Thursday, October 20, 2011

GNCCI celebrates 250 years of private sector advocacy

Exactly 250 years have turned since the establishment of a national chamber of commerce to spearhead the course of industries in the country’s private sector and towards the development of a vibrant economy. Ekow Essabra-Mensah writes.

The Ghana National Chamber of Commerce & Industry is without doubt, one of the leading business support service in the country, an independent organisation serving and promoting the commercial and industrial interest of small and large companies.

The chamber in its present form was established on the 8 th November 1961 under an Act of Parliament (Executive Instrument No. 196) following the amalgamation of the then four existing Chambers of Commerce.

These were the Accra and Eastern Province Chambers of Commerce, Kumasi Chamber of Commerce, Sekondi/Takoradi Chamber of Commerce that grouped expatriate firms and the Ghana Chamber of Commerce, which represented indigenous Ghanaian firms. The chamber serves the local business community with three core activities that are its founding principles.

The Chamber as part of its mandate is dedicated to helping entrepreneurial growth of companies and seek to promote the interest of companies and organisations engaged in investment, trade, commerce, agriculture, industry and manufacturing sectors.

The Chamber is also committed to playing a leadership role in the promotion of the healthy growth of the country’s economy, establishing a strong international linkage and projecting a good image for Ghana.

Mr. Emmanuel Doni- Kwame, acting Chief Executive Officer, of the Ghana Chamber of Commerce and industry in an interview with B&FT said: “The Chamber is in a unique position to act as a link between established businesses, the emerging sector, and government at the various levels.

“The Chamber is recognized locally and internationally as an impartial third party with a history of promoting the interest of businesses.”

The Chamber currently has a membership of over 2000 spanning across various sectors. Membership is offered to all registered business establishments in Ghana.



The Chamber Of Commerce is arguably one of the oldest institutions in Ghana with its establishment dating back to 8th November 1761 by the Danes.

In 1754, the Danish Gold coast became Danish Crown Colony and the Danish West Indian and Guinean Company was granted a royal charter to take over the administration of the gold coast.

In 1760, the West Indian-Guinean Chamber of Revenues was established. In 1776, the Danish West Indian and Guinean Company was dissolved. In 1781-1782, a West Indian trade company and Baltic-Guinean trade company were founded respectively.

Late in the 18th century, Ernest Schwmmelmann, Danish minister of finance(1784-1813), suggested that Denmark should introduce a plantation economy in its African colonies. In 1816, the West Indian-Guinean Chamber of revenues was merged with the college of commerce to form the General Customs Chamber and College of Commerce.

However neither the plantation economy nor trade in other goods flourished as hoped. The traditional trading partners, the coastal Fanti states were subjugated by the Ashantis by 1807.

The Danish trading posts were finally abandoned. In 1850, Denmark sold its property and claims on the Gold Coast to Great Britain. The Cape Coast Chamber was later formed out of the Customs Chamber and College of Commerce.

In 1894 a deputation from the Cape Coast Chamber of Commerce many of whose members held links to merchants in Great Britain put pressure on the governor to appoint a permanent resident. There was considerable feeling in the colony in support of this move.

The new Asantehene AgyemanPrempeh I declined this request as well as others, but pressure was building for his kingdom to be brought under British control to prevent the French from doing so.

Another travelling commissioner Hendrick Vroom was sent to Kumasi to ask the Asantes to accept a British officer as their friend and advisor.

Eventually the Asantes sought to bypass the authority of the British governor by sending an eight person deputation to London to plead for their state’s independence, but it was neither recognized nor received. They were simply told to deal directly with the Governor of the then Gold Coast. We are proud to say that three of our members and others were mandated by the Governor to draft the 1951 constitution.


The Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and industry will this year celebrate the 250th anniversary of the establishment of the first chamber of commerce in the then Gold Coast and 50 years of the enactment of the legal instrument merging all Chambers of commerce in independent Ghana into one Ghana National Chamber of Commerce.

Prior to 1961, there were four separate and independent Chambers of Commerce in Ghana, namely: The Accra and Eastern province Chamber of Commerce, The Kumasi Chamber of Commerce, The Sekondi/Takoradi Chamber of Commerce, The Ghana Chamber of Commerce.

