GIPC's Economic Counsellors Dialogue 2023 


 GIPC's Economic Counsellors Dialogue 2023 

Thursday morning 6th of July the GIPC organised its 2023 Economic Counsellors Dialogue at the GIPC Office in Cantonments. Present were the economic counsellors of the different Embassies including ‘our’ Mrs Maame Awinidor Kanyirige  of the Royal Netherlands Embassy, quite a number of honorary consuls including ‘our’ Nico van Staalduinen, former head of GHANECC, the predecessor of GNBCC who is now the honorary consul for Bulgaria and last but not least my colleagues from fellow Business Councils such as Simon Madjie of the US Chamber and Adjoba Kyiamah of the UK Ghana Chamber.

The morning started at 9:30 with a promotional GIPC video about Ghana being the centre of the world, after which Mr Yofi Grant , CEO at the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre, held a welcoming speech going over the potential opportunities of the continent of  Africa where 60% of the words arable land is left and which is full of the much needed raw materials – key minerals required for the energy transition – green economy such as cobalt and lithium. Ghana for example is like Africa in 1 country, Ghana has plenty of raw materials and arable land and has the same population build up where 60% of the population will be in working age as of 2025 (with only 3,5% elderly) . This fact alone creates a lot of opportunities for business investment in Ghana. Mr Grant propagates partnership with other nations  and mentioned that Ghana is ahead in some industries where he made the example of MoMo (mobile money) where Ghanaians use their phone as their bank from which they pay and receive money. Ghana is  miles ahead in comparison with for instance The Netherlands.

After his speech the dean of the diplomatic corps, the ambassador of Lebanon spoke about mutual economic partnership and creating a level playing field. This was followed by a short panel discussion under the leadership of Mrs Adjoba Kyiamah of the UK Chamber with Mr Edward Ashong Lartey of GIPC, a representative of the China Enterprise of Commerce, Mrs Maame Awinidor of the Dutch Embassy and Mr Simon Madjie of AMCHAM.  Mrs Adjoba asked first about the success stories of investing in Ghana. Mrs Maame mentioned as success stories Niche Cocoa and Cenpower where Dutch money has been invested in. She continued to state that next to attracting investment , the more important issue is how to sustain investment; that Ghana should strive to more innovative partnerships where Ghanaians are really partnering ; far too often the relation is one-sided. Also when you do invest for instance in the setup of a processing site where you process some vegetables you need to be supplied, this can be challenging. Other panel members remarked as challenges in Ghana the implementation of the localisation component and can an investor chose his own local partner. The Chinese rep was hoping on more investment opportunities in the infrastructure.

Next to the panel discussion was a presentation of the after care division of the GIPC – see attachment. The after care division of the GIPC can assist investors which are confronted by problems –  for example an investing company was confronted  with  very high bills from 2 Municipalities at the same time where you as investor had already paid the agreed fee. They immediately forced the close down of the company (a new investor !) and the company asked the assistance of the GIPC after care division who solved the issue. After this presentation the audience could react and ask questions.

The hon. Consul for Chili, who also runs a business in Ghana, mentioned the challenges with the GRA who are auditing your company almost  once every 2 months ;  Mr Nico van Staalduinen who mentioned that investment from Europe can be affected when Ghana implements its anti- LGBTQ law because European investors might be at risk in their own countries due the existing anti-discrimination and inclusive rules and regulations – some organisation can go to the courts and attack the investing company for investing in Ghana. There was also a remark from the audience that 10 years ago Foreign Direct Investment was 10% of GDP while now it’s only 2% and is anticipated to grow to 3,5% . On that Mr Grant responded that 10 years ago a lot of big investments in oil, gas and gold contributed to this. At present there are much more smaller investors so the amount of foreign investors is up.

On the question of myself in which I remarked about GIPC its role – GIPC should be there for us but nowadays more and more companies are confronted with new rules and regulations from commissions such as the Mineral, Petroleum, Energy commission as well as the NCA – all overruling GIPC. So you started as a foreign investor in warehousing, logistics or transport and you have been supplying or servicing a mining company for the past 10 years ; you are suddenly confronted with a letter from the Minerals Commission stating that your company has to become 100% Ghanaian owned with 100% Ghanaian Management otherwise you cannot supply or service the Mining company anymore . This contradicts Ghana’s own laws where an indigenous business should have 51% Ghana ownership and 80% Ghanaian Management. As a result the company has to disinvest and seek other markets  . In answering this Mr Grant stated that they are preparing a new investment code where everybody falls under one umbrella. As a result  there will be no conflicts or inconsistencies with other commissions and it will make the GIPC a stronger and more aggressive organisation where the investor is the key partner hence stronger ties with the investor.  This answer pleased me and I am looking forward to this.  At the end a group picture was taken.


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