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Ghana’s Foreign Ministry gets Economic, Trade and Investment Bureau

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President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo speaking at the launch of the Economic, Trade and Investment Bureau

in Accra.Picture: SAMUEL TEI ADANO

 

An Economic, Trade and Investment Bureau (ECTIB) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, aimed at positioning the ministry as a strategic partner to help facilitate domestic and foreign investments into the country, has been inaugurated in Accra.

The ECTIB existed as a unit in the ministry until 2010 when its activities were merged with the Geographical Bureaux of the ministry.

It has, however, been revitalised to prioritise the creation of economic opportunities for the private sector in the country’s foreign policy.

The new bureau thus seeks to open up markets abroad for Ghanaian goods and services and attract foreign investments.

Through ECTIB, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will intensify its collaboration with the relevant ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), as well as private economic operators, in order to achieve the government’s objective of promoting Ghana’s economic interest in its international engagements through its networks of diplomatic missions and consular posts.

At the inauguration in Accra yesterday, the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, said the bureau was indeed a welcome and timely addition to help facilitate further domestic and foreign investments into the country.

He said several examples abound all over the world of how advanced economies had effectively leveraged the tools of foreign policy to secure the well-being of their people.

That, he said, had been done with the aim of increasing trade, foreign direct investments, tourism, technical cooperation, education, health, agriculture and the transfer of technology.

With the government focused on the structural transformation of the  Ghanaian economy from being a mere producer and exporter of raw materials to a value-added industrialised one, President Akufo-Addo said “our nation’s foreign policy and interventions on the domestic front must be understood as being two sides of the same coin.”

Important signal

By the formal inauguration of the ECTIB, President Akufo-Addo said “the ministry has signalled to other ministries, departments and agencies, and the private sector, that it is committed to deepening its involvement in the development of our country. It is my expectation, therefore, that we will work together to build on the foundation that has been laid today through regular and meaningful interaction between all the ministries concerned, as well as the private sector.”

With trade facilitation increasingly becoming a valuable tool in integrating economies into global value chains, creating wealth and employment in many countries, the President said, Ghana needed to improve customs function to support targeted trade facilitation, and promote intra-regional trade through the implementation of ECOWAS protocols and continental trade policies.

To that end, the government, he said, had put in place measures as from today, September 1, 2017, to start the single window project.

“It would entail a paperless clearing process that should provide a platform for an integrated clearance process to minimise the human factor as much as possible, and reduce processing time for trade documents. Importers should now spend a maximum of four hours in  clearing their goods from the nation’s ports,” he assured.

Strengthening tourism

The President said one of the important goals of the government was also to optimise the socio-economic growth of the country through tourism-related activities.
Towards that end, he said the construction of a new terminal at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) was to strengthen the tourist infrastructure to make way for an increase in the volume of foreign tourists.

The President was proud of the sense of purpose and enterprise which key stakeholders in the trade, investment and tourism sectors were exhibiting in order to associate to open new possibilities for greater cooperation.
“Our goal must remain constant – a Ghana beyond aid, that is a Ghana standing on its own feet, exploiting its own resources according to its own programme, a Ghana freed from a mindset of aid, dependence, charity and handouts. That is the best way we can fulfil the dreams and aspirations of the founding fathers of our nation, whose toil and sacrifice have brought us our beloved, free Ghana,” he added.

Transformation agenda
For her part, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Ms Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, explained that the decision by the ministry to revive the ECTIB was as a result of the President’s vision of transforming the economy into a prosperous and resilient one.

She said it had become crucial to break the cycle of dependency on  raw material exports and foreign aid and that the time for action was now.

Ms Botchwey observed that ideas and policies had been mapped out and what was left was how to pool resources to further the set goals.

“Consequently, the structural transformation we want calls for close collaboration and harmonisation of activities among the various public and private institutions that are vital to our country’s economic progress,” she added.

Writer’s email: victor.kwawukume@graphic.com.gh

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