Tap­ping Into Po­ten­tial Eco­nomic Growth In Africa: Ghana Is Open For Busi­ness

Middle East Business (English) - - NEWS - By Dr Cairo D. R. Eubanks Global Oved Dei Sem­i­nary and Univer­sity (GODSU), USA

In 2016, the value of to­tal im­ports into Mid­dle Eastern coun­tries was nearly $600 mil­lion of which gold ac­counted for over $27 mil­lion and pe­tro­leum just un­der $18 mil­lion. The coun­tries that im­ported the most from Mid­dle Eastern coun­tries in­cluded China, the United States, and In­dia.

Re­ports how­ever show that there are con­sid­er­able po­ten­tial - and as yet un­tapped - en­ergy re­sources such as oil and gas within African coun­tries. This po­ten­tial for ad­di­tional ex­ports sug­gests the need for greater eco­nomic co­op­er­a­tion be­tween

Mid­dle Eastern coun­tries and the African con­ti­nent.

Un­tapped en­ergy po­ten­tial is es­ti­mated at be­tween $13 tril­lion and $14.5 tril­lion in hard coal, nat­u­ral gas, crude oil, and ura­nium. South Africa, for in­stance, is the sev­enth largest coal pro­ducer on a global scale af­ter eco­nomic gi­ants such as China, the United States, and In­dia1. Some ma­jor in­vest­ments have al­ready flowed into Africa. For ex­am­ple, in 2009 China and Africa con­ducted some $100 bil­lion in trade. The pri­mary African coun­tries for Chi­nese in­vest­ments are Nige­ria and Ghana. How­ever, other coun­tries on the con­ti­nent are also seek­ing mean­ing­ful eco­nomic part­ner­ships. Large-scale Mid­dle Eastern in­vest­ment ef­forts are al­ready ev­i­dent. For ex­am­ple, in 2012, Saudi Ara­bia in­creased its in­vest­ments into African farm­land. Saudi Ara­bia has land that is un­suit­able for agri­cul­ture and this has made the coun­try look out­side its bor­ders for arable land. Many African coun­tries do have such arable land for po­ten­tial in­vestors. About 60% of the world’s un­cul­ti­vated land is within the bor­ders of Africa. In­vest­ing in African land has al­le­vi­ated some of the food short­ages that Saudi Ara­bia has had and this ex­plains the King­dom’s in­ter­est in ex­pand­ing to coun­tries along the Nile, such as Su­dan and Ethiopia.

Ghana is open for busi­ness

Al­though his­tor­i­cally Mid­dle Eastern coun­tries have in­vested more in North African coun­tries, there has been in­creas­ing in­ter­est in the rest of Africa. For ex­am­ple, in 2015, Kenya, Uganda, South Africa, and Nige­ria wel­comed the largest num­ber of Gulf in­vestors. As of this year, there has been in­creas­ing amounts of in­ter­est in eco­nomic co­op­er­a­tion be­tween Ghana and Mid­dle Eastern coun­tries. In May, the Ghana Gulf Co­op­er­a­tion Cham­ber of Com­merce (GGCCC) was launched, the main ob­jec­tive of which is to fa­cil­i­tate eco­nomic co­op­er­a­tion and re­la­tions be­tween Ghana and Gulf coun­tries such as the United Arab Emi­rates, Kuwait, Saudi Ara­bia, Qatar, Oman, and Bahrain. Ghana aims to strengthen mu­tu­ally ben­e­fi­cial busi­ness ties with Gulf States. Ear­lier this year, Pres­i­dent Aku­foAddo of Ghana, spoke about his coun­try’s de­sire to seek eco­nomic re­la­tion­ships with Gulf coun­tries, stat­ing; “Ghana is open for busi­ness.” And in Septem­ber of this year, the newly in­stalled 19th Ghana­ian Am­bas­sador to the United States, His Ex­cel­lency Dr. Bar­fuor Ad­jeiBar­wuah, echoed the same sen­ti­ment whilst be­ing hon­oured at the Global Oved Dei Sem­i­nary and Univer­sity (GODSU) Em­power U Women’s Con­fer­ence and Fall 2017 Grad­u­a­tion, in Sil­ver Spring, Mary­land, USA.

Per­fect for long-term in­vest­ment

Pre­vi­ous con­cerns about in­vest­ments in West African coun­tries be­ing high-risk due to a coun­try's in­sta­bil­ity, as well as the cost of de­vel­op­ing es­sen­tial in­fra­struc­ture, are no longer valid. With an in­crease in po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic sta­bil­ity across the re­gion, coun­tries such as Ghana are per­fect for in­ward in­vest­ment. Cur­rent sup­port­ers such as Saudi Ara­bia, amongst oth­ers, recog­nise the ben­e­fits of in­vest­ing in in­fra­struc­ture on the African con­ti­nent. Once proper in­fra­struc­ture is in place, those un­tapped re­sources can be ex­ploited in an eco­nomic way. The miss­ing link is there­fore not re­sources, but cap­i­tal and fund­ing to un­earth the re­sources. Am­bas­sador Ad­jei-Bar­wuah says, “Ghana has em­barked upon an au­da­cious pro­gramme of ‘One Dis­trict One Fac­tory’ – a pro­gramme that re­lies on agri­cul­tural pro­duc­tion and at­ten­dant agro-pro­cess­ing en­ter­prises. The idea is to add value to tra­di­tional agri­cul­tural prod­ucts with a view to in­creas­ing ex­ports. Ghana’s im­proved in­vest­ment cli­mate is re­flected in her po­lit­i­cal sta­bil­ity and so­cial co­he­sion be­sides favourable in­vest­ment leg­is­la­tion and trained work­force." Ghana pri­ori­tises tex­tile man­u­fac­tur­ing, min­ing, and in­fras­truc­tural de­vel­op­ments such as rail­ways, high­ways and air­ports as part of its long-term plan­ning.

1. 2016 fig­ures Sta­tis­ti­cal Re­view of World En­ergy 2017

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