Monday, February 8, 2016

French investors explore Ghana

By Edmund Mingle
A large French delegation will today, arrive in Ghana to explore investment and partnership opportunities that are expected to strengthen the trade, investment and institutional linkages between the two countries.

The five-day visit, which is in response to an invitation by President John Mahama, during his visit to France in October last year, is expected to pave the way for increased French investment and cooperation in Ghana.

The President's trip to France sparked interest and excitement amongst the delegates who are extremely keen to visit Ghana and experience its attractions first hand.

Mrs. Johanna Odonkor Svanikier
 Ghana's economy is one of the most successful in the West African sub-region and its human development indicators one of the highest according to analysis published in the country guide of the French Council of Investors in Africa (CIAN).

Being coordinated by the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC), the activities for the visit has been designed in a way to offer the delegates a full insight into investment, trade and co
operation opportunities in Ghana.

The delegation is made up of three segments, comprising business investors, academics and local government leaders from the Bordeaux Municipal Council.

 It is led by Mr. Pierre Goguet, Chairman of the Bordeaux Chamber of Commerce.  Bordeaux is a strategic and significant business hub in France famous for its wine and its regeneration into a smart and sustainable city.

The delegation also includes Mr. Pierre de Gaétan Njikam-Mouliom Deputy Mayor of Bordeaux and Mr. Bernard Lauret Mayor of the renowned wine-producing neighbouring town of St Émilion.

Apart from its business focus, the delegation also consists of members of academia who are expected to explore collaborative opportunities in the educational sector, and firm up exchange agreements between Ghanaian and French universities.

It is expected that a Memorandum of Understanding will be signed between the University of Ghana and Sciences Po Bordeaux University during the visit.

The areas of focus for the delegation include agro-business, hospitality and tourism, ICT, education, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, energy, packaging for export, waste management and infrastructure.

Mrs Mawuena Trebarh, CEO, GIPC
The prime objectives of the visit are to present Ghana as an attractive destination for investors due to its stable democracy, respect for rule of law and enabling business environment demonstrated by its well-established governance institutions and admirable infrastructure.

The trip is also a 'return visit' to follow up on partnerships formed amongst delegates and institutions during the President's trip to France and to achieve concrete outcomes and agreements between the private sector, academic and municipal delegates and institutions.

According to Mrs. Johanna Odonkor Svanikier, Ghana’s Ambassador to France, although French businesses have considerable interests and links with local businesses in Francophone Africa, barriers of language and culture are especially challenging for small and medium-sized companies both in France and Ghana.

“This visit is tailored to overcome these challenges by providing opportunities for extensive networking and one on one meetings with counterpart businesses as well as government and academic institutions,” she said.

On arrival, the visit which is being coordinated with the assistance of the Embassy of Ghana in Paris, will take-off with an interactive opening forum at the Kempinski Hotel with a high-level expert panel on trade and investment  accompanied by an exhibition of Ghanaian goods and services.

This will be followed by visits to critical installations and relevant institutions such as Tema Harbour, the Free Zones Area, Touton/ Niche Cocoa factories, VRA power plants, Savannah Accelerated Development Authority, and various universities and research centres including

Also, the delegation would hold discussions with President Mahama after which there would be interactive sessions with Ministers of the key sectors of the economy.

Bilateral trade between Ghana and France is currently around US$1.7billion.

It is hoped with the expected increase in investments from French businesses in addition to other foreign investments in Ghana, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) would significantly improve to support the economy.

According to statistics from the GIPC’s 2015 Quarterly Investment Report, FDI inflow in 2015 increased steadily with the third quarter recording a 52 projects representing an increase of 37 per cent and 73 per cent over the projects recorded in the first and second quarters of 2015 respectively, which increased the total number of projects registered in 2015 to 120 projects with a total estimated cost of 2.29 billion dollars and a total FDI component of 2 billion dollars, showing an increase of 18 per cent over the recorded amount in the corresponding period of 2014.

“This steady increase is expected to be maintained for the rest of the year and beyond as various initiatives continue to be embarked upon by the Centre to sustain the positive results gained so far,” the report projected. 

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