The government of Ghana is developing a trade and investment program dubbed the “Middle East Strategy” to engage the Arab World to tap experience for Ghana’s economic growth, Mahama Ayariga, deputy minister of Trade and Industry, said Thursday during a meeting with a Saudi trade and investment delegation. The strategy is also to engage Arab countries in Ghana’s economic development planning in areas of trade and commence, agriculture and oil and gas management. The delegation, which comprises representatives from Saudi commerce and industry, minerals and agriculture sectors met officials of the Ministries of Trade and Industry, Food and Agriculture and Energy, and the private sector to explore investment opportunities.
Sameer Mahmoud Aggad, ambassador of Saudi Arabia in Ghana who led the delegation, said closer collaboration and mutual cooperation held the key to cementing bilateral relations and assured Ghana of Saudi Arabia’s preparedness to invest in the country.
He said: “We are interested in investing in your country, that is why all these people from my country with an enviable reputation are here and at the end of the (visit) we will tell you where we can invest.”
Ayariga said as part of the Middle East Strategy, Ghanaian officials had visited Libya and would visit Egypt and other Arab countries. They will also attend the Gulf Summit to be held Oct. 30 in Dubai.
He said Ghana would learn from corporate leaders and entrepreneurs from a cross-section of industries and social sectors in India and the Middle East. Ayariga said the country was seeking to build stronger relations with the Arab World and the investment exploration of the Saudi investors marked the beginning of closer ties.
Mustapha Ahmed, a deputy minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing, appealed to the delegation to explore the housing and water sectors, as well as sea defense for possible investment.
He said the country needed about $110 million to complete the affordable housing scheme started under the erstwhile NPP administration while additional $600 million would be needed to embark on the proposed affordable housing project. Ahmed further said other areas that needed urgent support were the jubilee car park, which required some $18 million, $27 million for slum upgrading, $30 million for student hostels for some tertiary institutions and $460 million for the Kpong and Weija Water works to supply uninterrupted water to Accra and Tema as well as their immediate environs.
The delegation would visit institutions such as the Free Zones and Ghana Ports and Harbors Authority (GHPA) for discussions.
Ayariga has urged delegates from Saudi Arabia to explore the investment opportunities that exist in Ghana in order to enhance the relationship between both countries.
The deputy minister noted that Ghana has developed a policy framework and legal regime that serves as a guide for investors in the country.
The Deputy Minister for Fisheries, Nii Amasah Namoale, in his remarks, said his ministry is interested in collaborating with the private sector both locally and internationally in order to develop opportunities in all aspects of agriculture which include livestock, fisheries, fertiliser production, irrigation, among others.