SWISS BUSINESS READY FOR GHANA
For the first time in the history of Swiss/Ghana economic relations, a record number of Swiss business executives attended a business forum in Zurich, Switzerland in September this year, under the theme: "Ghana a Golden Experience".
Under the dynamic leadership of His Excellency Dr. Kwame Bawuah-Edusei, Ghana's Ambassador, and the backing of Swiss Economic Agencies (SECO, SOFI, SIPPO), the two-hundred-seat hall was standing room only. This is in that part of Switzerland, where Africa does not feature prominently on the radar screen of business executives.
This event was a follow-up to the Swiss Economic Mission to Ghana in March this year, also initiated by the Ghana Mission and Swiss Economic Agencies.
The 18-member Ghanaian delegation was led by Hon. Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu and Hon. Alan Kyerematen, Ministers for Finance and Economic Planning and Trade and Industry, respectively. The team also included twelve (12) Ghanaian Business Executives and the Chief Executives of Ghana Investment Promotion Centre, Ghana Export Promotion Council and the Free Trade Zone Board.
The three-day visit started with the two Teams of Ghanaian delegation (each led by a Minister), embarking on various visiting tours to Swiss Industries including Cocoa, Energy and Plastics. The Hon. Finance Minister also took the opportunity to visit the esteemed Swiss banks such as UBS and Credit Suisse, where discussions on credit facilities, collaterals, sharing of good practices, training of Ghanaian Bankers, among others, took place. Hon. Baah-Wiredu also went to the Swiss Stock Exchange for a familiarization tour. The Hon Finance Minister subsequently held bilateral talks with the Swiss Authorities, including the Head of the Federal Department of Economics, Federal Councillor Joseph Deiss, as well as officials of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), where assurances were given of Swiss support for Ghana's budget for the next three year (2006-2008) phase, as soon as all economic indices of 2005 are completed. The issue of double taxation was also advanced, as well as an elucidation on Ghana's relationship with the IMF, which is getting better, with Ghana graduating to the next phase from Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF) to the Policy Support Instrument (PSI). This signals Ghana's competence in managing her financial situation and continuing membership of the
Hon. Trade Minister also took the opportunity to finalize arrangements towards the hosting of UNCTAD XII World Conference in Ghana in 2008.
The initial two-day business contacts culminated in a very positive response on the final day of a Business Forum at the Zurich Novotel Hotel. This fruitful day started with an informative welcome address by His Excellency Dr. Kwame Bawuah-Edusei, during which the foundations for doing business in Ghana were enumerated.
The Finance Minister then detailed the present improved and stable macro economic situation, credit rating, investment guarantees, effective commercial courts, and good governance, among others, as indicative of excellent financial conditions in Ghana.
The Trade Minister then took the audience through the practicalities of doing business in Ghana, the favourable investment sectors, facilitatory role of government and the full support of his Ministry.
The three Chief Executives then explained all the various technicalities and practical details of business opportunities in Ghana.
The Swiss favourably responded by their economic team clarifying the business opportunities in Switzerland and programs available to the Ghanaian business group. Then successful Swiss business like Nestle, narrated their favourable experience in Ghana including doubling their production in the past five years. Bomart farms also presented their productive success in their Agro-based company.
The resulting Questions and Answers Session was very positive and informative. Business networking continued in a buffet lunch. Following that one-on-one business networking continued, while long queues formed by various Swiss Business executives waiting to hold discussions with the Ministers and Ghana Team.
Five known companies have already advance plans to come to Ghana. Mission is continuing facilitating the business networking. This business promotion clearly reinforced the concept: "Ghana a Golden Experience", as a practical code for attending business executives.