Interview: Mawuena Trebarh

What impact is Ghana’s short-term and cyclical instability having on investor interest?

MAWUENA TREBARH: Despite Ghana’s challenges in 2014 in terms of currency depreciation, investors have remained interested in the country and it remains a safe and secure investment destination. In addition to political stability and streamlined investment procedures, Ghana possesses a robust legal and regulatory framework. According to the World Bank’s 2014 “Doing Business” report, Ghana ranks as the best destination in West Africa in terms of the ease of doing business. The country also placed second in Africa and 10th in the world in The Economist’s 2013 list of fastest-growing economies.

Although fewer than in same period of 2013, the second quarter of 2014 saw 47 new investment projects registered with GHS42.68m ($16.27m) in initial capital transfers and a total estimated value of GHS1.01bn ($385.01m). India accounted for the most projects, with nine, while Mauritius registered the largest project, at $100m.

How are South-South investment flows trending, and what is being done to encourage these?

TREBARH: At this stage investment activity from Brazil and other South American countries remains relatively limited; however, other regions of sub-Saharan Africa and Asia have already demonstrated significant interest. South Africa, for example, has registered approximately 100 projects since the 1990s, and looking to Asia, India remains one of our top 10 foreign investors to date.

Part of our strategy for 2015 focuses on promotional efforts targeting specific investments from these countries. Indeed, we are collaborating with their diplomatic missions in Ghana, as well as Ghana’s missions abroad, to gather relevant information on interested investors. We are also on the lookout for programmes that allow us to promote the country. The GIPC is focusing on establishing the optimal investment environment as well as encouraging larger investments in specific sectors of the economy.

By what means can investment be stimulated in areas outside of Accra, Tema and Takoradi?

TREBARH: This can be done in a few key ways. The country can support investment outside of these hubs and spread industry throughout the country by putting in place critical infrastructure in these areas. Secondly, Ghana can strengthen its investment promotion strategies in targeted sectors and industries that have a comparative advantage in areas outside of Accra, Tema and Takoradi. Examples include gold refining in the Ashanti Region, rice milling in the northern region or tourism training in the central region. Furthermore, the government has already put in place location-based incentives for companies that invest inside and outside regional capitals.

How can domestic investment be encouraged?

TREBARH: The GIPC actively encourages, promotes and facilitates investments both into and within Ghana, and we work to do this in a number of ways like ensuring awareness of investment and business opportunities. The GIPC is also celebrating corporate excellence and successful enterprise building through initiatives like the Ghana Club 100 awards.

Furthermore, the “Made In Ghana” campaign is helping galvanise local companies. More than just promoting made-in-Ghana goods, the campaign also signals to our domestic business community that we must produce goods and services of an international standard. The GIPC is also facilitating domestic investment through its Call for Projects initiative, which allows domestic investors to submit project profiles for screening and packaging for inclusion in the GIPC’s projects catalogue. We employ this worldwide as a promotional instrument aimed at various categories of investors that may be interested in establishing partnerships and providing financing.