15 September 2011

Ghana: Middle-Income Must Go Beyond Statistics -Veep

The Vice President, H.E. John Dramani Mahama has questioned the rationale behind Ghana's middle-income status, when the country could not provide more jobs and food for its citizens. Middle-income must go beyond statistics to provide jobs and food for the people.

Mr. Mahama made this known in a speech read for him by the Minister of Trade and Industry, Ms. Hannah Tetteh at the launch of the maiden Ghana 2011 report in Accra.

The report, dubbed -'The Report: Ghana 2011' was conducted by the renowned Oxford Business Group (OBG), a global publishing and consultancy firm, with collaboration from the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) and other institutions. The report also covers all sectors of the Ghanaian economy.

According to him, the government recognizes the importance of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to the country's economic development efforts. Foreign capital inflows in emerging economies across the world, such as Malaysia, Peru, Colombia and Brazil among others, give evidence of the importance of FDI in providing not just capital, but also the technology and the know-how that are at the base of sustainable, diversified economic development.

Mr. Mahama added that "Our government also appreciates the fact that attracting and retaining FDI requires the adoption of measures that make our country competitive, as an investment destination".

These, he said, include safeguarding macroeconomic stability to reduce uncertainty and distortions, ensuring rule of law, guaranteeing quality of institutions and efficient infrastructure, and enabling strong competition in domestic markets.

In line with economic success stories around the world, Ghana, under the leadership of President Prof. John Evans Atta Mills, aims to make business the centre-piece of economic growth.

To this end, the Vice President indicated that the government had supported measures aimed at improving the legal and regulatory framework for doing business, strengthening the financial sector, improving access to land, streamlining the business registration and licensing systems, as well as reforming customs administration and taxation.

In early 2009, Ghana started an austerity and stabilization programme to ensure sustainable growth and macroeconomic stability. This course, according to government, has led to significant progress in key macroeconomic indicators, including inflation, national reserves, interest rates and overall economic growth.

The government also sought to further deepen Ghana's democratic culture, to ensure inputs from Ghanaians at all levels into the constitutional review, encourage the smooth development of new democratic institutions and adhere strictly to the rule of law.

These measures have yielded positive results which are reflected in the rise of Ghana's international business image over the past two years as well as the inflow of FDI in 2010 and 2011. As such, Ghana was placed in 5th position in Sub-Sahara Africa and 1st in West Africa in the World Bank rankings for ease doing business in Africa for 2011.

On his part, the Chief Executive Officer of Ghana Investment Promotion Centre, Mr George Aboagye was delighted to say that, "Given the encouraging growth forecasts for coming year, Ghana has established itself as a prominent economic player and an increasingly important investment destination within both the West African region and the continent as a whole".

The Oxford Business Group Regional Editor for Africa, Mr Robert Tashima expressed confidence that with production at the Jubilee oilfield now in its ninth month, the report captured the transformation under way in the country's economic development.

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