Bordeaux ready for business : President Mahama

FRENCH DELEGATION VISITS GHANA

A large French delegation arrived in Ghana on Monday, February 6th, to explore investment and partnership opportunities that are expected to strengthen the trade, investment and institutional linkages between the two countries. The visit will be coordinated by the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) and delegates will be treated to a full programme of activities during their 5 day visit.

The visit is in response to an invitation extended by H.E. President John Mahama during his visit to France last October and is expected to pave the way for increased French investment and cooperation in Ghana.  The President’s trip to France sparked interest and excitement amongst the delegates who are extremely keen to visit Ghana and experience its attractions first hand.  Ghana’s economy is one of the most successful in the West African sub-region and its Human Development Indicators one of the highest according to analysis published in the country guide of the French Council of Investors in Africa (CIAN).

The delegation is made up of three segments, comprising business investors, academics and local government leaders from the Bordeaux Municipal Council. It is led by Mr. Pierre Goguet, Chairman of the Bordeaux Chamber of Commerce.  Bordeaux is a strategic and significant business hub in France famous for its wine and its regeneration into a smart and sustainable city.  The delegation also includes Mr. Pierre de Gaétan Njikam-Mouliom Deputy Mayor of Bordeaux and Mr. Bernard Lauret Mayor of the renowned wine-producing neighbouring town of St Émilion.

Apart from its business focus, the delegation also consists of members of academia who are expected to explore collaborative opportunities in the educational sector, and firm up exchange agreements between Ghanaian and French universities. It is expected that a Memorandum of Understanding will be signed between the University of Ghana and Sciences Po Bordeaux University during the visit.

The areas of focus for the delegation include agro-business, hospitality and tourism, ICT, education, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, energy, packaging for export, waste management and infrastructure.  The prime objectives of the visit are to present Ghana as an attractive destination for investors due to its stable democracy, respect for rule of law and enabling business environment demonstrated by its well-established governance institutions and admirable infrastructure.

The trip is also a ‘return visit’ to follow up on partnerships formed amongst delegates and institutions during the President’s trip to France and to achieve concrete outcomes and agreements between the private sector, academic and municipal delegates and institutions.  According to Mrs. Johanna Odonkor Svanikier, Ghana’s Ambassador to France, although French businesses have considerable interests and links with local businesses in Francophone Africa, barriers of language and culture are especially challenging for small and medium-sized companies both in France and in Ghana.  This visit is tailored to overcome these challenges by providing opportunities for extensive networking and one on one meetings with counterpart businesses as well as government and academic institutions.

The programme organised by GIPC with the assistance of the Embassy of Ghana in Paris will kick-off with an interactive Opening Forum at the Kempinski Hotel with a high-level expert panel on trade and investment  accompanied by an exhibition of Ghanaian goods and services.  This will be followed by visits to critical installations and relevant institutions such as Tema Harbour, the Free Zones Area, VRA power plants, and various Universities and Research Centres.

A trip to Tamale is much anticipated, weather permitting as well as a trip to Ashesi University and to Mampong, Akwapim where the delegates are to be shown the first Cocoa farm in Ghana planted by Tetteh Quarshie. It is the hope that a partnership between Ghana Cocobod, the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG), domestic tour operators and investors can create a ‘Cocoa Trail’ where tourists can visit Tetteh Quarshie’s Cocoa farm and see, touch and sample cocoa pods and buy made in Ghana cocoa products. This idea takes its inspiration from the added value derived from the lucrative wine industry in places like Bordeaux and St. Émilion by combining agriculture with tourism.

Bilateral trade between Ghana and France is currently around US$1.7bn. According to statistics from the GIPC’s 2015 Quarterly Investment Report, FDI inflows in 2015 increased steadily with the third quarter recording 52 projects representing an increase of 37 per cent and 73 per cent over the projects recorded in the first and second quarters of 2015 respectively, which increased the total number of projects registered in 2015 to 120 projects with a total estimated cost of 2.29 billion dollars and a total FDI component of 2 billion dollars, showing an increase of 18 per cent over the recorded amount in the corresponding period of 2014.  “This steady increase is expected to be maintained for the rest of the year and beyond as various initiatives continue to be embarked upon by the Centre to sustain the positive results gained so far,” the report projected.

Source: Ghana Embassy Paris

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