Interview: Hanna Tetteh
In what areas do you see bilateral agreements unfolding as Trinidad and Tobago and Ghana deepen political and economic ties?
HANNA TETTEH: The conversation between T&T and Ghana has been under way in some depth since 2010. T&T had expressed interest in partnering with Ghana and specifically sharing their expertise in developing our gas resources, given the twin-island nation’s long history in this field. Some investment proposals were made at the time, without being fully outlined into specific projects.
As talks are now being revived, there are opportunities to partner not only on the development of offshore gas, but also with regard to the development of a downstream petrochemicals sector and further gas utilisation.
What specific opportunities currently exist for T&T’s companies to partner and invest in Ghanaian energy projects?
TETTEH: In 2010 we only had our Jubilee gas field discoveries. Given that we have made new discoveries since then, there are obviously other areas of cooperation that we can explore. The question now is how to develop these discoveries into projects that will be of commercial value and how they can help address some of our power generation deficit. We very much look forward to partnering with T&T and, for that matter, any other partner that would help us utilise these resources to improve local access to power, which is a pressing developmental challenge.
Given the projects in our pipeline, our objective of reaching a 5000-MW target capacity will soon be realised, and will cover our current national demand, with some redundancy. As our economy is posed to shift from light manufacturing to value addition in solid mineral commodities, we will require additional power capacity. In addition, we aim to position ourselves as a power hub for the rest of West Africa. Every single country in our region is suffering from a power shortage of one kind or another, and we are already exporting some of our power to West African counties via our existing infrastructure. There is potential to partner with T&T on commercially viable projects that satisfy a very important need not only within our country, but also within our region.
How could cooperation with Ghana support the twin-island nation in its drive to diversify away from oil and gas?
TETTEH: For most of our existence as an independent nation our major exports have been agricultural products, value-added agriculture and solid minerals. Although T&T has been able to successfully develop its services sector, it does not have the same kind of capacity or land mass that we have with respect to value-added agriculture production. Therefore, should it become clear during our exchanges that these are areas where T&T would like us to share our resources, we would be more than happy to do so.
In terms of outward foreign direct investment, Ghanaian companies have traditionally not been able to invest in other countries, with a few regional exceptions, because they lacked the necessary financial resources or management expertise. However, over the last 20 years our private sector has grown considerably and we now have medium-sized companies that could contemplate investing outside of Ghana.
We are at the beginning of an exploration process in this regard, and I am hopeful that as a result of the visits that are taking place this year – especially at the business to business level – more of our businesses will build the confidence it takes to invest significant sums in countries like in T&T.
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