Ghana is inviting UAE companies to invest in its emerging oil and gas industry and other sectors including diamond and gold mining, hotels and resorts, property development, agriculture, manufacturing and textiles.
Dubai Consultants and the West African country’s Government are jointly organising the Ghana Trade and Investment Forum to showcase opportunities. The event will take place in Accra, Ghana, from May 22 to 24.
“Ghana is considered the golden gateway to the huge African market,” Mona Madeha, Dubai Consultants’ African analyst, told Emirates Business. “The Central and West African markets, especially Ghana, Ivory Coast, Senegal and the Gambia, are regarded as good markets with political stability and relatively easy entry.
“The main objective of the forum is to improve GCC economic relations with West Africa and create more trade and investment opportunities in the region.”
Ghana struck oil in commercial quantities last year and further exploration is under way. The Ghana National Petroleum Company and its partners Kosmos Energy and Tullow Oil found oil offshore in the Tan/West Cape Three Points Basin.
The country has proven reserves of 16.5 million barrels plus 23.8 billion cubic metres of natural gas – but it estimated that the total oil reserves could amount to three billion barrels.
Ghana is the tenth largest gold producer in the world and the second biggest in Africa and has a major diamond mining industry. Both sectors are seeking foreign investment.
Its government is keen to attract more UAE firms to explore investment opportunities in agriculture, especially the production of timber and food crops such as coffee, cocoa, rice, peanuts, corn, banana and cassava.
Other industries requiring investment from overseas companies include aluminium smelting, cement, small commercial shipbuilding and food processing.
The country’s Investment Promotion Centre says property development in Ghana is a booming business because of a housing shortfall estimated at 250,000 units.
And there is a growing need for commercial property as several multinational companies entering the country are looking for commercial space.
The government is also expanding roads, railways, water transport and airports. And as the country is a major cotton producer there are opportunities in the textile industry.
The country is committed to liberal economic policies and investor confidence has been boosted by the presence of major international companies in the mining sector, said Madeha. Ghana has a population of 22.6 million people, gross domestic product (GDP) of $56 billion (Dh205.52bn), per capita GDP of $2,500 and an annual growth rate of six per cent.
“There are also emerging financial markets,” added Madeha. “Companies in the banking, tourism, property development, electronics, home products, cosmetics, gifts, components, gadgets, fine and custom jewellery, food manufacturing and processing industries are welcome in Ghana.”
Dubai World has already announced that it will invest $1.5bn in Africa in the next five years – and many UAE companies are interested in following its example.
Other countries viewed as promising markets in the region include Nigeria, Cameroon, Togo, Benin, Gabon, and French Guinea.
hospitality needs uplift
Ghana’s hospitality industry needs major investment to meet expected demand. The country has fewer than 1,800 rooms in the two to five-star categories compared with a projected demand in 2010 of 8,250.
The National Tourism Development Plan calls for visitor facilities in eight designated tourism centres, seven tourist gateways, 75 tourist stopovers and a network of excursion routes, all linked to major attractions throughout the country. Specific opportunities exist for the development of mid- and upper-scale hotels in Accra and nine regional capitals. Lake resorts are needed on Dodi Island on the Volta system and on Bosumtwi, and marinas are wanted at Sogakope and Ada on the lower Volta system and at Keta Lagoon.
Beach resorts are planned at New Ningo in Greater Accra, Gomoa-Feteh, Winneba and Brenu- Akyinim in the Central Region, Busua and Cape Three Points.
Oil and gas
Oil exploration began in Ghana back in the late 1890s around the numerous crude and gas seepages in the Half Assini area.
In the early 1970s the Saltpond field was discovered but did not prove commercially viable. It was not abandoned, however, and is currently producing 600 barrels of oil per day. Experts say 75 per cent of the wells drilled in Ghana have varying quantities of oil and gas.
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