The chief executive of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) says his office receives a stream of calls from investors who are eager to come to the country to explore investment opportunities even as economies around the world suffer the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking on the Asaase Breakfast Show, Yofi Grant said, “We still keep getting calls every day. I am inundated with virtual meetings because people want to know what we are doing, and what they want to know is what Ghana is doing. After all, we seem to be doing something right … I keep getting calls almost every day by potential investors; asking when are you going to open your borders so I can come and complete our project or we can look at new ones.”
Before the pandemic, he said, “We had significant interest expressed. We had some groundbreaking transactions on the books that would have transformed cities and our business sector …
“The fact that we have it clearly stated and sounded the clarion call of a Ghana Beyond Aid means that we will also look internally and see what we can do ourselves and not depend on anybody.”
Grant said Ghana is a resource-rich country: “…we can leverage these [resources] for our own development. And we are seeing that at this moment because we have embraced and adopted Ghana Beyond Aid.
“We are not going to do with the handouts any more. We want partnerships and linkages that will build our economy.”
In May, the European Union (EU) added 12 countries to its money-laundering blacklist, putting their financial transactions under greater scrutiny. They include Botswana, Ghana, Mauritius and Zimbabwe, Bahamas, Barbados, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Panama, Cambodia, Mongolia and Myanmar.
But Grant said the EU’s decision damages the nation’s investment grade and is unfair. “I mean, this is very unfortunate, in my estimation,” he said, “a very unfair position we find ourselves in … because at the last count, we were looking to be taken off the grey list totally. We don’t think we deserve to be there.
“We have put in measures over the past few years to combat money laundering and we are consistently adding up to our stock of defences … The fact that we are digitally registering people, we are for a national addressing system – these are all ways in which you can contain anti-money laundering.”
Grant said, “I think we are unfairly treated and sometimes Africa is unfairly treated. I mean, this is a continent which gives out a yield higher than almost any region in the world. Yet, we are always punished, we are always punished with a risk premium when we go to borrow.
“This is a continent where you see a significant amount of capital flight. Yet we are the ones who are borrowing heavily. And then we are accused of escalating a debt crisis,” he said.