Dr Joseph Obeng, President of the Ghana Union of Trade Associations (GUTA) has called for the need to improve cultural and business exchanges to facilitate trade partnerships between Ghanaian businesses and UK investors.
He said Ghanaian businesses must seek partners with expertise and urged them to invest in areas like manufacturing and value addition.
Dr Obeng made the call at the UK-West Africa Trade Opportunities in a COVID-19 Era; Trade Opportunities Webinar Series ORGANISED BY THE UK-Ghana Chamber of Commerce.
He said the greatest advantage in the partnership would be the UK partners or investors to have access to the Africa Continental Free Trade Area Programme.
Areas of opportunities area manufacturing in consumables, Pharmaceuticals, Agrochemical and Agro-processing, Hardware, Electricals and Electronic products, Building of Warehouses and Construction.
He said the pandemic had woefully exposed the West African Nations because they could not have met their import requirement, which was about 90 percent dormant on foreign countries especially China.
Dr Obeng said; “we have a gap of about 90 percent of the import requirement that needed to be filled to serve the West African Sub-Region with a population of about 390 million and also by extension the entire African continent of 1.2 million people.”
“Fortunately, Ghanaian business during the outbreak of the pandemic demonstrated innovations in manufacturing PPP, sanitizers, pharmaceutical drugs and other consumables that were imported initially,” he said.
He explained that the outbreak of the pandemic had been an eye-opener for developing countries like Ghana.
Mr Seth Twum Akwaboah, CEO, Association of Ghana Industries said over 80 per cent were affected negatively by the pandemic and SMEs were not left out.
He said the manufacturing sector was also affected quite severely, however, some sectors or companies benefitted.
“It also created other opportunities that we need to take advantage of,” he added.
He said key area of investment includes agro-processing, where there was the need for value addition to primary products, growing demand for cashew and processed Cocoa, Manufacturing (need to expand the pharmaceutical supply chain), aluminium, salt production, energy generation and infrastructure.
Mr Akwaboah said with the recent launch of the National Export Development Strategy, there were some priority products including cashew nuts/ proceed cashew, ginger, coconut, Shea nut, mango, pineapple, yam, oil palm, garment, services and handicraft.
Madam Jennifer Blagogee, Head of External Relations, UK-Ghana Chamber of Commerce said they were happy to welcome any UK businesses, who intended to explore opportunities in West Africa and urged them to take advantage of the platform.
“UK Businesses, who look forward to doing business in Ghana should reach out to the Chamber, while it also continues to create business networks,” she added.