Ghana is pursuing an “aggressive private sector-led investment drive” to fulfill a commitment by the government to reduce dependency on aid, Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia, has said.
The move “Ghana beyond aid” is being driven by President Nana Akufo-Addo, who wants the country to use its vast natural resources to fund its development.
“We are under no illusion that this is easier said than done,” the Vice President told delegates at the two-day Ghana Investment and Opportunities Summit 2018, held in London.
“But an even greater illusion is to think that we can build a sustainably good society on the inexhaustible charity of others.”
“History provides no such examples. And we cannot hope that our fortunes will be different”, he added.
He said, to achieve a Ghana less dependent on aid for its development, there would be a need to build “some long-term pillars”.
“We are clear in our minds that aiming for a Ghana beyond aid requires the mobilisation and leveraging of domestic savings and revenues, as well as our vast resources in a more effective and efficient manner to ensure development and create wealth for the people.”
“The vision to build a Ghana beyond aid should not be seen as mere rhetoric. Nor should it be seen as one of the many passing political platitudes in the past.”
Dr Bawumia said the President and his government were clear in their thinking about where they wanted to take the nation and the pathways of getting there.
“Judging from our history and our vision for the future, there is no doubt that we need to rethink how we develop as a country.
It has become obvious that we need to be more efficient and effective in managing our resources to ensure rapid economic growth and transformation to shift from over-reliance on foreign aid.”
The Vice President noted that to be able to attract the right level of fair, mutually beneficial investment and trade, the local economy should be seen to be sound and business-friendly.
“This has been a major pre-occupation of the government since coming into office in January 2017.”
He said in the past 22 months, “we have secured significant improvements in the trends of key macroeconomic indicators such as inflation, exchange rates, and real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rates,” adding: “Ghana’s economy is projected to record one of the highest growth [rates] in the world in 2018”.
Vice President Bawumia told prospective investors at the Summit: “We are with you here in the UK for strategic reasons”.
“Apart from the historical political and economic ties between the UK and Ghana, both countries have been business allies for many years.”
According to the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC), in the last 30 years almost 430 UK-owned businesses were established in the country while over 150 were joint ventures.
During this period foreign direct investments by the UK-owned projects totalled US$6.6 billion while the joint venture projects had total investments of US$6.3 billion.
Mr. Graham Stuart, Minister for Investment at the UK’s Department for International Trade, said that “Ghana beyond aid” was an ambitious vision that the UK would like to be part of.
UK Prime Minister Theresa May, he said, planned to make the UK the G7’s largest private sector investor in Africa by 2022.
Mr Stuart said that the recent UK-Ghana summit in Accra and that in London were the first steps to turning Mrs. May’s words into action.
He announced that Mrs May would host a UK-Africa Summit in 2019.
The Ghanaian High Commissioner to the UK, Papa Owusu-Ankomah, said the Summit, under the broad theme “Mobilising for Ghana Beyond Aid”, was “aimed at positioning Ghana as a true partner for economic development and also bring into sharp focus the critical role of the Ghanaian Diaspora in this endeavour”.
“This Summit is also taking place on the heels of the recent release by Standard and Poor giving Ghana a B Credit Rating with a stable outlook after several years of B with a negative outlook” and he said “the current rating makes Ghana a low-risk but high investment return destination”.
The two-day summit was organised by the Ghana High Commission in the UK in partnership with the GIPC.