We’ll not abandon friends, partners - Akufo-Addo tells UK Minister
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has said that although Ghana has made a commitment to manage its resources honestly to propel its economy towards development, it will not shun its friends and partners across the world.
To strengthen its partnerships with its partners, he said, Ghana was exploring all avenues to attract strategic investors who could help add value to its resources and thereby create employment and develop its infrastructure.
The President said this when the United Kingdom (UK) Minister of State for Africa, Ms Harriet Baldwin, paid courtesy call on him at the Jubilee House in Accra on Tuesday.
Ms Baldwin is in Ghana to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for a £20-million facility from the UK government to help implement projects that will create jobs and promote the government’s economic transformation agenda.
In addition, the facility is expected to facilitate over £50 million worth of private sector investment that will drive Ghana’s economic transformation.
Over the last few years, the UK had committed £1 billion worth of investment to Ghana, doubled its export finance credit and given £500 million to support Ghana’s business activities with the UK.
President Akufo-Addo said it was to develop the country through the development of its resources that Ghana had embraced the programme of economic transformation that would lead to greater positive change, especially job creation and infrastructure development that Ghana was working towards.
He said infrastructure development was at the heart of Ghana’s national economic transformation because without it the attainment of economic development would be difficult, adding that it was welcome news that the British government was providing support towards Ghana’s development.
He stated that Ghana was aware of the fact that the UK was coming out of the EU, hence the need to review the nature of its relationship with its trading partners such as Ghana.
The President said Ghana was aware of the need for discussions on the free trade agreement between Ghana and the UK following the decision of the UK to leave the EU.
He said Ghana was looking up to investment by various UK companies that would assist it in its value addition drive, as well as the creation of employment opportunities and revenue for the state.
He said the country was keen on seeing the likes of British Petroleum (BP) come for its oil and Liberty for the bauxite to assist it to realise its vision of being an exporter of finished products from oil and bauxite to derive the maximum benefits.
President Akufo-Addo said although all the countries in West Africa were under democratic rule, the issue of Boko Haram and jihadist insurgents was of grave concern to the sub-region and called for support to deal decisively with that situation.
Ms Baldwin said the UK was one of the largest direct investors in many countries in Africa but Prime Minister Theresa May was setting out her ambition to make the UK the largest G7 investor in Africa.
She said Ghana had benefited from the UK’s private sector investment which had led to the creation of companies such as Blue Skies at Dobro in the Greater Accra Region, adding that a Ghana-UK Business Summit to accelerate investments from the UK to Ghana was scheduled to take place in Ghana in October this year.
The summit in Accra would be followed up with another investment forum in the UK, after which there would be periodic meetings every six months to discuss further business opportunities, she said.
She said the UK had stepped up its support in dealing with violent extremism by providing some equipment and gave an assurance that the issues in Libya would be addressed.