President Akufo-Addo delivers keynote address at Financial Times Africa Summit

President Akufo-Addo delivers keynote address at Financial Times Africa Summit

The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has participated in the 5th Edition of the Financial Times Africa Summit which took place in London, United Kingdom from 7th to 9th October.

The Summit was held under the theme “Africa Means Business”, and featured high profile speakers in business, politics and economics, as well as Heads of State committed to making business central to their development goals.

Delivering the keynote address at the 5th Financial Times Africa Summit at the Claridge’s Hotel in London on October 8, 2018, President Akufo-Addo addressed those who felt anxious about the increasing leaning of Africa towards China, fearing that such relations would culminate in the colonization of the continent, and gave an assurance that such a thing would not occur

He went on to say that Africa could not afford to turn its back on China, which is the second largest economy in the world, especially when China was contributing hugely to addressing the continent’s infrastructure gap, something countries in the West were not coming forth to help with.

“Nobody is coming, pretending to be bringing God’s Word in one hand and taking our lands with the other; this time round we will look after our interests in much the same way as all other nations we deal with look after their own interests,” he stated.

Speaking on the specific theme: “Ghana, Africa mean business”, he explained that Ghana was prepared to receive investors who were ready for the priority areas, especially in infrastructure, to accelerate development and the expansion of the economy.

With a key challenge of the Ghanaian economy being its infrastructural deficit, the President indicated that his government is embarking on an aggressive public private partnership programme to attract investment in the development of both road and railway infrastructure.

“We are hopeful that, with solid private sector participation, we can develop a modern railway network with strong production centre linkages and with the potential to connect us to our neighbours to the north, i.e. Burkina Faso, to the west, i.e. Cote d’Ivoire, and to the east, i.e. Togo,” he said.

The railway sector, he stressed, “is an area where appropriate foreign technology, expertise and investment would be very welcome.”

To the participants at the forum, the President reiterated the commitment of his government to creating the space for the private sector to grow the jobs that Ghanaian youth need, and to position Ghana to take full advantage of the immense opportunities of the projected African Continental Free Trade Area.

“I am working towards building a Ghana where her people have jobs and decent livelihoods. Ghana is endowed with great potential, where security and the rule of law are upheld, and where investments are secure. We want to contribute to the global market place at the higher level of the value chain for Ghanaian products,” he added.

President Akufo-Addo added that “We want to bring greater dignity to the lives of millions of people in Ghana. We want to build a Ghana Beyond Aid, which has discarded a mindset of dependence, aid, charity and handouts, and we mean business.”

The President said the modest successes chalked up through the government’s prudent economic management had received a major boost, as corporate giants in the world, including VW of German and Sino Truck of China, had decided to establish their assembling plants in Ghana to produce for the West African market.

He said another global giant in the tech industry, Google, had decided to base its African artificial intelligence centre in Ghana, making it the first in Africa, while global energy giants like Exxon and others from Australia had signed agreements to undertake deep water oil exploration in Ghanaian waters.

He reiterated that Ghana welcomed foreign direct investment, especially those with the associated transfer of technology to help facilitate the vision of a strong and viable economy that was focused on trade and investment co-operation, rather than the reception of aid.

Speaking at the summit, the Editor of the Financial Post, Mr Lionel Barber, said public policy had a huge role to play in ensuring that Africa benefited immensely from its resources.

He observed that Africa was trying to free itself from the constraints of its old colonial ties and engage in business with other partners, including China, Turkey, Brazil and countries in the Middle East.

Lionel Barber said in recent times, especially in 2018, there had been notable developments on the political landscape on the continent, including elections in Zimbabwe.

Other speakers at the two-day programme included a former Prime Minister of Britain, Mr Tony Blair; the President of Gabon, Mr Ali Bongo Ondimba; the Nigerian business mogul, Mr Aliko Dangote; the Founder and Chairman of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, Dr Mo Ibrahim, and the President of Europe, the Middle East and Africa and Global Fixed Incomes, Currencies and Commodities Trading at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Mr Bernard Mensah.

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