The first three Chambers mentioned above were composed of expatriate firms and businesses based in the three main trading centers, while the fourth Chamber catered for the indigenous Ghanaian businesses.

The first president of Ghana, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah did not fancy the duplicated representation smacking of racial discrimination. He rightly ordered the Chambers to merge.

The Ghana National Chamber of Commerce was then established on 8th November, 1961 under an Act of parliament (Executive Instrument No. 196) following the amalgamation of the then existing Chambers of Commerce, which were Nationality based.

The Executive Instrument was amended by legislative Instrument No.611 of 1968 to streamline some of the internal structures of the Chamber. The Chamber was charged with the following functions: Promotion and protection of trade, commerce, industries and manufacturers in Ghana
The collection and circulation of statistics relating to trade, commerce, industry and manufacturers of Ghana.

The provision of facilities for the communication and interchange of views between members of the Chamber on one hand and departments of Government, public institution and other associations on the other hand, on matters directly affecting the interests of the Chamber or any member thereof.

The printing and publication of newspapers, periodicals, books and other documents for promoting the interest of the Chamber.

The establishment and maintenance of libraries and museums for the promotion of trade, commerce, industry and manufacturers of Ghana. The promotion and participation in trade fairs in Ghana and elsewhere. To develop linkages with Chambers of Commerce on other parts of the world.

The promotion of and co-operation with associations or Chamber and other organizations in Ghana discharging similar functions as the Chamber. The grant of donations to local or national charities.

The chamber has since been an independent, non-political organization dedicated to promoting and protecting the interests of businesses in Ghana.



The country being predominately agricultural country lacks a self-coordinating market system for the trade of agricultural produce. Farmers lack access to a well function market where they can get competitive price for their produce.

As a consequence, farmers face the problem of unstable prices for their produce leading to glut in one region or district and shortages in other regions. Lack of access to agriculture raw materials also affect agro-proceessing and other sectors.

The Ghana National Chamber of Commerce & Industry in collaboration with the Ghana Agricultural Producers and Traders Organisation, the Ghana National Cargo Transporters Association and with the support of BUSAC will undertake an advocacy action on the inclusion of the private sector in the establishment of a Commodity Exchange.

Agricultural markets in Ghana had been characterized by high costs and high risks of transacting, forcing much of our agric producer into isolation. With only a few of output reaching the market, commodity buyers and sellers tended to trade only with those they knew, to avoid the risk of being cheated or default.

Trade is done on the basis of visual inspection because there was no assurance of product quality or quantity, this drive up market costs, leading to high consumer prices.

The goal of this action is to partner with other stakeholders to develop a Commodity Exchange to connect buyers and sellers of locally grown agricultural commodities in an efficient, reliable and transparent manner by making use of innovation and technology.

1. To develop an integrated commodity marketing policy that addresses all the processes namely, transport, grading, storage and information facilities for the producer as well as the consumer

2. To develop a well equipped institutional establishment which can provide all marketing services to all market actors;

3. To develop a private and public-partnership in the creation of the commodity market.
The Chamber will undertake a study tour of Ethiopia and develop a position paper. A sensitization workshop will be organized to allow beneficiaries of the action mainly members to contribute to the position paper presented.

A series of media activities will be carried out via TV, Radio and print media to inform and educate the public. Stakeholder workshops’ policy dialogue will be used to ensure a consensus is reached and objective of action achieved. Finally negotiation and follow up on target groups

This project will contribute towards strengthening the culture of doing business by creating a transparent, innovative and efficient marketing system for buyers and sellers especially small-scale farmers who are at the mercy of merchants in the nearest and only market they know, to negotiate better prices or reduce their market risk.

Customer Service Celebration

The Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, collaborated with organizers to promote customer service in the country.

The Chamber recognizes the role of the customer in business development and sustainability and that as a as a leading voice of the business community in the country endorsed celebrations, as it is in the best interest of the business community , encouraging all its members to partner or participate and ensure appropriate customer service .

Business Support services

The Chamber offers its Members a vast number of business support services that range from the local services such as start-up support, contracts and tender information, training, translation support, export market information and documentation.

James Town pupils receives educational materials

Gateway 4 Youth, a non Governmental Organization (NGO) has presented educational materials to over 84 needy children aimed at supporting and encouraging school going children to take their education seriously.

