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New York, U.S.A.- The Business Council for International Understanding (BCIU), a White House initiative founded by President Dwight D. Eisenhower for senior business executives to interact with heads of state/government, cabinet ministers and senior government officials, announced the successful completion of a forum in New York City with His Excellency John Evans Atta Mills, President of The Republic of Ghana, and 25 business leaders from across the world.
Sponsored by United States Pharmacopeia and Eni S.p.A., the BCIU forum provided a platform for President Mills to outline the strategic opportunities for investment in Ghana while also addressing the fundamental economic pillars fueling Ghana’s fast growing economy. Business participants similarly outlined strategic opportunities for their companies and industries, while also engaging in a dialogue with the President on investment opportunities.
“We as a government are committed to creating the necessary environment to ensure that investors have good returns on their investments,” said President Mills at the forum. “Now that Ghana’s economy has been described as the fastest growing economy in the world, and at a time oil has been struck, let me be quick to say that it is our determination to ensure that this God-given resource becomes a blessing and not a curse.
We want to make sure that you have a credible judicial system, you have the kind of labor which will respond to the needs of the business, that you have a system which will respond to the very needs of investors.”
President Mills affirmed Ghana’s commitment to democracy, the rule of law, and respect for the judicial system, outlining their significance in fostering economic growth, return on investment and job creation.
“We appreciated the President’s unscripted fluency on economic priorities for Ghana and his comfort level in speaking directly and frankly with our members and international investors,” said Peter Tichansky, President and CEO of BCIU. “The interest in accessing Ghanaian market across major industries – and Africa through the Ghanaian gateway – were consistent themes expressed by businesses attending the forum.”
As a result of this and a previous visit by the President with the business community in New York, BCIU announced it is organizing a trade mission to Ghana later in the year with member companies interested in further exploration of opportunities.
“As one of the largest investors in the Ghanaian oil industry from exploration to production, midstream, and power, we were thrilled to support this outstanding forum with President of Ghana,” said Enzo Viscusi, Group Senior Vice President and Representative for the Americas, Eni.S.p.A.
“Ghana’s commitment to democracy, rule of law and sound investment protection principles has made our experience in the country very rewarding and is one we look to build upon without reservation. President Mills’ administration has shown tremendous discipline and leadership, which bodes well not only forGhana but also for the entire continent.”
“While the expansion of the oil and other major industrial industries in Ghana is clearly a major priority, we are very pleased that this administration is also focused on ensuring a thriving healthcare and pharmaceutical industry,” said Brian Hendrix, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, the U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP).
“As a result of this commitment and the stability and economic viability of Ghana, we have announced plans to create the USP-Sub-Saharan Africa Center for Pharmaceutical Advancement and Training (CePAT) in Accra to serve sub-Sahara Africa as an integrated platform for training, education, consulting and laboratory capabilities. From Accra, we will offer a systematic approach to the quality control of medicines in sub-Saharan Africa.”
“We believe Ghana offers terrific opportunities for growth and business development,” said Ed DiSanto, General Counsel and Chief Administrative Officer, American Tower. “As such, in December 2010 we entered into a joint venture with Africa’s largest mobile operator, MTN Group Limited (MTN) and launched our operations in Ghana.
TowerCo Ghana currently owns and operates nearly 1,900 wireless communication tower sites and plans to develop several hundred new towers over the next several years. We are pleased with the performance of our investment, and our team of 84 Ghanaians, and indirectly hundreds of others via our vendor relationships, are doing a great job.”
“Not only are international firms interested in Ghana, but Ghanaian entrepreneurs are also investing heavily,” said Humphrey Ayim – Darke, Chairman, Greater Accra Chapter, Association of Ghana Industries. “We are rapidly building our own companies, expertise and resources to serve our fast growing markets and taking advantage of our well-educated, hard working and expanding middle class.
We were delighted to participate in this strategic dialogue with international investors and are eager to make it clear that U.S. companies can find outstanding local partners in Ghana.”
“The Ghanaian agriculture sector, while not as high profile as oil, is nonetheless one of the most promising in the world thanks to President Mills’ and past administrations’ policies,” said Steven Wallace, Founder and President, The Omanhene Cocoa Bean Company. “To this day, European and American chocolatiers buy cocoa beans from Ghana and export them to their chocolate factories throughout the world where the famed Ghanaian beans are transformed into some of the world’s most delicious and expensive chocolate.
Now, for the first time, The Omanhene Cocoa Bean Company, which is headquartered in the U.S., is producing world class chocolate entirely in Ghana and uniquely preserving all the best attributes of the finest cocoa beans in the world.”
Image Courtesy of United Nations Photo