The PAC-DBIA advises the US President, through the Secretary of Commerce, on ways to strengthen commercial engagement between the United States and African countries. Members of this very important Advisory Council in Washington are selected from Small, Medium, and Large Companies and Corporations across the United States – representing a diverse range of industries and economic sectors.
The current PAC-DBIA is co-chaired by Laura Lane, President of Global Public Affairs for UPS; and Farid Fezoua, President and CEO of GE Africa; with Susan Silbermann, Global President for Emerging Markets for Pfizer, serving as Vice Chair.
Mr. Kyerematen was the Special Guest at the 2021 Virtual Roundtable, and indicated that Ghana and the US have enjoyed fraternal relations over the past decades. This has manifested in the number of US investments and businesses operating in Ghana across diverse sectors of the Ghanaian economy. Ghana and the US have also cooperated well o the global stage to promote sustainable development, peace and security.
The Trade and Industry Minister, who served as Ambassador to the United States between 2001 and 2003 under President Kufour, stated that since 2017 the Ministry of Trade and Industry has been implementing a Ten Point Industrial Transformation Plan aimed at making Ghana the new manufacturing hub for the sub-region. Ghana and US economic cooperation and partnership is therefore critical to achieving this industrial transformation in order to promote sustainable economic development.
Mr. Kyerematen recalled that a memorandum of understanding signed between Ghana and the US in July 2018 aimed at increasing private sector participation in Ghana’s economy; and provides support to assist Ghana develop selected priority and strategic sectors of the economy to achieve a Ghana Beyond Aid. Among the priority projects under this MoU are the One District, One Factory (1D1F) Initiative and agro-industrial projects.
He further indicated that although the COVID-19 pandemic is ravaging every nation and has disrupted economic programmes of countries across the world, Ghana is however seizing the opportunities emerging from the pandemic to refocus attention on industrialisation.
Mr. Kyerematen therefore appealed to the PAC-DBIA Executives, Ambassador Sullivan and Ms. Camille Richardson – Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce who moderated the Session, to expedite the process of releasing the US EXIM Bank and JP Morgan credit facility of US$300million in support of the One District, One Factory (1D1F) programme.
The facility amount is mainly directed at the provision of capital Equipment and Machinery, as well as building factory infrastructure for beneficiary Business Promoters in Ghana under the 1D1F Initiative.
He added that the Ministry of Trade and Industry in collaboration with other Ministries, Departments and Agencies commenced the implementation of a Business Regulatory Reforms Programme aimed at creating better regulatory frameworks for the private sector to invest in job creation.
The programme has eliminated bottlenecks and automated processes at selected MDAs: resulting in reducing incorporation of businesses from 14 days in 2017 to three days in 2021; securing a business operating permit from seven days to one day; while payment of taxes has been automated, with the introduction of an Electronic Filing and Payment platform making fulfilling tax obligations easier.
The Trade Minister, who is well respected across the globe as an expert in trade negotiations, informed the audience that Ghana offers attractive incentive frameworks and a congenial business environment for US investors. By investing in Ghana, he assured, US investors have guaranteed market access to the United States market under AGOA; the European Union (EU) market under the Interim Ghana-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA); the United Kingdom market under the Interim Ghana-UK Trade Partnership Agreement: and the Africa market under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement.
Other Speakers during the virtual Roundtable included US Ambassador to Ghana Stepanie Sullivan; Laura Lane of UPS; Jason Brantley of John Deer Group; Takreem El-Tohamy of IBM; Peter Sullivan from Citi Bank; Sami Mainich of Dow Industries; and with Lawrence Agyensam, CEO of Ghana EXIM Bank, in attendance.