By Kwabena Adu Koranteng
A Research Conducted by the Kandifo Institute has revealed that the growth and development transformation of Ghana depends on how investments are channeled into trade and Industry to create wealth and employment.
It reveals that Ghana’s future in terms of economic growth and wealth creation rests on trade and industry and how it is seriously tackled.
The Ministry of Trade and Industry is the lead policy advisor to government on trade, industrial and private sector development with responsibility for the formulation and implementation of policies for the promotion, growth and development of domestic and international trade and industry. The ministry also advocates for the private sector within government and is the principal agency responsible for monitoring and implementing the Government’s private sector activities and development programs. It also sees to it that Ghana derives maximum benefit from international trade relations and that domestic trade is conducted in a smooth and orderly manner. When it comes to industry, the Ministry’s policy thrust continues primarily to be the development of a more competitive industrial sub-sector with potentials to make in-roads into the international market with value added local products derived from local resources. The vision of the industry is to establish Ghana as a major manufacturing, value-added, financial and commercial hub in West Africa. Alan Kyeremanten is the current Minister if Trade and Industry of Ghana who served in the same capacity between 2003-2007. As the Minister of Trade and Industry from 2003, he led the development, design and implementation of innovative programs and special initiatives which have created new strategic pillars of growth for the economy of Ghana. During his service from 2005-2007, he was given an additional responsibility for Private Sector Development. Being the Minister of the industry, he played a role in shaping Africa’s Trade Policy agenda in the World Trade Organization (WTO) Multilateral Negotiations and the EU-ACP Economic Partnership Agreement Negotiations. He happened to be one of the leading negotiators for Africa in the WTO Ministerial Conference in Cancun in 2003.he initiated, directed and managed the preparations for the hosting of UNCTAD XII in Ghana and introduced for the first time in the history of UNCTAD conferences, the World Investment Forum which has become a major calendar event now for UNCTAD. He was sworn-in in 2017as the minister of Trade and Industry. The economy of Ghana has a diverse and rich resources base which includes the manufacturing and exportation of digital technology goods, automotive and ship construction and exportation and the exportation of diverse and rich resources like hydrocarbons and industrial minerals. Under his leadership in the ministry of trade and industry, Ghana was selected among six other countries which submitted bids to host the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) Secretariat. The hosting of the secretariat promoted Ghana as an attractive investment destination and actively facilitates direct investments into Ghana. The AfCFTA Headquarters will also attract major international financial institutions to locate in Ghana. The other international companies who do business in Africa are likely to consider Ghana as one of the most preferred location for siting their corporate headquarters. The Government of Ghana’s new Coordinated Program strives to create opportunities for all citizens such as deepen governance fight and enhance public accountability to maintain a stable, unified and peaceful Ghana, safeguard the natural environment and create a competitive business environment to build a resilient and strong economy. Through experience, Ghana has been able to demonstrate the possibility of rapid poverty reduction. Accelerated industrial growth is one of the priorities of Ghana in order to boost the welfare of her citizenry as well as economic development. The Ministry of Trade and Industry together with the Association of Ghana Industries and the National Council for Tertiary Education have called for the need to build effective and strong linkages between tertiary education and industry in various national documents. The exponential increase in the population of Ghana and the need to meet the population’s food security needs while creating job opportunities have necessitated the implementation of the Planting for Food and Jobs initiative by the Akufo-led administration. Women in cross-border trading contribute significantly to and are an important component of many economies. Over the last couple of years, industry in Ghana, since independence has been dominated by the manufacturing sector and it’s gradually being overtaken by mining and quarrying subsector due to the discovery and subsequent production of oil and gas. The Industry is mainly dominated by micro and small firms, privately-owned and mainly located within urban areas in the form of industrial clusters. The Patterns of Labor productivity and the wages within Ghana’s industrial sector indicate the food processing subsector, foreign-owned and older firms as the most productive. The industrial sector is currently expected to play a pivotal role through enhanced growth in the infrastructure development in the oil sector, construction sector, energy and water subsectors and also an increase in output from the mining sector specifically in salt production. The emerging policy issues relate to the key developmental objective of the current industrial policy including how to empower the private sector especially SMEs to expand productive employment and technological capacity within a highly competitive manufacturing sector such as how to promote agro-based industrial development to ensure value-addition to manufactures and Ghana’s exports. In Africa, the private sector contributes over 80% to total production as well as two-thirds of total investment and employ about 90% of the working age population. The private sector is very essential in fighting poverty, therefore improving the lives of the poor and ensuring inclusive growth. Ghana is currently a net importer of petroleum product. But now production of oil and gas has improved the balance of trade position.
- There should be urgent need to support tertiary institutions to train the nation’s labor force in skills needed to promote sustainable industrial productivity and growth.
- The Ministry of Trade and Industry should be open to international trade as countries who are opened to international trade tend to grow faster, innovate and improve productivity as well as provide higher income and more opportunities for their citizens.
- Government should procure the necessary resources needed by the business resources centers across the country so they can extensively support the micro, small, medium and large enterprises.