said the inauguration of the Accra office is a continuation of the Chamber’s strategy of exploring untapped markets in Africa.
He expressed hope that Dubai businesses can use Ghana as a gateway to expand their reach to the 250 million consumers in the region.
“We have strategised to expand the relationship with Africa and when we identified Africa we start focusing on sub-Saharan Africa and decided to set up our first office in West Africa to act as a hub not only for Ghana but the whole sub-region,” he explained.
According to him, the Chamber decided to start with Ghana because the country has a number of advantages.
“It’s stable, it has business opportunities, and has the English language which is very important for us in Dubai. Also we realise that it‘s very important to have updated information in terms of the opportunities to support our businesses to come and start the business over here and to support the other ones to expand even further.”
Ghana’s economy is still over-reliant on commodity products whose prices fluctuate on the international market. President John Mahama has, on several platforms, said there is the need for Ghana to change the structure of its economy or continue suffering the effects of price fluctuations, which adversely affect the country.
Ghana lost $1.5 billion in export revenue last year as a result of falls in prices of primary commodities on the world market, Mr Mahama revealed to Ghanaians in Germany on Tuesday January 20, 2015 when he paid a two-day visit to the European country.
Citing that as one of the major factors frustrating the Ghanaian economy, President Mahama said such fluctuations makes it imperative for the country to start adding value to its primary commodities for export.
The prices of cocoa, gold and other minerals suffered a fall on the world market last year. Crude oil is also following suit this year. It is currently at a record low of $48 per barrel. Ghana started oil production in 2011.
Making reference to the sharp fall in the price of crude oil on the world market, which he said will result in the country losing an estimated $500 million, President Mahama said: “That’s the problem when your economy is based on primary commodity exports and that’s why we need to add value to our economy by ensuring that we add value to some of the primary products that we export.”