The maiden Ghana-European Union Business Summit has ended in Accra with the European Union (EU) promising an external investment of 4.5 billion Euros of the EU Budget to Africa, to generate about 10 million jobs on the Continent.
Mr Jyrki Katainen, the Vice President of the European Union Commission for Jobs, Growth and Investment, who announced this at the closing ceremony in Accra, said the Africa-European Alliance for Sustainable Jobs launched in September last year, considered job creation as key pillar for resolving unemployment challenges in Africa.
He, therefore, called for continuous strengthening of partnerships and co-operation between Ghana and EU to achieve the vision of ensuring a win-win situation, and accelerate economic development and prosperity for their peoples.
Mr Katainen pledged the EU’s commitment to support Ghana and other African nations to reach their goals through trade facilitation and innovations.
He said the business summit demonstrated the EU’s commitment to work in partnership with Ghana to accelerate socio-economic growth and lauded Ghana for being one of the fastest growing economies in the Sub-Saharan Africa.
He urged Ghana to continue diversifying its economy in the areas of agriculture, manufacturing and services in order to increase exports to the EU market to boost her foreign exchange earnings.
He said Sub-Saharan Africa must create about 18 million jobs each year to absolve the teeming unemployed graduates and underlined the need to mobilise private sector investments to achieve that feat.
The EU Vice President noted that the partnership between the EU and Ghana would help each other to speed up its economic growth and ensure prosperity of their peoples, saying that there were a lot of space for growth, job creation and innovation.
Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, in an address, said the EU-Ghana business summit reinforced the common belief of enhancing partnerships.
He said the alliance resonated well with the vision of “Ghana Beyond Aid” programme being pursued by President Akufo-Addo’s government and believed it would inject fresh impetus in their relations.
He said the summit would strengthen the unique partnership between them, which would stimulate economic growth and promote accountability and transparency.
Vice President Bawumia said the EU represented the largest source of foreign direct investment to Ghana with 300 million dollars annually and the biggest provider of development assistance of more than 500 million dollars.
He said the spirit and the letter of the “Ghana beyond Aid” agenda revolved around four growth poles, including; mobilising domestic resources, enhancing agriculture modernisation for industrial development, strengthening the private sector as the engine of growth, building stable and resilient economy that is transformative and inclusive with the appropriate policy interventions.
He said those growth pillars should be strengthened with sound macro-economic environment and vibrant financial sector.
In view of that, he said, the Government passed the Fiscal Responsibility law, which required that the country’s budget deficit did not exceed five per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), noting that over the past two years, the major fiscal indicators had stabilised and is moving in the right direction.
The Vice President cited the phenomenal impact of the Planting for Food and Jobs programme, which witnessed supply of subsidised fertilizers, quality seedlings and extension services to farmers, resulting in increase in food production, while the surplus food items were exported to the neighbouring countries.
Touching on the industrialisation framework, he said, government was pursuing value addition programme through the “One-District, One Factory” initiative to refine the raw materials, with 70 per cent of the projects focusing on agriculture value addition.
Consequently, government was pursuing Integrated Bauxite and Aluminum industry and Iron and Steel industry and was of the conviction that the two industries would be a game-changer to the country’s industrial transformation.
He indicated that government was pursuing digital programmes in the various sectors of the economy to improve the ease of doing business, adding that the initiatives had enhanced access to some public services.
He believed Ghana would be a preferred destination for many businesses and investors, especially with the coming into force of the Africa Free Continental Trade Area Agreement.
The two-day summit aimed at boosting private sector investment and stronger trade opportunities between Ghana and European Union (EU) for their mutual benefits.