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General News Tue, 12 May 2009

Mills' UK visit was to promote Ghana

Accra, May 12, GNA - Ms. Hannah Tetteh, Minister of Trade and Industry, on Tuesday said the main thrust of the government delegation's trip to the United Kingdom last week was to promote the country as the best business destination and investment opportunities in the West African sub-region.

Briefing journalists on President John Evans Atta Mills' official visit to the United Kingdom (UK), Ms. Tetteh who was part of the government team, said the trip afforded the officials to push for the attraction of additional investments into the country.

While admitting that the business relationship with the UK was not new, the visit provided the opportunity to strengthen the existing ones. Ms. Tetteh said discussions were held with the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of Dresdner Kleinwort Bank, the Chief Executive of International Financial Services and other investors from the Financial Services Sector.

There were also discussions with private sector investors, Ms Tetteh said, adding that, government would continue to dialogue to ensure that more of such businesses had the opportunity to join them to do business profitably in Ghana.

She said on the first day of the trip President Mills met with the Chairman of the Cadbury Group, the largest confectionery company in the UK, during which he was briefed on the Cadbury Group Cocoa Partnership aimed to help farmers increase their yields in Ghana's cocoa growing areas.

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The partnership as at January this year is active in 100 cocoa growing communities in Ghana.

Cadbury and the Fair-Trade Foundation by June this year, were working to provide Fair Trade Certification for Cadbury's Milk Chocolate, which would have effect of tripling of sales of cocoa under fair-trade terms for farmers in Ghana and would open up more opportunities for Ghanaian cocoa farmers.

Ms. Tetteh explained that the fair-trade system worked to ensure that cocoa farmers received more income for their crops as well as funds invested from the Fair-Trade Foundation for community development projects which would make sure that cultivation took place in environmentally sustainable conditions.

She said the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Trade had discussions with British Department for International Development (DFID) on the issue of Private Sector Development and Trade Facilitation adding there were discussions on the renewal of the facility and the focus areas which the government would like to have addressed in the next phase of the programme.

Ms. Tetteh said the discussion would continue in Accra with DFID and other development partners to fashion out a programme that would address the priority areas for Private Sector Investment.

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Ms. Tetteh said following discussions on promotion of trade and business relations between Ghana and the UK, the British Minister for Trade and Investment, Lord Davies of Abersoch would lead a trade delegation to Ghana in September this year.

It was agreed between the two Ministers that the Ministry of Trade and Industry in Ghana would work together with Ghanaian Business Associations to develop a list of UK businesses that they would like to attract to Ghana either to invest on their own and also on joint ventures with their Ghanaian counterparts in various business sectors in order to ensure that the country received the maximum benefits from such an investment trip.

Ms. Tetteh said the Minister of Finance emphasized the government's commitment to prudent fiscal management in order to ensure that the deficit was brought under control and to create a foundation for the country's future economic growth and development even in the face of the challenges posed by the deficit and the global economic crises. 12 May, 09

Source: GNA