Interview:  Alex Apau Dadey

How can Ghana effectively maximise the impact of diaspora human capital to stimulate economic investment in the country?

DADEY: The country’s most precious asset is its diaspora. Therefore, it is important to encourage policies that will facilitate political and economic inclusion. Ghanaians living abroad have always aided in the growth of the economy, but in order to fully utilise this previously untapped resource, more coordinated measures must be taken to engage this group and incentivise them to invest at home.

Ghana’s best bet for quickening economic development should be diaspora direct investment. Compared to obtaining loans and foreign direct investment from multilateral institutions, which have strict conditions attached, the advantages of this strategy are substantial. The government could also connect diaspora residents with local business owners by introducing tailored products like direct, portfolio and philanthropic investment opportunities. Sharing the collective experiences of diasporans across the continent in a narrative in line with a targeted investment strategy is critical to unlocking a multi-billion-dollar opportunity and realising the full potential of diaspora investment. Using the success stories of diasporans who have returned home to invest as models will be crucial to efforts to encourage others to invest in the country.

What role is the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) expected to play in improving Ghana’s international business appeal?

DADEY: Regional officials have praised Ghana’s selection as host of the Secretariat of the AfCFTA, citing the country’s importance to trade. The primary objective of the AfCFTA extends beyond mere regional integration; it seeks to create a unified market by bringing together African countries and aims to eliminate tariffs on 90% of goods produced on the continent, along with addressing various non-tariff barriers. Ghana’s hosting of the coordinating body marks a historic first. The hope is that Ghana will be able to replicate the achievements of other African capitals that have hosted the UN and the African Union, and leverage its strategic location to become a trade gateway in West Africa.

Other elements that are favourable to investment in Ghana include the economy’s robust expansion, notwithstanding the macroeconomic difficulties brought on by external shocks and structural flaws. With an average annual GDP growth of around 6% between 2000 and 2022, it ranks among the world’s fastest-growing economies. In addition, Ghana’s history of relative peace and security amid an unstable sub-region enhances its investment appeal.

In what ways can the private sector be mobilised to invest in Ghana’s digital economy, and what relevant opportunities exist in the space?

DADEY: Technology is essential for economic expansion in developing countries, and Ghana is actively embracing this concept. Opportunities exist for private players to invest in digitalising public services, thus enhancing productivity, efficiency and profitability. Digitalising business processes across industries such as technology innovation, agri-business, financial technology, logistics, property development, gaming and commerce offers prospects for growth and job creation.

Effective collaboration between the private sector and the government will be pivotal for the country’s economic transformation. Such a framework will further strengthen the provision of digital services, e-commerce and the country’s overall digitalisation initiatives. This will allow the private sector to effectively contribute to the government’s digitalisation programme by providing expertise in technical digital services. In the lottery industry, for example, a collaboration with the private sector to digitalise games has led to enhanced gaming experiences, improved customer service and increased revenue generation for the government.