Interview by Kanchi Batra
Diplomatist: What are the priorities for your tenure as High Commissioner of Ghana to India?
H.E. Mr. Kwaku Asomah – Cheremeh: My tenure as High Commissioner is focusing on a holistic engagement with India to further strengthen and enhance the political, economic and socio-cultural ties between the two nations.
Diplomatist: The current dynamics of the Ghana-India relationship are very positive. Which are the areas where Ghana and India can mutually work in partnership?
H.E. Mr. Kwaku Asomah – Cheremeh: Agriculture: The Agriculture sector is a key driver of the Ghanaian economy, contributing an estimated 22% of the GDP. Ghana’s GDP from Agriculture was 8,063.21 GHS million in the first quarter of 2020 and is projected to trend around 10,027.00GHS million in 2021 and 10,628.00 GHS million in 2022. Agriculture employs more than half of the workforce, mainly small landholders. Agriculture is an important contributor to Ghana’s export earnings, and a major source of inputs for the manufacturing sector.
Infrastructure Development: Investment to deliver infrastructure is very viable with the booming real estate industry and high demand for infrastructure development such as roads, railways, Airports, Marine transportation, hospitals and schools.
Tourism: Ghana is recognized as a quality destination with a good standard of tourism products in West Africa. Investment incentives available for companies in the sector include, a reduced corporate tax rate of 22% as against the general rate of 25%, a 10% concessionary rate on imported goods duty exemptions for plant and machinery.
Manufacturing: Ghana has long been one of Africa’s commodity exporters and is currently the second-largest producer of cocoa and the biggest producer of gold. Ghana’s most important manufacturing industries include Aluminium smelting, oil refinery, chemicals and cement, processing of metals, pharmaceutical manufacturing, wood processing, as well as textile and garment manufacturing.
Diplomatist: Are there challenges that hamper Ghana’s trade and investment relations with India? How do you think these will be addressed?
H.E. Mr. Kwaku Asomah – Cheremeh: Trade and investment relations between Ghana and India have been very smooth. Our focus is to increase the trade between both countries.
Diplomatist: Dubbed as ‘Home cocoa”, Ghana enjoys a land which gave birth to the best cocoa beans around the world. What measures can be adopted to increase its exports to India?
H.E. Mr. Kwaku Asomah – Cheremeh: Over the years Ghana has been exporting raw beans. The current Government policy is to add value to cocoa before exports. So greater efforts have been deployed to attract investment in the area of cocoa processing where cocoa beans are processed into butter and powder before exports. Therefore, we are expecting much investments in this area.
Diplomatist: “With oil as a shot in the arm, we are going to fly”. These stimulating lines were said by John Kufour, former President of Ghana. Do you think this industry will further have an optimistic impression on the economy?
H.E. Mr. Kwaku Asomah – Cheremeh: Oil and Gas infrastructure continues to develop as companies explore onshore and offshore potentials. The decade from 2009 to 2019 was highly transformative for the Ghanaian energy sector, when the nation made its first discovery of deepwater oil and gas in 2007. The success of Ghana’s three oil-producing areas has caught the attention of international hydrocarbons players and opened the door to a new era of exploration partnerships. Such partnerships are expected to create a stronger market.
Diplomatist: How confident are you about growth prospects going forward, in Ghana and Sub-Saharan Africa?
H.E. Mr. Kwaku Asomah – Cheremeh: As we deepen our already strong partnership between business communities in both countries, we are keen to explore other possibilities of cooperation through the AfCFTA. Under the AfCFTA agreement, countries have committed to removing tariffs on 90 percent of goods with the remaining 10 percent of items to be phased out at a later stage. We encourage our business communities to explore and pursue other effective ways to enhance bilateral trade and investment opportunities between the two countries.
Diplomatist: How would you like relations between both nations to evolve over the next five years?
H.E. Mr. Kwaku Asomah – Cheremeh: The COVID-19 pandemic has again highlighted the need for concentrating on sustainable development. Combating climate change, addressing water scarcity and achieving sustainable agricultural growth would not just benefit Ghana and India, but also the entire planet. Both Ghana and India need to embrace new ways of the future and develop skills to deal with artificial intelligence in an increasingly digital world. By working together India and Ghana can hope to fulfil their shared destiny.