Mr. Evans Opoku-Bobie, the Minister designate for the newly-created Ahafo Region has invited local and international investors to come and build an ultra-modern shopping mall in the 'city' of Sunyani, now Bono Regional capital.
"Currently, Sunyani is looking forward to welcome a consortium or business group that will come and establish a big shopping mall to contribute in making the place the economic capital of the three Regions of Bono, Bono East and Ahafo.
"Until recently, it was one region (Brong-Ahafo) with Sunyani as its political and economic capital", he stated.
Mr. Opoku-Bobie, a Member of Parliament (MP) for Asunafo North and now the acting Minister for the three regions – Bono, Bono East and Ahafo extended the invitation when Mr. Andrew Barnes, the Australian High Commissioner to Ghana paid a courtesy call on him on Wednesday in Sunyani.
Mr Barnes, accompanied by Ms Mercy Catherine Adjabeng, the Research and Public Affairs Officer of the High Commission was on a familiarisation visit to Sunyani at the instance of Mr. Ransford Antwi, a personal friend of Mr. Barnes and the Chief Executive Officer of Suncity Multimedia in Sunyani.
Mr. Opoku-Bobie explained that socially Sunyani provided serene and clean environment with relatively the lowest traffic congestion and air pollution challenges as compared to other regional capitals in the country.
The availability of landspace, and other natural resources in the Bono Region, he stated, Sunyani was the most suitable place for establishing businesses, citing undeveloped tourist sites and agricultural raw materials such as cocoa and cashew, foodstuff and vegetables as examples.
"it is therefore very congenial and favourable for investment in diverse industries not only in Sunyani, but Goaso, Ahafo Regional capital, Techiman, Bono East Regional capital and other Municipal and District capitals", Mr. Opoku-Bobie added.
He appealed to the High Commissioner to solicit the support of the Australian government to assist the Bono and Ahafo Regions with grants to promote socio-economic activities, adding that other areas requiring support were scholarship packages for the education of the youth to acquire employable skills.
Mr. Barnes in response recalled the long-standing bilateral relation between Australia and Ghana, and added that foreign investment was indispensable in Australia's development.
He therefore encouraged the government to continue "to embrace" foreign investment to help in propelling Ghana's development indicating that the Australian government had some educational grants, especially for post-graduate programmes.
He urged prospective applicants to verify from their website to ascertain the requirements and parameters of application.
As part of the visit, he also called on Nana Bosoma Asor II, the Paramount Chief of Sunyani at the latter's private residence to pay homage to him and some members of the Sunyani Traditional Council (STC) which included; Oboaman Bofotia Boamponsem II, 'Kurontirehene' of Sunyani, Nana Takyi Abeam, 'Dwanetoahene' of Sunyani and Nana Kwaku Sarbeng, the 'Akwamuhene' of Sunyani.
Nana Nkrawri II stated that the STC was ready to welcome particularly economics and business partnership from Australia to assist in the speedy progress of Sunyani and stressed the need for a sister-city relationship between Sunyani and any of the Australian cities such as Melbourne or Sydney in that regard.