Some 39 companies, registered under the Ghana Free Zones Authority (GFZA), are set to inject about $230 million into the economy, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the authority, Mike Oquaye Jnr, has said.
Speaking at the media launch of the third edition of the Annual Investment Week yesterday in Accra, Mr Oquaye expressed satisfaction that despite the global shocks, Ghana remains an investment destination for most foreign investors.
He continued that the estimated export earnings from the 39 companies are about $529 million from an estimated production value of US$436 million, adding that the cumulative exports from the Free Zones enterprise, since the programme’s inception, stood at US$ 27 billion as of 2020.
He explained that out of the 217 active companies, 72 are wholly owned Ghanaian companies, representing 33 percent; 74 are wholly foreign-owned companies, representing 34 percent; and 71 are joint ventures, representing 33 percent.
According to him, the move is an indication that Ghanaian companies also have the potential to take advantage of the free zone incentives and make a mark in the international market.
He bemoaned that the Free Zones programme has been misconstrued as favouring mainly foreign investors but the programme is open to all investors, both foreign and local.
“With the opportunities that AfCFTA also offers, we are encouraging Ghanaian-owned businesses to take advantage of the 1.3 billion African markets to expand their activities,” he said.
Export driven economy
Ghana, he said is currently dealing with a balance of trade deficit and the depreciation of the national currency and underscored a need to increase the country’s exports to earn the needed foreign exchange to stabilise the cedi.
He mentioned that government continues to explore the opportunities presented through the AfCFTA and the GFZA in attracting market-seeking investments and encouraging local businesses to export to the African market.
According to him, AfCFTA presents Ghana with the opportunity to export to Africa, with an estimated market size of 1.3 billion people.
“In pursuing an export-led industrial growth strategy and the enormous opportunities AfCFTA and the world at large provide, the problems of unemployment, low export earnings, lack of value addition to our natural resources, lack of diversification of our export products, and being an insignificant player in the continental and global value chains can be solved,” he said.
Ambassador Oquaye, however, underscored the need to set up an AfCFTA desk at the GFZA to achieve its objectives and leverage the opportunities available.
2022 Annual Investment Week
He was optimistic that the forthcoming 3rd Annual Ghana Free Zones Investment Week meeting will discuss a pathway for supporting exporters to optimise exports within Africa and beyond.
The theme for this year’s annual investment week 2022, he said is “GFZA: championing export-led industrial growth; in the context of AfCFTA and the world trade.”
Amb. Oquaye Jnr clarified that the celebration will climax with a CEO’s networking session to be attended by Senior Government officials, Ministers of State, CEOs, and Captains of Industry at the Marriott Hotel on December 7th, 2022, the week-long celebration starts from 5th to 9th December.