Ghanaian minds have been focused for some time on the lack of direct investment in the country, but rather than twiddle its thumbs, the Government has begun to move fast to change the situation, with President Rawlings leading the chase.
After a long decade of economic reforms and, structural adjustment, Ghana's economy has still not received its share of foreign investment. Gross Direct Investment from the private sector in the Ghanaian economy has hovered at around only $30m a year or 16% of GDP. With half this coming from Government capital expenditure, and much of the remainder from domestic companies, it is plain that foreign investors have fought shy of Ghana.
In a concerted effort to show the world that after all these years of reform, Ghana is now a country that welcomes and supports inward investment, President Rawlings, himself unused to travelling outside Ghana, has undertaken an aggressive investment tour of the United States, China, Singapore and Malaysia, with a high powered delegation of Ministers and private sector businessmen and it appears to have paid off.
President Rawlings had earlier been to South Africa and Europe on a business drive, but such was the faith in Asia holding the key to dynamic future investment, that even when the 20 year old Presidential Fokker jet developed serious technical problems in Nairobi, it did not cut short the President's trip East.
President Rawlings will be very pleased that he made the effort. In Malaysia, Ghanaian private companies signed agreements with their Malaysian counterparts in industries as diverse as hotels, real estate development and banking.
Business Focus BHD of Malaysia signed an agreement to develop a 219 room five-star hotel in place of the closed down state owned Ambassador Hotel. President Rawlings unveiled a model of the hotel which is to be known as Sheraton Grace Hotel.
The Ghana Real Estates Development Association (GREDA), Regimanuel Gray Ltd, a Ghanaian Estates developer, signed an agreement with Business Focus and Metro Allied Bank to go into real estate development and banking. The real estate project would involve the construction of 10 thousand housing units at the Western parts of Accra in the next two years.
With the banking deal, Ghanaian private entrepreneurs are buying a 30% share required to close the equity share holding in a new Bank in Ghana.
Ghanaians have also signed accords with Malaysia's Palm Oil Research Institute for the development of the...