Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia on Tuesday opened the World Business Angels Investment Forum (GBAF) Office in Accra, to empower and finance start-ups, innovators and small-and-medium scale enterprises (SMEs) in the country to scale up.
The Office, the first to be established in the West African Sub-region, will interact and engage with a wide range of institutions including public and private, local and international and commercial and academic, to ensure economic development and help shape the global agenda.
The WBAF is an affiliate partner of the G-20 Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion (GPFI), an international organisation, with the objective of supporting businesses and entrepreneurs to easily access finance and generate more jobs for the youth.
Addressing the business community and other key stakeholders at the inaugural ceremony in Accra, Vice President Bawumia said, the private sector was a critical partner for economic growth and sustainable development.
Therefore, President Akufo-Addo’s administration, over the past two years had been creating systems and congenial environment for start-ups, entrepreneurs and investors to register their businesses without much difficulty and access public services and credit with ease.
He said the government’s ultimate goal was to make Ghana the most business-friendly nation in Africa to attract investments, create jobs for the teeming unemployed youth and stimulate economic growth.
Dr Bawumia noted that the establishment of the WBAF Office in Accra was a clear recognition of the efforts Government had instituted in the past two years, and demonstrated the confidence the international business community had in the Ghanaian economy.
He said the country’s gross domestic growth (GDP) of 6.8 per cent in 2018, was one of the highest in the world, which was projected to increase between seven and eight per cent this year, while the macroeconomic indicators had stabilised, with the budget deficit decreased from 9.3 per cent in 2015 to 3.9 per cent in 2018.
In addition, the year-on-year inflation declined from 15.4 per cent in 2015 to the current figure of 9.1 per cent, with surplus trade balance.
More also, the country’s Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) shored up last year, with 168 projects registered by the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) worth US$3.5billion.
Dr Bawumia explained that those positive economic outcomes were as a result of stable macroeconomic environment, respect for human rights, stable democracy and implementation of digital policies such as the mobile money interoperability payment system, national digital property addressing system and the ongoing national identification system (Ghana Card).
He gave the assurance that the digital database from the digital platforms would be integrated into a central database next year, which would enable financial institutions to easily verify personal details of individuals and whereabouts of businesses, who sought credit to scale up.
That, he said, would create trust in the social capital and eventually lead to decline in the interest rates charged by the banks and other financial institutions.
Vice President Bawumia noted that entrepreneurial empowerment was a key component for transforming the Ghanaian economy geared towards realising the Ghana beyond aid.
He believed that the GBAF was uniquely placed to support SMEs and entrepreneurs to expand and employ more young people.
Dr Ibrahim Mohammed Awal, the Minister of Business Development, in his welcome address, expressed delight for the establishment of the GBAF Office in Ghana since the Forum invested US$50billion annually in businesses, with Africa receiving only one per cent of that amount.
He was of the belief that the GBAF Office in the Sub-region would create more opportunities for young entrepreneurs and innovators to access finance to scale up.
Mr Baybars Altuntas, the Board Chairman of the GBAF, in an address, said the business environment was a tough market for investment.
However, the GBAF was ready and prepared to partner and support inventors with innovative ideas that could create opportunities and provide more jobs for the masses.
He lauded Ghana Government for creating a business-friendly environment for investors and businesses to thrive, saying that, the nation was on the right path to economic success.