Business News of Saturday, 12 December 2015
Investors from Ireland have visited Ghana to explore investment opportunities and build lasting partnerships with Ghanaian companies.
The delegation which also scouted for opportunities in other West African countries, comprised business people from 41 Irish companies, senior delegates from Enterprise Ireland, Bord Bia and Sustainable Food Systems based in Ireland.
Led by the Irish Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine, Mr Simon Coveney, the delegation which is the largest trade mission to West Africa is also expected to visit Nigeria to help build on the existing foothold in the sub-region.
Addressing the media in Accra, Mr Coveney said Ireland was seeking to build lasting business partnership with Ghanaian companies to spur the country’s economic growth.
He explained that “our visit to Ghana is a very important step in increasing the bilateral relationship between the two countries.”
The companies represented a variety of sectors, including agri-food, education, information and communication technology, and financial services. Ireland currently exports 50 million Euros of agriculture produce and dairy products to Ghana.
The local economy has been saddled with a lot of challenges, making it unattractive for investors. From the fast decline of the Cedi against major international currencies, to rising inflation, and the unstable power supply, the business climate appears unfavourable for investments.
That notwithstanding, Mr Coveney said the Irish investors were looking beyond the current economic challenges as they were temporary and rather wished to be part of the long-term economic boom of Ghana.
He said “There are challenges but the future looks more exciting and the Irish companies would want to be part of that.”
He also explained that the country had the opportunity to make use of its stable economy, high education standards and youthful population to make it an attractive market for transfer of technological know-how in the fields of finance and agriculture.
He explained that the Irish government was committed to building a stronger and more vibrant relationship with West Africa, initially focusing on Nigeria and Ghana.
“I have seen the relationship between Ireland and Nigeria and Ghana go from strength to strength,” he said, adding that the relationship continued to widen through political visits, trade and educational and tourism links, increased cultural exchanges and growing contacts.
There has been substantial increase in trade and investment between Ireland and Nigeria and Ghana. Total exports to Nigeria and Ghana reached over 375 million Euros in 2014.