The educational items including School bags, books and pens, pencils were presented to pupil’s residing in James town, a suburb of Accra.

Mr. Paulos Samuel, former country director of Plan Ghana International at a ceremony to officially present the items said: “This passion and spirit to help those affected youth succeed in life should be emulated and supported by those who are in the capacity to do so.

“I embarked on a nationwide tour during which I identified specific deprived localities that needed assistance, I interacted with opinion leaders and other relevant stakeholders all targeted at obtaining the true and real insight information on what was happening on the ground to enable me provide the needed items to support educational needs of the deprived children in the community”.

He explained that ultimate desire of Gateway 4 Youth is to ensure that children reach their full potentials and has its vision strategically set out to champion the total economic and social transformation change of the youth in Africa through the discovery of talent, skills, development and opportunities.

The organization’s primary focus is on the youth between 18- 35 with whom it works to identify it talent, identify opportunities and find ways of bringing the two together to enable them live a meaningful and purposeful life.

Mr.Paulos served Plan International for over a decade and has strong and loyal passion to help bring improvement and hope into the lives of the youth.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Chamber of Mines welcomes EPA ratings

The Ghana Chamber of Mines has commended the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for its 2010 AKOBEN audit results aimed at bringing environmental improvement and reducing risk of mining operations to the public.

“The Ghana Chamber of Mines commends the EPA and looks forward to working effectively with it and other partners on improving the understanding and functioning of the AKOBEN system in order to improve the ratings of our members,” Dr. Toni Aubynn, Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Chamber of Mines, told B&FT in Accra.

“The Chamber also takes the opportunity to congratulate mining companies who achieved appreciable improvement in this year’s AKOBEN audit, and hopes that the next ratings see a continuation in the performance improvements. We will continue to use the AKOBEN and other evaluation processes to continuously improve our environmental and social performance.

“The 2010 AKOBEN ratings saw an appreciable improvement over that of previous ratings. More member-companies made significant improvements on their performances in the last audit,” he said.

The report, ‘AKOBEN’, is an EPA initiative aimed at reducing the impact of industry on the environment and to bring about environmental improvements in business operations of all sizes.

It is also meant to encourage companies assess themselves so they can reduce environmental risks of their operations to the public.

The other indicators in the report are environmental best practice, community complaints and corporate social responsibility.

Under the initiative, compliance with environmental standards by mining and manufacturing concerns is assessed using a five-colour rating scheme measuring the environmental performance of 61 manufacturing and mining companies on the legal requirements in hazardous waste management, toxic releases and non-toxic releases, and monitoring and reporting.

The AKOBEN ratings are evaluated by analysing more than one hundred performance indicators which include quantitative data as well as qualitative and visual information.
Newmont Ghana Gold Limited joined Abosso Goldfields Limited and Ferro Fabrik Limited as the only three to be rated BLUE (Good) in the rankings.

Newmont’s rating is a huge improvement over last year’s, when it found itself in the RED zone. This was as a result of the over-flow of process-water at the company’s Ahafo Mine.

Other companies with improved performance included Ghana Manganese Company, Golden Star Resources-Wassa, and Chirano Gold Mines Limited.

Daniel Amlalo, Acting Executive Director of the EPA, threatened to revoke the operating licence or impose heavy financial fines on Ghana Bauxite Company-Awaso for “consistently’’ failing to adhere to best environmental performance practices.
Ghana Bauxite Company was for the second time rated ‘poor’ in the latest environmental performance rating and disclosure system.

Other mining companies including AngloGold Ashanti, Gold Fields Ghana Limited, Golden Star Resources-Bogoso, and Prestea Sankofa Gold Limited also scored ‘poor’ in the ratings.

“These companies did not include environmental reports in their annual reports. Nothing was known of their environmental policies. They again failed to report on how their operations affected the use of water and waste-management, their energy use and the effects of their operations on climate change. Companies do not regard the environment as a material business risk,”

Apart from AngloGold which scored RED in both its mines at Obuasi and Iduapriem, the Ghana Bauxite Company was also rated RED, ‘poor’.

In the manufacturing industry, Accra Brewery Limited and Akosombo Textiles were in the ORANGE (Satisfactory) zone, while Aluworks, Unilever Ghana Limited-Tema Factory and Accra Abattoir were rated RED.

