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Ghana woos Indian business

Our Bureau

KOLKATA, Aug. 6

GHANA, a key member of the Economic Community for West African States (ECWAS), has set for itself an economic goal of becoming a middle-income country within the next decade. The Sub-Saharan country's current per capita GDP is a mere $ 400, and the aim is to touch a per capita GDP of at least $ 1000 by 2012, and $ 2000 by 2020.

Unveiling the country's vision plan for 2020, at an interactive session organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry, Eastern Region, Mr John Agyekum Kufuor, Presdient of Ghana, told a large gathering of captains of India industry here, that his current mission in India, at the invitation of the Indian Government, was to extend a hand of partnership to Indian industry to set up shop in Ghana.

Pointing out that "sky is the limit'' as far as repatriation of profits are concerned, he assured Indian investors that the process of private sector development in Ghana was now being spearheaded by a separate ministry set up exclusively for this purpose. Ghana has also set up a Private Enterprise Foundation for putting such investment proposals on the fast track.

Suggesting that his country needed investments in productive sectors which would make use of the large natural resources like land and water available in plenty, he invited Indian technology in areas of IT and related sectors to turn Ghana into a centre of excellence. Iinvestments were highly welcome in the Export Processing Zones that have been set up for manufacture and exports.

Describing Ghana as the commercial gateway to South Western African markets, and other land-locked countries in the west, he said the developed markets of Europe and United States could be tapped easily by setting up a manufacturing base in Ghana.

Responding to the industrialists' queries over investments in the mining sector, the President, while welcoming it, said it better be in the private sector, so that the process would be totally free of bureaucratic red tape. He categorically stated that the private sector should drive all such investments into Ghana, while suggesting that maintenance of ecological balance in any mining joint venture was of paramount importance.

Ghana is rich in mineral resources such as diamonds, manganese, bauxite, iron ore and various clay and salt deposits. Besides possessing a wide variety of agricultural products and rich fish resources, Ghana also has extensive forests with a wide range of fine tropical hardwoods.

Welcoming the President, Mr Sumit Mazumder of CII, said following the peaceful change of government through elections in 200, Ghana has emerged as an outstanding success story of economic reforms programme in Sub-Saharan Africa.

According to Mr Sanjay Budhia, Deputy Chairman of CII, ER, Indian exports to Ghana during 2000-01 was at $ 56 million, while imports from that country were at $ 25.60 million. Sub-Saharan Africa, he pointed out, today offered tremendous opportunities in the areas of mining, infrastructure, telecommunications, energy and tourism.

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