The Government's One-District One-Factory (1D1F) programme has received a significant boost following the signing of a US$300 million cooperative agreement between the Ghana Export-Import Bank (GEXIM) and United States of America Export-Import Bank (EXIM).
The agreement ensures that EXIM provides the funds in guarantees for clients of GEXIM to source and procure machinery and equipment from the United States of America (USA) for their factories under the 1D1F initiative.
The Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta represented Ghana in the signing ceremony, while Bonnie Cybulko, Acting Vice President, Industrial and Project Finance Division, EXIM, signed on behalf of the United States in Accra yesterday.
It was done in the presence of the United States Ambassador to Ghana, Stephanie Sanders Sullivan, Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Robert Ahomka-Lindsay, Board of Directors and management of GEXIM, as well as other officials of the US Embassy in Ghana and EXIM Bank.
Mr Ofori-Atta explained that the funding was a necessary intervention to improve the capacity of local industries by retooling and adopting new technology to produce goods and services efficiently.
Increased production, he said, provided Ghana added opportunities to take advantage of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) to export goods and services to the USA market.
Despite positive macroeconomic growth over the past two years, he stated that, rising levels of importation of goods and services had resulted in the instability of the Ghana Cedi against other currencies.
He reiterated the government's commitment to pursuing industrialisation to reduce importation, increase export and create employment opportunities for Ghanaians.
On her part, Ambassador Sullivan stated that the agreement was to address challenges faced by Ghanaian businesses and entrepreneurs in accessing credit at affordable rates with soft repayment terms to aid business expansion.
"This collaboration between our respective Export-Import banks creates a welcome opportunity for companies to adopt cutting-edge USA technologies and equipment and to finance them at competitive rates. That means companies can grow, become more competitive, hire more workers and pay taxes that can finance Ghana's development," she added.
Additionally, the agreement would support the government's goals to increase industrialisation, create jobs, diversify the economy and transform Ghana's manufacturing sector for increased exports to the USA, Ambassador Sullivan noted.
As an Ambassador, she said, it was one of her top priorities to increase investment and trade between the two countries, which totalled US$1.4 billion in 2018, substantially over the next three years.
Lawrence Agyinsam, Chief Executive Officer, GEXIM, said that, as the lead financing institution of 1D1F, the funds would better position GEXIM to empower and equip private sector operators to add value to their raw materials for export.
Under the agreement, he said GEXIM would serve as the borrower and the primary source of repayment for EXIM, adding that businesses could receive maximum support of US$10 million.
As a development partner, Ms. Cybulko noted that the cooperation would boost government's initiative to create sustainable employment in Ghana and increase export and assured of EXIM's commitment to support Ghana's industrial growth.