The EPA also announced that it will increase from 50 to 100 the number of manufacturing companies that will be assessed in next year’s report, while the mining companies will increase from 11 to 19.


The Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GNCCI) has observed that the current global rules governing world trade have curbed misunderstanding and ensured fair trade practices.

The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) instituted INCOTERMS to keep up with the rapid expansion of world trade and globalisation.

The new rules were announced in September 2010 and came into effect on January 1, 2011.

The current revision takes into account issues such as developments in cargo security and the need to replace paper documents with electronic ones.

The acting Chief Executive Officer of GNCCI, Mr. Emmanuel Doni-Kwame, speaking at a seminar in Accra to educate business executives, exporters and stakeholders said: “The global economy has given businesses broader access than ever before to markets all over the world.”

As the volume and complexity of global sales increase, so do possibilities for misunderstandings and costly disputes when sale contracts are not adequately drafted.

Mr. Doni-Kwame noted that “the INCOTERMS rules, the ICC rules and the GNCCI rules on the use of domestic and International Trade terms, facilitate the conduct of global trade.”

He explained that the rules in sale contracts clearly define the parties’ respective obligations and reduces the risk of legal complications.

Since the creation of INCOTERMS rules by ICC in 1936, this globally-accepted contractual standard has been regularly updated to keep pace with development of international trade.

The INCOTERMS 2010 rules take account of the continual spread of customs-free zones, the increased use of electronic communications in business transactions, heightened concern about security in the movement of goods, and changes in transport practices.

The broad expertise of ICC’s Commission on commercial law and practice, whose membership is drawn from all parts of the world and all trade sectors including Ghana, insures that the rules respond to business needs everywhere.

The new rules feature two new rules which reflect advances in international trade over the last decade, and are an essential tool for trade.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Aid addiction

From November 29 to December 1, 2011, approximately 2,000 donors and beggars will review global progress in improving the impact and effectiveness of aid, and make commitments that set a new agenda and indicators to underpin aid effectiveness for development, our Chief Correspondent, Ekow Essabra-Mensah looks at the key success factors leading to Busan, South Korea.

When the aid community meets at the High Level Forum (HLF) on Aid Effectiveness in Busan, Republic Korea, in November 2011, they will have two tasks to accomplish.

The first is to take stock of commitments to improve the quality of aid made at previous forums in Paris and Accra.

The second is to establish a new global compact that can drive further effectiveness improvement in the official aid sector while capturing the different circumstances under which aid is delivered.

The 2011 High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan is expected to be different from the preceding forums in Rome (2003), Paris (2005) and Accra (2008).

It must directly contend with a particularly complex mixture of factors. First, budget difficulties in the traditional donor countries which provide major development support are likely to mark the end of an era of growing official aid budgets.

Surveys by the Development Assistance Committee of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation (OECD/DAC) suggest that aid growth will slow to just two percent a year from 2011 to 2013.

Consequently, there is a search to leverage aid with other resources and strategies for development. With tighter aid budgets, there is greater attention than ever before on improving the dysfunctional international aid architecture to make it more efficient, effective and accountable.

Furthermore, newly prominent actors in development — from official partners like China to international NGOs to private corporations — have become large in financial terms, changing the nature of the aid landscape. While this phenomenon has been unfolding for years, the degree to which it is treated seriously in Busan will determine the relevance of this High Level Forum.

Nevertheless, the process of setting up indicators, targets and monitoring instruments has proven its worth in supporting accountability, knowledge and learning. As targets for the Paris indicators were only specified up to 2010, a key success factor for Busan will be the development of a new set of targets and indicators to underpin ongoing dialogue on improving aid effectiveness.

Statistical background on aid

In 2010, net official development assistance (ODA) flows from members of the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the OECD reached US$128.7billion, representing an increase of +6.5% over 2009.

This is the highest real ODA level ever, surpassing even the volume provided in 2005 which was boosted by exceptional debt-relief. Net ODA as a share of gross national income (GNI) was 0.32%, equal to 2005 and higher than any other year since 1992.

Bilateral aid for core development programmes and projects (e.g. excluding debt-relief grants and humanitarian aid) rose by +5.9% over the 2009 figure. New lending (+13.2%) increased faster than grants (+6.8%).

