Partner at Africa-focused technology firm De Charles, Ndubuisi Kejeh examines…
AB2020 and the UK Ghana Chamber of Commerce (UKGCC) will host a multi-sector business trip to Accra for British companies, investors, exporters, importers and SMEs, in October 2016.
The five-day Ghana Investment Tour (GIT) will focus on showcasing collaborative and investment opportunities in Ghana’s technology, tourism and agriculture sectors, and provide a platform for UK firms, SMEs and investors to communicate with key regulators, potential local partners, and leading private sector players in the country.
The UKGCC, officially launching in Accra on 1st September 2016, is set up to facilitate and promote trade and commercial relations between the UK and Ghana, and act as the voice for British businesses looking to access and engage with the Ghanaian market, whilst providing assistance to Ghanaian companies investing in the UK.
UKGCC’s CEO Tony Burkson, based in Accra, says: ‘Ghana remains an exciting prospect for British companies due to its historic trading relationships with the UK. British expertise and innovation is highly sought after in Ghana and the wider West Africa region. The Ghana Investment Tour is an opportunity for British companies to meet decision makers, regulators and potential business partners in Ghana. The UKGCC is excited to welcome British businesses to Accra in October for the Ghana Investment Tour.’
The UK is one of the largest foreign investors in Ghana, and several British brands already operate in the West African country, including Barclays, Standard Chartered, Vodafone, Tullow, Blue Skies, British Airways, G4S, Prudential, GlaxoSmithKline, and Diageo. Ghana is also a favoured choice for SME’s making their first steps exporting into Africa, with benefits such as skilled and trainable labour, immediate access to all the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) markets, and a large consumer base with a growing middle class.
GIT aims to give new, business-focused entrants to Ghana a packaged opportunity to research and act-upon their business and investment interests in the country, alongside a friendly team of UK and Ghanaian experts and professionals.
The tour is supported by the Development of International Trade (DIT) in Ghana (formerly UKTI) and is organised in partnership with AB2020.
AB2020 Creator and UK-born Ghanaian Akosua Annobil, based in London, says: ‘From traditional investors and angel networks, to tech start-ups and the Africa Diaspora, we’ve seen a healthy rise in appetite to do business in Ghana over the past year. However, we’ve also found that due to misconceptions, lack of connections, and perhaps a limited understanding of the diverse opportunities and cultures in the country, many are unsure of how to start and where to navigate.
‘As a UK-based company with a Ghana focus we aim to ease those anxieties, which is why we’re excited to be partnering with the UKGCC on a series of Ghana Investment Tours for the British business community in October this year, and in to 2017.’
Ghana is one of the largest economies within ECOWAS, and in terms of investment is currently ranked 70th out of 189 countries in the latest World Bank’s Doing Business Rankings, placing the country as the fifth most favourable place to conduct business in Africa after Mauritius (28th), South Africa (43rd), Rwanda (46th), Tunisia (60th), and the first in West Africa above countries such as Cote d’Ivoire (147th), Togo (149th), Benin (151st), Burkina Faso (167th) and Nigeria (170th).
With a shared history and cultural links, Ghana and the UK have a strong bilateral trade relationship, strengthened by a steady stream of ministerial and diplomatic visits from high profile figures in recent years, including HRH Prince Edward and Adam Afriyie, the UK Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Ghana.
The Ghana Investment Tour (GIT) is running from Monday 17th to Friday 21st October 2016 in Ghana’s capital city Accra. Limited spaces are currently available for UK-based delegates who can register their interest here – Register
– Ghana is the UK’s fifth largest export market in sub-Saharan Africa, with bilateral trade of goods and services totalling £1.05 billion in 2014.
– Top exports from the UK to Ghana include road vehicles, medicinal and pharmaceutical products, beverages, electrical machinery and appliances, specialised machinery and petroleum products, while top imports to the UK from Ghana include cocoa, canned fish, fruit & vegetables, petroleum products, metal scrap and coffee.
– In July 2009, Barack Obama visited Ghana on his first visit to sub-Saharan Africa to highlight the country as a beacon of democracy and progress on the continent
– In 2015, a report by PwC hailed Ghana’s capital city Accra as one of the most attractive destinations in Africa for foreign investment.
– The Ghana Investment Promotion Centre have announced that development of Ghana’s infrastructure is one of the priorities of the national development strategy, stating that growth remains robust and investors are already prospering in sectors including retail, financial services, technology and construction.
Technology in Ghana
Ghana has a nascent vibrant Fintech industry that is growing within the tech ecosystem, which is being fuelled by a surge of tech incubators, accelerators and co-working spaces.The tech ecosystem in Ghana has also seen a fair number of exits, which is encouraging investors to look at Ghana as an investment destination for tech start-ups.
A total of over $1M has been invested in three tech start-ups in recent times. Examples include mobile messaging platform for feature phones Saya Mobile, which was acquired by New Jersey-based tech firm Kirusa. Claimsync (software provider that offers hospitals and insurers a next generation platform for digitizing and processing medical records and claims) was also acquired in October 2014 by Netherlands-based provider of biometric ID management solutions Genkey.
Opportunities exist for UK companies to partner with local tech firms, training and skills development, as well as investing in Ghana’s tech spaces, and transfer of knowhow and technology. There’s a growing middle class in Ghana, and tech is driving the demands and needs of this class in the country.
Tourism in Ghana
Ghana’s tourism industry is poised for sustained high performance in the coming decade. The World Travel & Tourism Council has estimated that over three million international tourist will arrive in Ghana in 2021. Ghana is the top cultural destination in Africa, as she receives the largest number of tourists who visit Africa for cultural purposes, ranking amongst the top 10 tourism destinations in Africa.
Ghana has strong cultural and historic links with both the USA and Europe, and there is increasing evidence that Ghana is the preferred conference destination in Africa as more organisations choose Ghana for their conferences.
A wide spectrum of high demand investment opportunities are arising out of Ghana’s long-term tourism plans, including multi and single hotel resorts across the region, business and adventure accommodations, highway rest stops, travel services, tour guiding services, entertainment and shopping facilities. The country is currently serviced by most major airlines, such as British Airways, Emirates, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Brussels Air and Ethiopian Airlines to name a few.
Agriculture in Ghana
Agriculture is the backbone of the Ghanaian economy. It’s a major foreign exchange earner contributing an estimated 19 per cent to the country’s GDP in 2015. It is also critical for rural development and associated cultural values, social stabilisation, and environmental sustainability. The sector currently employs about 48 per cent of the total workforce. Investment opportunities for UK companies include value-add production for the national, regional and EU markets, supply of machinery and packaging storage facilities, training, finance and floriculture.