The Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Co-operation of the Netherlands, Ms Lilianne Ploumen, accompanied by a large business delegation of fifty companies, has concluded a visit to Ghana.
The mission's focus was on the development of Ghana's agrifood, horticulture, health and life science, and maritime logistics (port development).
The visit afforded the Ms Ploumen the opportunity to launch various public-private initiatives in the cocoa and water sectors as well as a vegetable production programme that aims to increase local production and develop the local market in Ghana through support for the private sector.
Addressing a news conference in Accra, yesterday, Ms Ploumen said the visit had showcased how the Netherlands and Ghana were moving gradually from development Aid to trade and investment in the private sector.
Ms Ploumen said the aid budget of the Netherlands would be refocused on the promotion of the private sector and the increase in government revenue through taxation.
She described the visit as useful, noting that several possibilities existed for joint ventures and public-private partnerships in renewable energy, sustainable electrical energy and solar energy for industrial and rural electrification, and customs procedures.
In his remarks the Netherlands Ambassador to Ghana, His Excellency Hans Docter, said enormous potential existed to intensify trade relations and to strengthen economic partnership between the Netherlands and Ghana.
Ambassador Docter noted that Ghana had lost grounds in its level of exports to the Netherlands which amounted to €700 million annually while the Netherlands, on the other hand, exported €1.1 billion to Ghana and invested €30 million annually in Ghana.
He said currently, the Netherlands was the 5th largest investor in Ghana and the 3rd largest trading partner of Ghana.
Ambassador Docter said the Netherlands purchased 20% of Ghana's cocoa and was, therefore, concerned about the declining fortunes in Ghana's cocoa production.
He, therefore, pledged the support of the Netherlands government for the revitalisation of Ghana's cocoa sector through research into the production of better varieties and training to increase yields to 1000 tonnes per hectare instead of the current 400 tonnes per hectare.
Source: ISD (G.D. Zaney)