Bilateral ODA to Africa was US$29.3billion, of which US$26.5 billion was for sub-Saharan Africa. These amounts represent an increase in real terms of +3.6% and +6.4% respectively over 2009. However, excluding debt-relief grants, bilateral ODA fell very slightly (-0.1%) for Africa but rose (+1.7%) for sub-Saharan Africa.

Donor performance

In 2010, the largest donors by volume were the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Japan. Denmark, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden continued to exceed the United Nations ODA target of 0.7% of GNP. The largest increases in real terms in ODA between 2009 and 2010 were recorded by Australia, Belgium, Canada, Japan, Korea, Portugal and the United Kingdom.

The United States continued to be the largest single donor with net ODA disbursements of US$30.2billion, representing an increase of +3.5% in real terms over 2009. This is the highest real level of ODA ever recorded by a single donor country, except for 2005 when the US gave exceptional debt relief to Iraq. US ODA as a percent of GNP remained unchanged at 0.21%.

Its bilateral ODA to the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) rose to a record US$9.4billion, representing an increase of +16.2% over 2009.

Much of this increase was accounted for by the US response to the 2010 Haitian earthquake (aid to Haiti rose +241% to US$1.1billion). Among non-LDCs, aid to Pakistan rose especially sharply (+126% to USD 1.4 billion), reflecting increased disbursements across many sectors.

ODA from the 15 EU countries that are members of the DAC rose by +6.7% in 2010 to reach US$70.2billion, representing 54% of total net ODA provided by DAC donors. It also represented 0.46% of DAC-EU GNI, up from 0.44% in 2009. This was well above the overall DAC average of 0.32%.

Available data shows that donors generally failed to deliver on aid promise. This is just one of the tasks that the Busan High Level Forum has to clear.

Owing to the needs of developing countries, which largely constitute aid-recipient countries, the group of rich countries - called the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries - promised at the UN in 1970 to increase annual aid to 0.7 percent of their Gross National Product (GNP).

The 22 OECD countries, the major donor countries of the world, failed to meet this target. It was reaffirmed in the Monetary Consensus of 2002, but as of now only five of these countries - Luxemburg, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and the Netherlands - have fulfilled their commitment.

Throughout the 1990’s, OECD aid declined from a high of 0.33 of gross national product to reach 0.22 percent in 1997.

The years between 2001 and 2005 were periods of remarkable increase in total aid, but the increases were ruled out by critics because of their composition. In 2005, for instance, aid flows rose 31.4 percent to top the US$100billion mark for the first time. Contributing to the increase was a US$19billion debt-relief for Iraq and Nigeria, as well as US$2.2billion Tsunami aid.

A total of US$103.7billion was provided by the OECDs in aid to developing countries in 2007, which represents a drop from 0.31 percent of members’ combined gross national product in 2006 to 0.28 percent in 2007. In absolute terms, the figure equals a real decline of 8.4 percent from the 2006 level.

According to the Development Cooperation Directorate, however, the fall was expected because Oversees Development Assistance (ODA) had been exceptionally high in 2005 (US$107.1billion) and 2006 (US$104billion), due to large Paris Club debt operations for Iraq and Nigeria. Debt-relief grants diminished in 2007 to US$8.7billion as the Paris Club operations tapered off.

Excluding debt-relief grants, net ODA rose by 2.4 percent in 2007 while bilateral aid to sub-Saharan Africa, excluding debt-relief, increased by 10 percent in real terms. This represents an improvement on the recent rate of increase.

But it is clear that donors still face a real challenge to meet the Gleneagles G-8 summit projection to double aid to Africa, as pledged in 2010.

The largest donors in 2007, by volume, were the United States followed by Germany, France, the United Kingdom and Japan. These countries however failed to meet the United Nations target of 0.7 percent of GNP.

Ghana's position on Aid Effectiveness

Cabinet passes national aid policy

Ghana’s Cabinet is expected to fully pass the national aid policy document to harmonise and promote aid effectiveness, and to improve country ownership and leadership of aid management.

The framework, expected to receive final passage by the end this year, will become the nation’s short-term aid policy blueprint which will provide guidelines for attracting aid to support the developmental agenda from 2011 to 2015.

The national aid policy framework presently awaiting cabinet endorsement has 10 thematic areas including policies and strategies - focusing on country systems and coordination of aid management - and is targetted at ensuring accountability and transparency in aid inflows.

