Veep urges increased Ghana-France trade

VICE-PRESIDENT Kwesi Amissah-Arthur yesterday, opened the Ghana-Bordeaux Business Forum aimed at exposing French investors to business opportunities in the country, and called for increased trade between the two countries.

He said although the balance of trade between the two countries favoured Ghana, there was a need to do more for the benefit of both countries.

“In the past 15 years, we have witnessed a rapid increase in economic and commercial relations. The trade balance favours Ghana, making France probably the only developed country with which Ghana has a positive balance of trade,” he noted.

In 2013, Ghana’s export to France reached 1.2 billion dollars, while 2014 and 2015 recorded one billion dollars and 650 million dollars respectively, in export earnings.Vice President Amissah Arthur(fifth from left),Mrs. Svanikier(fourth from right) and Mrs. Trebarh(second left)in a group[ photograph with the French delegation.

On the other hand, imports from France were worth 340 million dollars, 270 million dollars and 268 million dollars in 2013, 2014 and 2015 respectively.

“Clearly, our objective must be to increase the extent of trade,” the Vice President said, believing that the reason French businesses continued to maintain interest in Ghana was Ghana’s reputation as a performing African economy.

Noting that Ghana was currently hosting about 60 French companies, he described the visit by the delegation and the growing French interest in Ghana,  as timely, indicating that current stabilisation of the micro-economy, improvement in infrastructure and the implementation of various interventions to support the private sector, made it the right time to invest in Ghana.

The Vice-President commended the delegation from Bordeaux, a significant business hub in France, for choosing Ghana, stressing that “because we welcome investment into all sectors of our economy”.

The French Ambassador to Ghana, Francois Pujolas, for his part, noted that the French government remained confident in the Ghanaian economy, and indicated its readiness to support Ghana’s economic growth agenda.

“France believes in the Ghanaian economy and its capacity to deal with the challenges,” he stressed.

In that regard, he said the French government was encouraging French businesses to take interest and invest in Ghana.

The increasing number of visits by French investors to Ghana, he said was indicative of the desire for increased trade between the two countries through what he described as inclusive partnership.

The forum was to create the platform for the French delegation, made up of members of academia, municipal councils and investors from the Bordeaux Chamber of Commerce, to have an insight into investment opportunities in Ghana, and strike potential partnership deals with their local counterparts.

Mr. Pujolas reminded the delegation of the importance of the visit to the progress of the bilateral relations between the two countries, saying their relationship was now focused more on economic partnership, which the outcome of such visits would help to promote.

The five-day visit, which is to explore investment opportunities in Ghana, is in response to an invitation extended to the investors by President Mahama during his visit to France last year.

Mrs. Johanna Odonkor Svanikier, Ghana’s Ambassador to France, who is accompanying the delegation, led by Mr. Pierre Goguet, Chairman of the Bordeaux Chamber of Commerce, believed the visit would build the foundation for significant investments and partnerships.

She noted that in the midst of world economic recession, Ghana’s economy was quietly taking off, and urged the visitors to take advantage of the networking at the forum to invest in Ghana to be part of the nation’s success story.

“There is a success story here, and you have to be part of it,” he told the member of the delegation.

Mrs. Mawuena Trebarh, Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre, for her part, called for mutual partnership between businesses from the two countries, saying the visit of the delegation presents local companies an opportunity to grow and secure a global outlook.

According to her, the centre has support programmes to help the businesses from both sides to nurture their partnerships and investment, and expressed optimism that significant outcomes would be accrued from the visit of the delegation.

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