Guyana, Ghana push for closer economic ties between Private Sectors

…red tape, bureaucracy will be removed – President Ali assures

With Ghana’s Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia currently in Guyana on a three-day visit, President Dr Irfaan Ali is using the occasion to push for closer economic and private sector ties between the two countries.

President Irfaan Ali

President Ali and Dr Bawumia were joined at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre on Monday by Prime Minister, Brigadier (retired) Mark Phillips, Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo and other members of Cabinet along with members of the Ghanian Government and the private sectors of both countries.

Ghana’s Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia

During his address to the attendees, President Ali noted the importance of moving beyond just growing individual businesses in either country, to the point where the private sectors of both countries can come together and pursue opportunities on the global market.
He noted that the private sector in any country is the engine of growth, adding that red tapes and bureaucracy will be removed from the process of reaching business opportunities between the two countries.
“There is no need for interlocutors. This is your opportunity in the two private sectors to have direct, meaningful engagement and advancement of the opportunities you seek to pursue. And it is our intention, that you would understand how important this is. And that you would make good use of this opportunity that exists on both sides.”
“It is not only about the opportunity that exists in Guyana. Or the opportunities in Ghana. It is how do we combine the twin power of the opportunities to become a dynamic and major player. And this is the level of engagement and thinking we want at the private sector.”
Some examples Ali cited were mining, agriculture and food security and transportation. Meanwhile, Bawumia endorsed the President’s sentiments when he went to the podium and further said that the enabling environment in both countries now exists for such increased ties.
“Trade figures indicate that trade between our two countries over the past two years has not been very encouraging, due to a number of varied reasons. However, the recent upsurge in economic growth in our respective economies has provided the enabling environment for the private sector to enhance commercial ties between our two countries.”
“It is our expectation, therefore, that the private sector through an innovative approach would partner with Government to create sustainable growth by focusing on the pillars of development for economic prosperity,” Bawumia said.
Bawumia noted that Ghana itself has undergone a restructuring of its economy and has been seeing commensurate economic growth. The Ghanian economic agenda includes flagship strategies such as “one district, one factory” and “one village, one dam”, among others. He also noted that agricultural products are also key in the development of its industrial strategy.
The Ghanian Vice President arrived in Guyana on Saturday, and was greeted by a military guard of honour and Prime Minister Phillips. Dr Bawumia, who will be in Guyana from December 4 through 7, also arrived with an 18-member official delegation as well as members of the Ghanian private sector.
“While in Guyana, His Excellency Dr Bawumia and delegation will engage in high-level bilateral discussions at both the Government and Private Sector levels, including engagements with President Irfaan Ali, Prime Minister Mark Phillips (retired), Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo, and other Ministers of Government. Vice President Bawumia will also meet with members of the Ghanaian diaspora and pay a visit to the University of Guyana,” a press release revealed.
“The two sides will also sign a framework bilateral cooperation agreement and further advance the conclusion of agreements in areas of mutual interest. Prior to departing Guyana, Vice President Bawumia is expected to co-host a press conference with his Guyanese counterpart, Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo,” the release added.
Vice President Bawumia’s visit follows on the heels of the three-day visit Jagdeo paid to Ghana in October, where he had held talks with his Ghanian counterpart. Following these discussions, he had announced that Ghanian experts would be reviewing Guyana’s draft local content legislation.
During Jagdeo’s meeting with the Ghanian Vice President, they had also spoken about the initiatives that Ghana implemented to further its industrial agenda and develop its non-oil economy.
True to the talks Jagdeo held with Bawumia, Ghanian experts have been helping with Guyana’s local content efforts. In fact, Attorney General Anil Nandlall has said that Ghanian support and influence is proving integral to Guyana as it crafts its own Local Content Bill that draws on the experience of those who have walked that road before.
Last week, Nandlall met with Professor Joe Amoako-Tuffour of the Economic Management Team in the Office of the Vice President in Ghana. In a press release following the meeting, Nandlall noted that strenuous efforts are being made to pilot the Local Content Bill.
Ghanian support for Guyana’s local content efforts was garnered through the bilateral efforts of the Guyana Government. In October, Vice President Jagdeo visited Ghana where a commitment was made to provide this support. Before that, President Ali had held discussions with Ghanian President Nana Akufo-Addo.
Ghana has been producing and exporting crude oil since 2011, having discovered the resource in commercial quantities back in 2007. Guyana begun producing oil in December 2019 in the Stabroek Block offshore, where there is said to be some 9 billion barrels of oil equivalent.
The two countries officially established diplomatic relations on May 14, 1979. (G3)