President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo says the country no longer wants to be dependent on the production and export of raw materials, including cocoa beans.
He said the nation intended to process more and more of its cocoa beans, with the aim of producing more chocolate, “because we believe there can be no future prosperity for the Ghanaian people, in the short, medium or long term if we continue to maintain economic structures that are dependent on the production and export of raw materials.”
President Akufo-Addo made this known last Friday, when he delivered a statement at the Federal Assembly of the Swiss Confederation in Bern, Switzerland, as part of a two-day state visit to that country, the first in 60 years by a Head of State from sub-Saharan Africa.
He reiterated the commitment of his government “to add value to our raw materials, industrialise and enhance agricultural productivity. This is the best way we can put Ghana at the high end of the value chain in the global market place and create jobs for the teeming masses of Ghanaians”.
President Akufo-Addo told Swiss investors of the growing business-friendly climate in Ghana, urged them to take advantage of the country’s unique position as host of the Secretariat of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to set-up joint venture enterprises in the country, and, thereby, access the huge market that the free trade area presented.
President Akufo-Addo stated that since assuming office on January 7, 2017, his government had continued to put in place a number of measures aimed at attracting investment in Ghana, as well as stimulating the growth of the private sector.
“We have succeeded, over the last three years, in ensuring that all our macroeconomic indices are pointing in the right direction; cut our fiscal deficit; introduced a monetary policy that is stabilising the currency and reducing significantly the cost of borrowing; and have introduced a raft of tax cuts which are bringing relief to and encouraging businesses,” he said.
The President explained that those interventions had led to Ghana recording an annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP) average growth rate of seven per cent since 2017, making the country, consistently, one of the world’s fastest growing economies during the period.
“We have one of the most business-friendly economies in Africa, evidenced in our status as the largest recipient of foreign direct investment in West Africa,” the President said.
President Akufo-Addo told members of the Federal Council that his country had also been selected to host the Secretariat of the AfCFTA, a market of some 1.2 billion people, with a combined GDP of $3 trillion.
Describing it as “the world’s largest free trade area since the formation of the World Trade Organisation”, and stressed that “our goal is to make Ghana the hub of trade in Africa.”
President Akufo-Addo reassured Members of the Federal Assembly that Ghana was fully committed to democratic principles where respect for individual liberties and human rights, the rule of law and the principles of democratic accountability were at the core of its body politic.
“Ghana stands shoulder to shoulder with Switzerland in our joint determination to promote and protect human rights across the globe,” President Akufo-Addo added.
He expressed the hope that “as we shape the future of Ghana, and position Ghanaian enterprises to compete effectively on the world stage, we have friends, such as the Swiss Confederation, to support us in this objective.
President Akufo-Addo described the relations between Ghana and Switzerland as excellent and paid tribute to the work undertaken by the Basel Missionaries, who arrived in the then Gold Coast to undertake evangelical work.
The missionaries, who pioneered the establishment of educational and health institutions across the country, are also responsible for the translation of the Bible from English into some Ghanaian languages.
“I have also personally benefited from these very good relations, because the first European Head of State to visit Ghana, when I assumed office as the 5th President of Ghana’s 4th Republic, on 7th January, 2017, was your 91st President, Mrs Doris Leuthard,” President Akufo-Addo added.
In a speech to welcome the President and his delegation, part of which was rendered in Twi, the Swiss Prime Minister, Ms Simonetta Sommaruga, expressed Switzerland’s happiness to receive the delegation, saying “this state visit is historic and logical”.
She said relations between Switzerland and Ghana had for decades been charactarised by mutual respect, adding, “The strongest ties between the two countries are the shared values with regard to democracy and the rule of law and our commitment to stability and world peace.”