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Business News Thu, 11 Jun 2015

Belgium to expand its investment frontiers

Mr. Peter Huyghebaert, Belgium’s Ambassador to Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire and Liberia, has said Belgium offers opportunity to Ghanaians to reach 200 consumers in a radius of 500 kilometres, thanks to its central position and quality logistics infrastructures.

He said this when a delegation from Belgium and Greece led by the Flanders Investment and Trade Agency in collaboration with the Consulate of Belgium held a two-day information session on Business Opportunities in the country in Accra last week.

He said sea and inland ports, canals, airports, rail, road and motorway networks, and the various communication channels in Belgium are constantly being adapted to the economy’s needs.

“The port of Antwerp is the 2nd-busiest European port, and has the largest petrochemical complex in Europe,” Mr. Huyghebaert explained.

He said there are many other reasons that explain Belgium’s economic success, including a highly-qualified, multi-lingual and flexible workforce; proximity with the international decision-making sphere based in Brussels; many financial and tax incentives; affordable property prices; legendary hospitality; excellent social security and more.

Mr. Kweku Ricketts-Hagan, Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry said the country’s total trade with Belgium has increased almost three-fold in the last five years, from GH¢795.3million in 2010 to GH¢2,236.6million in 2014.

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The main items exported to Belgium include cocoa beans, tropical sawn timber, veneer sheets and plywood, yam and Shea nuts.

“Imports from Belgium cover a wide range of manufactured products, such as machinery and equipment; dairy products, pharmaceuticals, electrical goods, motor vehicles and clothing,” he said.

Mr. Ricketts-Hagan said exports to Belgium average at GH¢350.0million while imports average GH¢1,178.6million, indicating that Ghana is always in deficit.

“Ghana’s competitiveness in attracting FDI has yielded positive results. Over the past five years, total FDI into Ghana stands at US$20.2billion covering 1,900 projects, according to a release by the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre,” he explained.

Mr. Ricketts-Hagan said “We have very high expectation to attract more FDI, particularly into the infrastructure sector where the huge deficit we face poses a challenge”.

Meanwhile, FDI from Belgium from 2010 to 2014 is estimated at US$100million -- accounting for just 0.5% of the total FDI, while that from Greece for the same period is estimated at US$1.8million; just about 0.01% of total FDI inflow.

Source: B&FT
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