Mary-Anne Addo, Director, Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, disclosed: “We need a value for the money framework to make sure ODA’s US$120billion is spent as effectively as possible.

“Aid effectiveness is about making aid make a difference; keep it simple, stick to the essentials – ownership.”

Ms. Addo, who is the Director, External Resource Mobilisation (Multilateral) Division at MoFEP, presenting a paper under the topic “The Aid Architecture Reform Agenda: The Journey from Monterey through Paris and Accra to Busan”, noted that development aid to partner countries does not fully achieve desired results due to how aid is delivered and managed.

She said several partner and donor countries, international and civil society organisations, meeting in Paris at the Second High-Level Forum (HLF-2) on Aid Effectiveness in 2005, committed themselves to reforming aid delivery and management to achieve greater effectiveness and results.

The stakeholders, she said, agreed on the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness which included Partnership Commitments to strengthen ownership, alignment, harmonisation, managing for results, and mutual accountability.

“Since aid effectiveness is about value for money, benchmarks are needed for donor and partner countries -- which were not clearly spelt out at that time. The PD and the AAA were therefore a step forward in ensuring greater aid effectiveness and results since they provide those benchmarks.

“Partner countries, since the Paris Declaration,” she noted, “have developed better understanding of aid effectiveness; but the development agenda is still threatened by over-bureaucratisation.” She therefore called for political engagement and mutual trust on the part of both sides to achieve results.

Touching on fragmentation of donor assistance, Ms. Addo said the practice increases transaction cost and affects implementation of projects. According to the director, the practice would not be a problem if donors did not insist that partner countries adopt donor-country systems to deliver aid.

Mrs. Stella Williams, External Resource Mobilisation Division, said the sheer scale and complexity of the modern global aid and development agenda makes the drive for aid and development effectiveness one of the most important global public service initiatives currently being undertaken.

“This process has not delivered all the expected results or included the concerns of all stakeholders, which is essential for national cohesion and stability. There is, however, the will to improve national ownership of projects and accountability.”

Can Africa forego Aid?

Concerns have been raised by stakeholders, civil society organisations and policy analysts of the need for governments to develop pragmatic strategies to wean themselves from aid and concessionary loans and become self-dependent.

Dr. John Kwakye, a senior economist at the Institute of Economic Affairs, contends that foreign aid can be foregone with improvements in Africa’s tax effort and a dose of financial engineering.

“Some financial engineering is all that is needed to tap alternative resources,” he said at a roundtable on overcoming Africa’s aid addiction in Accra.

“The first vehicle is the budget itself. The budget offers scope for augmenting the resource envelope. This requires both revenue and expenditure measures. On the revenue side, there is room to broaden the tax-base... On the expenditure side, there is a need for prioritisation by curtailing non-essential spending to create space for priority spending.”

Across Africa, there is a large informal sector that hardly shows up on the tax-radar. Dr. Kwakye said this segment must be targetted, together with limited tax-exemptions and resolute enforcement of compliance.

The domestic capital market is another vehicle to raise financing and not have to depend on others’ largesse, he offered.

“Bonds could be issued by the government, municipalities and the private-sector. This can provide long-term funds for the budget and other development activities in the key sectors of the economy.

“In this regard, it will be necessary to develop appropriate institutional infrastructure and the legal framework,” he said.

Bar South Africa, regional capital markets are underdeveloped say analysts, and African governments have to grapple with the cost of funds. On the other hand, aid is received in the form of “very soft” loans (attracting interest as low as between 0 and 1 percent) and could serve as a cheaper financing option. But Dr. Kwakye points out that Africa’s dependence on foreign aid comes with costs.

Aid resources have not matched the region’s vast development needs, particularly relating to building physical and human capital, even as it has worsened indebtedness, he said; adding that associated conditions hardly serve the interests of African countries.

At the start of the last decade, a number of African countries drenched in substantial debts signed on to a debt-forgiveness initiative with Western donors in order to ease fiscal management.

Yet such countries have continued to receive additional resources from donors, and new commitments have been agreed to expand the scope of assistance.

Dr. Kwakye faulted aid for the bureaucracy and volatility in its delivery, which often “curtails or frustrates African development budgets.”

