Business News of Friday, 19 October 2018
Swiss Ambassador to Ghana, Markus Dutly has expressed optimism that bilateral relations between Ghana-Switzerland will witness a major boost in the coming years after recording some significant gains in recent times.
Trade volumes between the two countries last year, Markus Dutly noted reached $1.8 billion though the figure predominantly represents imports of gold by Switzerland.
In addition to gold imports, the Ambassador was pleased to note that of all the imports of Cocoa into the country, Ghana’s cocoa contributed about 57% which he hinted was the backbone of the high-quality chocolates produced by Switzerland.
His optimism is also based on a recent trade agreement signed between the two countries that will see Switzerland assisting government in creating a business-friendly environment and partnering institutions to ensure high-quality operations.
This partnership over a period of four years will result in the expenditure value of close to $80 million with an average yearly input of $20 million.
“When I was mentioning trade volumes, it was the value. The value $1.8 billion was especially related to imports of gold. But when you take out this and concentrate on other materials we import fruits, and of course cocoa. You may know that in Switzerland if you take worldwide imports of cocoa from Switzerland, more than 57% are coming from Ghana. It means that you are responsible also for the quality of the Swiss chocolate quality indirectly” Markus Dutly stated.
Addressing the media on the sidelines of a ceremony to mark 10 years of United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) programme to improve quality in Ghana, the Swiss Ambassador hinted that his government accepted the message of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to move away from focusing on raw material exports.
He disclosed that President AKufo-Addo did not mince words in putting his views and vision of an industrialised Ghana that adds value to its cocoa and other raw materials across despite expressing satisfaction at the volume of trade with Switzerland when the Swiss President visited Ghana in 2017.
The Swiss Ambassador on that score suggested that the over 40 Swiss companies in Ghana are accessing the viability of expanding their business to take advantage of the current improved state of the economy and beneficial policies being rolled out.
“We clearly understood the message which came from the government on several occasions and especially during our last presidential visit in July 2017. The message is very clear we understood it that Ghanaian government is pleased to hear this high figures of imports to Switzerland but the government also told us the wishes not to stay just for imports of raw materials” he announced.
1District, 1Factory: Swiss businesses will be attracted by government incentives
Responding to questions of whether Swiss business are gearing up to take advantage of the flagship One District, One Factory, Markus Dutly suggested that the decision to open factories here will depend on the incentives to attract businesses.
He explained that the performance of existing Swiss businesses and SMEs in Ghana will also play a key role in convincing companies yet to enter the Ghanaian market especially SMEs who require assurance of some level of success for their risks.
In addition, he averred that it is the task of the Chamber of Commerce to make observations of the business climate and lead businesses into markets and economies with high potential.
“Very big Swiss companies are already represented in Ghan and the Region but SMEs are the ones that cannot take too many risks and before they move they need to be sure it will work. And to be sure or at least half sure, they need to see results. That is why there are also developing a lot of contacts with companies that are already here and not only Swiss ones” Markus Dutly remarked.
Celebrating 10years of cooperation towards quality
The Swiss Ambassador was speaking during a media interaction on the sidelines of a programme organised to celebrate ten years of the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) work under the Trade Capacity Building programme in Ghana.
The initiative launched in 2007 has so far assisted several Ghanaian companies and state agencies improve their operations and service delivery to international standards and equipped them with state of the art tools necessary for their work.
Some of the institutions that have benefitted from the UNIDO-TCB include Ghana Standards Authority, Food and Drugs Authority, Tekura, Abuesi Fish Processing, Qualiplast Ltd, Niche Confectionary and WAD African Foods Ltd.
The initiative is highly supported and partnered by the Swiss Government and the event was witnessed by the Swiss Ambassador to Ghana, Markus Dutly and UNIDO rep to Ghana Fakhruddin Azizi and Project Manager of the Trade Capacity Building Programme in Ghana Juan Pablo Davila.