British High Commissioner to Ghana, Mr Jon Benjamin, says Ghana will continue to enjoy duty and quota free access to the United Kingdom (UK) market following the ratification of the interim Economic Partnership Agreement. This, he said, could create the much needed employment opportunities amongst Ghanaian export companies.
Mr Benjamin said this during the launch of the UK-Ghana Chamber of Commerce (UKGCC) in Accra. He said the UKGCC would promote, foster, and represent UK business interest in Ghana; directly helping UK companies to identify market opportunities and providing them with a first point of call when looking to do business in and trade with Ghana. Mr Benjamin said this would also be another avenue for UK exporters to access high quality market support.
“It will represent the interests of UK investors looking to bring investments to Ghana and provide tailored support to existing UK investors,” he stated. He said the Chamber would also support Ghanaian companies who want to connect with the UK to help their companies grow.
He said as the Chamber develops, it would be able to provide services to help Ghanaian companies who want to export to, and invest in, the UK. Mr Benjamin said it is important to recognize that UK companies have a huge choice as to where they trade and invest worldwide, as such; they were naturally driven by hard business calculations, not sentiments. He said, however, market conditions and sound economic management in Ghana would be a key consideration for those companies; they were encouraging to become involved here.
The High Commissioner said in that respect, they have noted the continued progress the Government of Ghana has made in tackling various macroeconomic challenges in line with its programme with the International Monetary Fund. He said such progress was essential to boost investor confidence and growth, along with action to tackle other potential barriers to business, such as the regulatory environment, including licensing rules, customs procedures and land registration issues. Mr Benjamin said they were happy to be making a major investment through its Department for International Development to promote some of Ghana’s most promising start-ups with the best potential for creating jobs for young Ghanaians, and to build up a more structured public-private dialogue. He said it was also aimed at further improving the overall business environment; adding that as an example of that support, their Business Enabling Environment Programme would be hosting a Better Regulation Forum in Accra later this month.
Ms Hannah Tetteh, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, tasked UKGCC to establish a common platform where both countries could promote trade in all products that could penetrate through the UK market from Ghana and vice versa. She said Ghana is the fifth largest trading partner of the UK in Sub- Saharan Africa and are both members of the Commonwealth; which implies they have shared values within the greater frame of the Commonwealth. The Foreign Minister said it was important to make use of this relationship to be able to set a framework that does not only creates a platform for increased business between Ghana and the UK, but Ghana, UK and other Commonwealth countries.
In his remarks, Mr Tony Burkson, Chief Executive Officer for UKGCC, expressed gratitude to his colleagues at the British High Commission and particularly the Department for International Trade who have been supportive and helpful during the process of setting up the Chamber. He said the Chamber currently has a membership of 20 companies and was hopeful of seeing more companies would be joining with time. He said in the coming weeks, UKGCC would be organizing investment tours from the UK, breakfast meetings with business leaders and networking events.
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