5th July 2017, Accra International Conference Centre
Today’s focus was an entrepreneurial Ghana and focused on its economic transformation and the role the diaspora plays in that. From talks from Hon. Ken Ofori-Atta, Minister of Finance to Mr Yofi Grant of GIPC, there was a strong focus on the financial opportunities Ghana presents and the already established financial contribution of diasporans (through remittances which according to Mr Grant are greater than foreign direct investment (FDI)).
After the national anthem and an opening prayer, Mr. Alex Dadey, Chairman of the Summit Planning Committee ushered in Day 1 of the Summit by welcoming guests and emphasising the human and financial capital the diaspora brings along with experience and exposure to different ideas and perspectives.
Mr. Dadey also made several humble requests of H.E. President Nana Addo Akufo-Addo in his welcome address. This included reviewing laws and policies which restrict diaspora participation and inclusion including ROPAA. He also asked that the GDHS become institutionalised allowing for a more frequent and fruitful dialogue.
Tuga performed the #GDHS17‘s theme song live.
H.E. President Nana Addo Akufo-Addo emphasised the importance he places on the diaspora and their full inclusion to move Ghana forward. He also highlighted that the accountability of his government extends to Ghanaians overseas as well as those in country and that the Diaspora Relations Office will be crucial in facilitating this. He then stressed the importance of all Ghanaians having a stake in the country’s development in order to move the country beyond aid.
A number of talks addressed some of the realities of doing business in Ghana, the opportunities, challenges, bottlenecks, public-private partnerships (PPPs), frameworks and policy. Speakers included Mr. Djabarnor Narh, partner at EY Ghana and Mr. David Ofosu-Dortey of AB & David Rahul Gopinath of ECOM Agrotrade Ltd spoke about the changing face of entrepreneurship in Ghana and what that looks like today. According to Rahul, Ghanaian entrepreneurs needs 4 things: knowledge, mentorship, capital and enabling government policy.
Mr. Phillip Sowah spoke about institutional frameworks bring used to drive growth in capital markets and highlighted the key need to truly understand how much money Ghanaians abroad send and for what reasons. He argued that once we understand who, what and why, then financial instruments and other enabling policies can be designed to truly fit the diaspora’s needs.
Mr Yofi Grant stated that Ghana’s GDP growth is estimated at 7%+ next year. GIPC has created a digital map highlighting the business opportunities across the 10 regions which will go online soon (no date given but shown in the PPT).
A study by EY shows that Ghana is ranked 4th for doing business in Africa and 1st in West Africa but the government intends on doing enacting business reforms including making processes digital. The aim is make Ghana the most business friendly place in Africa.
Hon. Alan Kyerematen addressed the delegation honing in on remarks made earlier in the day by Hon. Ken Ofori Atta (amongst other speakers) about moving Ghana from a taxation economy to a production economy and spoke about moving Ghana from a economy exporting raw materials to creating production lines to increase the value of our exports substantially. He spoke specifically of steel and iron which would strengthen the construction industry and increase our competitiveness.
As Ghana has a think export base, the government intends to address that through industrialisation looking to China as an example.
There were lots of interesting questions from the audience including the perceived hostility from Ghanaian nationals to those from abroad, the capacity of the energy sector, creating more efficiency at the ports, lack of information sharing and clear channels to learn more about opportunities in Ghana.
Government is keen to build a comprehensive database to understand where diasporans are located, their skills sets and how they can be utilised fruitfully.