Led by President Nana Akufo-Addo’s administration, Ghana is working to empower its sectors in its goal to become one of Africa’s most appealing investment destinations.
At the Expo 2020 Dubai this year, His Excellency President Nana Akufo-Addo delivered a speech that highlighted the nation’s potential and his hopes for a prosperous future. Accompanied by the Minister of Trade and Industry, Hon. Alan John Kyerematen, and the Minister of Information, Hon. Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, the president spoke of the vibrancy and potential of the Ghanaian economy, saying, “Our engagement at the Expo is based on opportunity because we are a nation of unquestionably attractive opportunities. We see challenges as opportunities that will serve as catalysts for growth.”
Ghana has worked toward sustained economic recovery after the pandemic and is a country noted for its safety, ease of doing business and position as the largest recipient of FDI in West Africa. The President confirmed, “We are a country where investments are secure and protected under a governance system. Ghana is ready for business and a land of opportunity for private capital and is creating a business-friendly economy. The realisation of the government’s transformational agenda is hinged primarily at creating space for the private sector to thrive, thereby creating jobs that young people need.” For these reasons, the nation has worked to create a favourable environment for investors to explore the nation’s vast opportunities with a dynamic economy upheld by diverse industries including agriculture, oil and gas and mining. In addition, its participation in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) affirms its role in the larger African market, highlighting future opportunities for investment.
“The realisation of the government’s transformational agenda is hinged primarily at creating space for the private sector to thrive, thereby creating jobs that young people need.”
His Excellency President Nana Akufo-Addo
The agricultural sector is a key economic driver. As Ghana imports over US$450 million worth of rice alone annually and also substantial amounts of chicken, meat and dairy products, there is a potential in the local investment of crops and livestock. These industries and the well-being of the Ghanaian economy are all protected by the mandates of the Food and Drugs Authority. “Our vision is to protect the health of all the people living in Ghana and to be a centre of excellence for food and drugs and all the products that we regulate,” says Delese Mimi Darko, CEO of the FDA. Additionally, initiatives such as Planting for Food and Jobs have increased food production, where efforts from companies like Olam Ghana have helped create a 34% increase in paddy rice. Amit Agrawal, President and Regional Head of Olam, states, “The current government and Minister of Agriculture have launched the Planting for Food programme. This was a good opportunity for us to respond as a corporate, take our experience with rice from outside the country and bring it to the benefit of the value chain here.”
As with many African nations, the oil and gas industry in Ghana holds investment potential. Following Ghana’s oil discovery in commercial quantities and ongoing exploration activities, opportunities exist for investors and corporations alike.
Hon. Kwame Osei-Prempeh, Group CEO & Managing Director of GOIL Company, Ltd., states, “Our vision is to maintain our lead as the number one oil marketing company in Ghana and to diversify from fuel products to other sectors so that we can go international and be strengthened in the offshore business upstream.”
Ghana’s Jubilee Field, worth up to US$2 billion, has caught the eye of many oil and gas investors to Ghana and has seen the sector grow substantially in recent years. Regulating bodies such as the National Petroleum Authority are entrusted with its management to ensure that the Ghanaian people receive the highest benefit from the nation’s natural resources. “Since its establishment in 2005, the NPA has done a very good job to regulate the downstream petroleum industry. This regulatory power and efficiency have allowed for a very structured and organised downstream industry,” states Dr Mustapha Abdul-Hamid, CEO of the NPA.
The mining sector is also an important part of Ghana’s economy, contributing US$809.4 million to Ghana’s GDP, where gold accounts for over 90% of mining activities. Ghana is the leading gold producer in Africa and the 6th largest in the world, where its production yielded 117.6 tons of gold in 2021 alone. Investing in gold mining and services provides a potential investment opportunity, especially with the new Bibiani and Chirano Gold Mines. Dave Anthony, President and CEO of Asante Gold, states, “These two mines control what is probably the most prolific future gold belt in Ghana. Between them, there are over 8 million ounces that have been produced and a 54-kilometre zone that remains unexplored.”
Aside from gold, the mineral industry is also thriving. The industrial salt sector is gaining significant traction following the investment by the Minerals Income Investment Fund (MIIF). This diversification strategy is based on the fact that salt is projected to become a top industrial earner by 2030. “The plan to boost salt production and the development of its allied value chain should yield about US$2 billion to the Ghanaian economy beginning in 2027, with the potential to create more than 10,000 direct and indirect jobs in the next five years,” says Edward Nana Yaw Koranteng, CEO of MIIF. The mineral will generate new economic vibrancy for the areas known for salt production such as Ada, Sege, Keta, Ningo and Winneba. Currently, Ghana and Senegal are the only countries in West Africa with the potential for large-scale industrial salt production.
While Ghana is boldly pursuing its mission to attract investment, it also recognises the importance of sustainability and mitigating the impacts of climate change. Ghana is working toward its energy transition journey, and companies like Harlequin are helping to push its agenda forward. Daniel Christopher Hesse-Tetteh, Executive Director of Harlequin International, states, “Our motivation is to move from oil and gas and enter industries where the future is good, such as renewable energy, where we can add value as a fabrication engineering company.” With the growing demand for energy and the country’s dependence on fossil fuels, the government is eager to tap renewable sources to diversify the energy mix.
In an effort to empower the economy and create a better economic future, Ghana has worked to establish the institutions necessary to facilitate its growth. Gideon Ataraire, CEO of Allianz Ghana, states, “My hope for Ghana’s future is that it will continue to grow, that it will continue to be strong and it will continue to have solid institutions.” The nation is a key player in the West African sub-region, allowing investors to tap into the ECOWAS region’s market size of over 421 million.
Supporting Ghana’s growing workforce has been one of President Akufo-Addo’s main priorities for the nation’s growth and to secure investments. Arguably one of the biggest policy initiatives in Ghana’s history, the ‘Free Senior High School’ policy by the Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo government has led to an 11% increase in enrolment, breaking records from previous years. Since it began in 2017, the Free SHS policy has seen 1,261,495 prospective students enrolled in senior high school, further supporting the future of Ghana through education.
From an investment standpoint, Ghana has a multitude of natural and legislative endowments that lend to its investment potential. Ramesh Sadhwani, Joint Managing Director of Melcom, states, “In terms of peace, Ghana is the place to be. The quality of living is higher compared to other West African countries. Here, everything is available.” In addition, the global economic climate and value of the dollar have created a perfect moment for investors to seek new prospects and invest in Ghana. On top of it all, Ghana boasts a transparent government that is dedicated to working toward creating an enterprising atmosphere to foster innovative ideas that will lead to lucrative enterprises.