Business News of Thursday, 21 December 2017
This year’s Oxford Summit of Leaders has opened in the United Kingdom with the Chief Executive of Ghana’s First Sky Group, Eric Seddy Kutortse, delivering a powerful speech in which he made a compelling case for foreign investors to stream into Ghana to form partnerships with indigenous Ghanaian business leaders.
Opening the summit in the city of Oxford in Britain, Eric Seddy Kutortse, an indigenous Ghanaian entrepreneur who has won many local and international awards, used his keynote speech to project Ghana as a-must-visit business and investment destination that the world should wholeheartedly embrace through partnerships with Ghanaian entrepreneurs.
As a sign that he believes in robust partnerships with credible foreign investors, Mr. Kutortse said Tuesday that he has signed an MOU with European investors to help First Sky Cocoa Processing, a new subsidiary of the First Sky Group, to establish a truly modern cocoa processing factory in the Western Region of Ghana.
He said Ghana continues to develop the right legal and institutional frameworks necessary for businesses to emerge, grow, and flourish exponentially in ways that positively impact host communities and populations.
“It is on this note that I invite business leaders and investors gathered here to visit Ghana to take full advantage of the endless business opportunities emerging, by entering into mutually rewarding partnerships with local business owners and investors,” he told his audience at the packed event at the Oxford Town Hall.
Mr. Kutortse continued, “A mix of factors, including a growing national economy, and the business friendly policies of the State, have created the right climate for businesses to emerge, grow and expand.”
Recent official figures show that, Ghana’s Gross Domestic Product – the total value of goods and services produced in the country ending June this year alone – has expanded significantly. Released in September by the Ghana Statistical Service, the figures put the year-on-year GDP growth at 9 percent, the biggest in the last two years. The figures also suggest that, the main drivers of Ghana’s GDP growth are industry, services and agriculture.
In his speech in Oxford, Mr. Kutortse said beyond the fine economic figures billowing from Ghana, there are other important factors contributing to the positive business climate in the former British colony.
“Also, available legal regimes and prevailing institutional frameworks combine to create the right environment for wealth creation for businesses, their owners, workers and the local population,” he said.
The celebrated entrepreneur’s comments have come at a time the Government of Ghana – through the Ghana Investment Promotion Council – has stepped up local and international drives aimed at attracting foreign investors to the country.
Additionally, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo continues to push his ‘Ghana Beyond Aid’ campaign at various international and local platforms. The idea is to whip up global acceptance for his ambitious economic development agenda, which seeks to use strategic industrialization and value-addition for Ghana’s agricultural output and mineral resources, to reposition the country away from decades of heavy dependence on foreign donors.
“We have to find a way out to be able to connect the raw materials to the finished products,” the President said in an interview with Bloomberg in September this year.
Speaking in Oxford, Mr. Kutortse could not agree more with the President on the need for Ghana to become self-sufficient through strategic industrialization. Already the owner of a string of high-performing and award-winning local businesses, Mr. Kutortse gave hints that, he intends to, “pretty soon”, contribute further to the vision of transforming Ghana into an industrial and economic powerhouse.
The First Sky Group boss announced that, he intends to expand his business empire to reach sectors in general insurance and cocoa processing. The vision, he explained, is “to diversify and expand the Group” through the incorporation of Serene Insurance Limited, which will run the Group’s interest in general insurance, and First Sky Cocoa Processing Limited, which will – in partnership with European investors – establish a 55 million Euro cocoa processing factory in the Western Region of Ghana.
Traditionally organized in collaboration with regional partners, the Summits of Leaders are a permanent interactive platform for international economic, academic and intercultural cooperation.
Over the last seventeen years, more than 8,000 delegates globally have visited Summits of Leaders during which hundreds of innovative projects were presented, and specialized working meetings held for experience sharing and negotiations. The summits also serve as networking events for rectors of higher educational institutions.
First Sky Group of Ghana and Vinski Tower of Indonesia are the two official partners for this year’s Summit of Leaders at Oxford.
While urging participants at this year’s summit to take full advantage of the opportunities that the events offer, Mr. Kutortse also called on business leaders and investors to make the world “a brighter place for the needy, and the less privileged in society” through individual and corporate policies and programmes.
Eric Seddy Kutortse is the owner of First Sky Construction, Frerol Rural Bank Ltd, Volta Serene Hotel in Ho, and First Sky Commodities. His companies collectively employ anbout 1,700 people.
The official brochure for the summit describes Mr. Kutortse as “…One individual whose kindness has made his country and the world brighter for the needy and the less privileged in society. His support for social and religious courses had benefited and continues to benefit many individuals and organizations.”
It adds that, Mr. Kutortse, aside being a “renowned Entrepreneur and a successful Businessman, can in no doubt be described as a great Philanthropist”.
The brochure also extolled him as a “devoted Christian and the Board Chairman of Evangelism Expansion-Ghana, a worldwide organization that aims at spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ across nations”.
Eric Seddy Kutortse, received a plaque in recognition of his support for this year’s summit.
Later on Tuesday, Mr. Kutortse added another plaque to his collection of international awards, as he was decorated at the “Socrates Award Ceremony” to round off this year’s Summit of Leaders.