Spanish investors and the wider European business community have affirmed their readiness to contribute significantly to the country’s industrialisation and development cause, but they want the local investments promotor, Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC), to come clear on its investment-courting law that is set to be reviewed.
Celestino Alvarez-Neira, Chairman of the European Business Organisation (EBO)—a network of over one thousand investors—told Business24 that large multinationals are specific about where they invest and look closely at countries’ legal frameworks to know where and how to invest.
“For the past three years, EU businesses have invested close to €3bn in Ghana, and it’s a number that has been growing in spite of the difficult economic context owing to the coronavirus pandemic. But we think it would be important for the GIPC to clearly define the legal framework that foreign direct investments operate under—and we hope this will be done as soon as possible.
“A clearly defined act from the GIPC will be a push for investments,” he said at a business roundtable organised by the Spain-Ghana Chamber of Commerce (SGCC) in Accra.
According to him, the clarity of the GIPC Act, which is to be reviewed, will guide European investors on how and under which conditions to invest in the country.
“Foreign direct investment is always the engine of growth for every economy; you can develop a country from the inside or the outside, and FDI is a key component of that.
“Today, any foreign company wanting to operate in Ghana must have a certain share capital, quotas and other established conditions. We all know in the sector that this act is going to be reformed, and so we are waiting for the new conditions,” he added.
To Mr. Alvarez-Neira, foreign companies that decide to set up in Ghana to create jobs and wealth for themselves and the country need to have very clear conditions.
The Spain-Ghana Chamber of Commerce hosts Spanish businesses operating in the domestic market as well as Ghanaian companies that deal in Spanish products.
The business roundtable was therefore to discuss with the GIPC some challenges faced by both existing and potential Spanish investors.
President of the chamber, Nadim Ghanem-Pares, said the GIPC has done a great job helping Ghana to develop and attract investments, but there was still room for improvement, especially in terms of relaxing the barriers to investment.
“One major item we want to put on the table is for the GIPC to drop the barriers of entry for businesses that are really not available in Ghana. We want to protect local businesses and industry, but we cannot put barriers to businesses that do not exist, like niche technologies that are peculiar to Spain but could bring a lot of value to the Ghanaian economy,” he told Business24.