By Mercy Darko
The success of the growing strategic partnership between the governments and people of Ghana and Guyana would hinge to a very large extent on the productive participation of the private sector, the Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, has stated.
Addressing a joint consultation between Government Officials, Captains of Industry and other Private Sector Players from Ghana and Guyana in Georgetown Guyana, Vice President Bawumia indicated that though trade between the countries has historically not been very high due to varied reasons, the recent upsurge in economic growth in the respective economies has provided the enabling environment for the Private Sector to enhance commercial ties between the two countries.
“It is our expectation therefore that the private sector through an innovative approach would partner with the government to create sustainable growth by focusing on the pillars of development for economic prosperity.
“There is an economic imperative, at this momentous occasion in our relation, for the two countries to broaden the scope of our engagements given the commonalities and the synergies in our economics. Areas of possible collaboration include Oil and Gas, Petrochemical sector, Agro-processing and Agriculture, Education, Mining (extractive sector) and Tourism.
“The Ghana Government welcomes the increasing collaboration between private sector operators from the two countries aimed at identifying potential investments and addressing the persistent trade imbalances in our ties.”
Some of the strategies the two governments may deploy in the meantime to boost cooperation include exchange of trade missions, workshops and seminars and linkages with the business community and other financial services to create the necessary incentives for attracting private equity in Education, Infrastructure and Energy for socio-economic development, Dr Bawumia, who is on a three-day official visit to Guyana, said.
“The private sector should also promote entrepreneurial activity and interaction between Universities and Companies through innovation in research which all growth depends on, as well as other market instruments such as credit and economic subventions, and direct investments in health and fintech developing technology solutions.”
Another important area requiring urgent attention is the issue of connectivity between the two countries, the Vice President noted.
“For us to realise this commercial objective of promoting trade and investments between our two countries, it is crucial that the private sector should support the Air Services agreement between Ghana and Guyana designed to improve air connectivity between countries in Africa and South America. It is expected that the private sector or airlines will be able to fly without any restrictions to the desired destinations to promote connection between the two Continents. One of the strategies to be adopted by both sides is to embark on a promotional drive to sensitise the business community about the potential benefits associated with sustainable air linkages in one of the largest aviation projects in the world.”
Also speaking at the event, the President of Guyana, H.E. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, President of Guyana emphasized that the strategic partnership was being facilitated at the highest levels of government, and assured the private sector of a speedy resolution of any challenges they might face.
“This Forum is a clear indication that the private sector of the two countries will be the engine for this strategic partnership. It is the beginning of the process to integrate our people, the private sector and find common ground to examine common opportunities, build common strategies, and how to make use of them.
“This not a simplistic, business engagement. It is about bridging the divide, expanding and creating markets and new opportunities, sustaining industry and building capacity. It is a People-to-People engagement for shared prosperity, based on actionable measures. The high level representation here, from Guyana and Ghana, means red tape and bureaucracy will be removed. This is an opportunity to have direct and meaningful conversations, and I urge you all to make good use of the opportunities.
“You have two governments ready to engage and work with you. Let us combine the power of our partnership and seize the opportunity to be dynamic, global players,” he urged.