Business News of Friday, 30 November 2018
About 79 projects under the government’s One-district One-factory (1D 1F) programme are expected to be rolled out by the close of the year, Vice-President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has said.
Dr Bawumia, who made this known at the second stakeholders’ conference of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration in Accra on Thursday, said all the projects were at various stages of implementation.
He said 35 others were currently undergoing credit appraisal to enable them to receive financial support for implementation.
The three-day conference, which is being organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, in partnership with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), is on the theme: “Leveraging economic diplomacy for Ghana’s industrialisation agenda”.
It has been designed for the participants to share information and best practices, identify challenges faced by key stakeholders in the Ghanaian economy and proffer solutions to them.
The conference is also expected to focus on strategies for the promotion of made-in-Ghana products and how the country can position itself to benefit from the launch of the African Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA) initiative.
Touching on what the government was doing to achieve its vision of a Ghana beyond aid, Dr Bawumia said a lot of work had been done in achieving strong macro-economic stability which was key to attracting trade and investment.
He said over the past 22 months “we have moved quickly to stabilise the macroeconomy; we have, through the policies that have been implemented, increased economic growth from 3.7 per cent in 2016 to 8.5 per cent at end of 2017”.
Agricultural growth, he added, had also increased from three per cent in 2016 to 8.4 per cent at the end of 2017, while industrial growth increased from a negative five per cent to 16.7 per cent within the same period.
The fiscal deficit, the Vice-President said, was brought down from 9.3 per cent in 2016 to 5.9 per cent, with inflation reducing from 15.4 per cent to 11.7 per cent along the line and now 9.5 per cent.
“Interest rates are on the decline, gross international reserves have increased and debt-to-Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio has also declined to between 55 and 57 per cent,” he added.
On digitisation, Dr Bawumia said the government was leveraging on technology to move the economy onto the next trajectory of formalisation.
He catalogued some of the initiatives, such as the introduction of a digital address system, the digitisation of passport and driving licence acquisition, a paperless goods clearing system at the ports and the digitisation of land titles.
The Vice-President also mentioned the introduction of the national identification card, which he explained would be connected with driving licence and passport to make it easy for each citizen to be uniquely identified and also enhance emergency services, as one of the significant initiatives undertaken to advance economic growth.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Ms Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, who also addressed the conference, said her outfit was working with the Belgian Embassy for the visit of a 65-member trade mission to Ghana this December to explore business opportunities.
She said the ministry would continue to promote and protect the interest of the country in its bilateral and multilateral relations with the wider international community.
In pursuant of the government’s agenda for the structural transformation of the economy, Ms Botchwey said, the ministry would continue to leverage the tools of economic diplomacy through its missions abroad to actively promote Ghanaian goods and services and attract prospective investors.
She expressed the hope that the discussions would further boost the working relations of stakeholders, while addressing the teething challenges in the pursuit of the Ghana beyond aid agenda.
Ms Botchwey said the outcome of the deliberations would provide the Foreign Ministry and its diplomatic missions abroad with the relevant information to aggressively promote made-in-Ghana goods and services and attract foreign direct investment into the country.
Trade and investment
The Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Alan Kyerematen, for his part, commended the organisers of the dialogue for sustaining the programme and urged the participants to focus on economic diplomacy.
That, he said, was because the structure, content and flavour of global diplomacy had changed from politics to economic diplomacy.
Throwing more light on President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s vision of a Ghana beyond aid, the Trade Minister said: “Ghana beyond aid is about shifting the focus in our development cooperation from over-reliance on development aid towards trade and investment.
“Basically, this is what economic diplomacy is also about and so Ghana beyond aid does not necessarily mean that we are no longer going to work with foreign aid.”
Mr Kyerematen highlighted some of the measures being instituted to attract investors, as well as job creation, such as the expansion of the country’s economy, modernisation of agriculture and industrialisation, which he said would drive the country’s transformational agenda.