The High Commissioner of Ghana to the United Kingdom (UK), Papa Owusu-Ankomah has said the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement was shifting the narrative of African from a continent of challenges and gaps to one of opportunities and prospects.
He said Africa now has counties with the fastest growing economies in the world, the most youthful population globally and a very fast-growing middle class.
These facts, he said together with the AfCFTA which gives African firms free access to one of the largest markets in the world makes the continent an attractive investment destination on many fronts.
Mr Owusu-Ankomah who said this at the maiden Ghana Diaspora Investment Meeting held in London, therefore, urged Ghanaian diasporans to take advantage of the opportunities and the platform AfCFTA agreement presents and play an important role in trade and foreign direct investment in Ghana.
He said diasporans all over the world and in the UK, in particular, were welcome to join and contribute to this historic endeavour of fostering a strong and sustainable African integration by creating entrepreneurship as well as transferring new knowledge and skills within the African Market with Ghana as the gateway.
He said the African diaspora with its globalised exposure, outlook, skills and network has a key contribution to make to the continents present endeavour to speed up economic development.
“As diasporans, it is now our turn to pay back and demonstrate to the world that our commitment to our country is only by word of mouth and rectorate but it is backed by action by putting our money where our mouth is”, he said.
“Diasporans should serve as market entry facilitators, importers, distributors and co-investors for the African initiatives while targeting global markets”, he added
According to the High Commissioner, Ghana’s strategic location – being located at the centre of the World, and being the host of the AfCFTA Secretariat makes her a more competitive destination for diaspora investment.
He said two credit rating agencies, Modes Investment Services and Standard and Poor’s, confirmed that Ghana was a good investment destination with credit ratings as B3 and B- respectively, in mid-September.
He said the two agencies, in making their decision, noted the efforts of the government of Ghana to build back better for the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic through the initiatives including Ghana COVID-19 Alleviation and Revitalisation of Enterprises Support.
He added that Ghana was noted by the two credit rating agencies to be recovering from the pandemic faster than its peers in Africa because the measure the government had put in place were working which further strengthened Ghana’s credentials as an attractive and preferred destination to invest.
Mr Owusu-Ankomah, however, noted that there are also risks and challenges involved in investing in Ghana.
He said over the years some investors who did not adhere to the rather comprehensive investment process and legal framework which can be accessed on the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) but has rather tried to cut corners sadly ended up been spoliated.
He added some potential investors rather fail to undertake adequate research in the sector they desire to invest in while others because of their excessive-high expectations run out of patients too quickly when they face the least heddle.
In a remark the UK Trade envoy to Ghana, Baroness Kate Hoey said the British Ghanaian Diaspora had an important role to play in Ghana’s development and the importance of the diaspora in mobilising investment to accelerate Ghana’s economic transformation can not be overemphasised.
“This is highlighted by the Year of Return activities which according to reports injected about $1.5 billion into Ghana’s Economy”, she added
She further stated that notwithstanding the impact of COVID-19, remittances to Ghana increased by five per cent to $3.6 billion in 2020, accounting for five per cent of Ghana’s GDP which demonstrates very clearly how much an important role the diaspora lend investment can play.
According to Madam Hoey the UK being one of the green financial centres of the world reminded committed to collaborating with Ghana on low carbon development opportunities to bring green financial opportunities to Ghana.
The maiden Ghana Diaspora Investment Meeting was organised by the GIPC and the UK Ghana Chamber of Commerce (UKGCC) to deepen the awareness and potential of the diaspora direct investment in Ghana.