Business News of 2014-01-22

Ghana to process minerals locally - Mahama hints

President John Mahama has announced plans to seek international cooperation to move Ghana from being a primary processor of mineral resources to adding value to its minerals.

According to him, this will create job avenues for the youth in the mining communities as well as boost the earnings from minerals.

"...we need to move some of that secondary processing into Ghana to create additional jobs for the young people to be able to do. We cannot continue to export gold in its raw form; we don't even refine them, we don't do polishing [and] we don't do jewellery.

"We export bauxite in its raw form and then we import alumina to feed our aluminium smelter and then we export the aluminium and re-import the aluminium to feed our industry; it just doesn't make sense".

Mr. Mahama made the comments on Wednesday, when he opened a World Economic Forum session on Responsible Mineral Development Initiative in Davos, Switzerland. The session was attended by Liberian President, Ellen Sirleaf Johnson and Guinean President, Alpha Conde.

The initiative aims at helping countries develop their mineral resources in a socially and economically responsible manner.

According to president Mahama, Ghana still lives her accolade as the Gold Coast but the sector faces a few challenges such as illegal mining and foreigners taking over large land areas and mining in environmentally unsustainable way. About 4,700 foreigners engaged in illegal mining were deported last year.

He said in addition the pieces of legislation enacted to inject sanity into the sector, there is the need for technical expertise to manage the system.

The President said it was a shame that intra African trade accounted for only 11 per cent of world trade.

Africa, he insisted, must remove all the barriers that undermine trade among African coountries.