The President of Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, on Thursday, 31st August, 2017, launched the Economic, Trade and Investment Bureau of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
This is an initiative aimed at positioning the Foreign Affairs Ministry as a strategic partner and player in the pursuit of government’s vision of a Ghana Beyond Aid.
According to President Akufo-Addo, several examples abound all over the world of how advanced economies have leveraged effectively the tools of foreign policy to secure the well-being of their peoples.
This, he said, has been done with the aim of increasing trade, foreign direct investments, tourism, technical cooperation, education, health, agriculture, and the transfer of technology.
The Economic, Trade and Investment Bureau (ECTIB) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the President noted, “is, indeed, a welcome and timely addition to help facilitate further investments, domestic and foreign, into Ghana.”
With the Akufo-Addo government focussed on the structural transformation of the Ghanaian economy from being a mere producer and exporter of raw materials to a value-added, industrialised one, President Akufo-Addo noted that “our nation’s foreign policy, and interventions on the domestic front, must be understood as being two sides of the same coin.”
By inaugurating formally ECTIB, President Akufo-Addo noted that “the Ministry has signalled to other Ministries, Departments and Agencies, and the private sector, that it is committed to deepening its involvement in the development of our country. It is my expectation, therefore, that we will work together to build on the foundation that has been laid today through regular and meaningful interaction between all the Ministries concerned, as well as the private sector.”
With trade facilitation increasingly becoming a valuable tool in integrating economies into global value chains, creating wealth and employment in many countries, the President indicated that Ghana needs to improve customs function to support targeted trade facilitation, and promote intra-regional trade through the implementation of ECOWAS Protocols and Continental Trade Policies.
To this end, Government, he added, has put in place measures as from tomorrow, 1st September, 2017, to start the single window project.
“It would entail a paperless clearing process that should provide a platform for an integrated clearance process to minimise the human factor as much as possible, and reduce processing time for trade documents. Importers should now spend a maximum of four (4) hours in clearing their goods from the nation’s ports,” he assured.
In acknowledging the substantial contribution to our balance of payments, employment, national income and production by tourism, President Akufo-Addo noted one of the most important goals of his government is to optimise the socio-economic growth of the country through tourism-related activities.
“The construction of a new terminal at the Kotoka International Airport is intended to strengthen the tourist infrastructure to permit an increase in the volume of foreign tourists,” he added.
The President was proud of the sense of purpose and enterprise which key stakeholders in the Trade, Investment and Tourism sectors are exhibiting in order to come closer together to open new possibilities for greater cooperation.
“This Stakeholders’ Conference should be held regularly to provide you with the platform to assess progress made, and to develop new strategies, ones that will focus on achieving the target of making Ghana the preferred investment destination in Africa, with the most business-friendly economy,” he said.
The President continued, “Our goal must remain constant – a Ghana Beyond Aid, that is a Ghana standing on its own feet, exploiting its own resources according to its own programme, a Ghana freed from a mindset of aid, dependence, charity and handouts. That is the best way we can fulfil the dreams and aspirations of the founding fathers of our nation, whose toil and sacrifice have brought us our beloved, free Ghana.”