In Ghana a year ago, the World Bank’s erstwhile country-representative Ishac Diwan had cause to complain about the slow delivery of funds approved for disbursement by the bank.

The African Diaspora can provide a solution to Africa’s development-financing needs, the senior economist suggested.

He said remittances from this population can be tapped to provide capital to support domestic budgets. Another instrument could be Diaspora Bonds that pay returns to Diaspora investors, while raising capital for the continent.

African countries, rich in natural resources, could also securitise future foreign-exchange flows, he said, but resources must be used wisely and, to the extent possible, invested in productive – not consumption – activities.

There is a positive history to aid, evidenced by the Marshall Plan for the reconstruction of Europe after the Second World War, Dr. Kwakye admitted, but said “it is time Africa broke its aid addiction.”
Critical Aid issues

There is a troubling trend emerging in bilateral donor financing of development: it is falling, with what appears to be little coordination among donors.

Aid effectiveness principles call on donors to ensure their work is complementary - in part by reducing duplication through improved division of labor.

This push for donors to focus on their comparative advantages, together with the increased interest in achieving results, prioritising aid to poor countries and tighter fiscal environments, has led increasing numbers of bilateral donors to reduce the number of countries and sectors in which they work.

While this is not inherently worrisome, it becomes problematic if bilateral donors are not working together to identify focus countries and sectors to ensure that new gaps are not created. Without this coordination, aid effectiveness turns into the law of unintended consequences - and identifying comparative advantages becomes merely an isolated exercise of prioritising internal strengths.

With little more than a half-month left to prepare before a key international conference on aid effectiveness in Busan, Korea, the country’s policymakers and formulators must consider the answers to two key questions: what would success at this meeting look like? And what can be done in the preparation phase to maximise the chances of success?

The fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness will build on agreements from past years, but this time the discussions are taking place in a markedly different context.
In the face of heightened pressures on international aid, the meetings in Busan present an opportunity to finally take development cooperation seriously. The U.S. government in particular could play a critical and catalytic role.

Delivering on aid promises and timelines

The Accra High Level Forum targetted world leaders to agree to develop an effective and transparent international mechanism for improving aid allocation. Rich countries should find it important to meet the UN threshold of giving 0.7 percent of GNP as aid annually.

A basic condition for aid effectiveness is that it should be allocated to countries and to areas that need it most.

Present systems suggest that donors continue to allocate aid according to their own interests and objectives, and using allocations to impose policy conditions.

Aid is often disbursed according to donors’ own priorities and timetables, without sufficient effort to respect and conform to national planning, development priorities, or the national-budgeting time-frame of recipients.

This makes it very difficult for recipients to prepare effective budgets or to plan ahead. It also makes it difficult for watchdogs like the civil society organisations to monitor aid-flow and its effectiveness.

Donors should agree new targets to make multi-year aid predictable and guarantee aid commitments based on clear and transparent criteria - and should deliver those commitments on schedule in a transparent manner.

Over the past six years, the OECD has organised three High Level Forums on Aid Effectiveness. At these Forums, a growing group of key stakeholders – including the international donor community, developing countries and civil society organisations – met to agree on the most effective ways to manage the aid process.

The first Forum was held in Rome in 2003, followed by Paris in 2005 and Accra in 2008. They helped transform aid relationships between donors and partners into true vehicles for development cooperation.

The Rome High Level Forum on Harmonisation

In February 2003, major donors, multilateral organisations and aid-recipient countries gathered in Rome for the first High Level Forum on Harmonisation. They broke ground by agreeing on a common set of principles to improve the management and effectiveness of aid: the Rome Declaration.

This Declaration differs from the Paris Declaration in that it contains commitments solely on the donor side. It focuses on the harmonisation of donor procedures and practices so as to reduce transaction costs for partner countries.

The Paris High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness

The Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness, endorsed on 2 March 2005, is an international agreement adhered to by over 100 Ministers, Heads of Agencies and other Senior Officials. By adhering, they commit their countries and organisations to put into practice a set of principles to improve aid effectiveness, enabling them to reach specific targets by 2010. This is the highest-level existing statement of international norms regarding aid-delivery, with 56 partnership commitments and 12 indicators of progress.

The Accra High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness

The Accra Agenda for Action (AAA) was agreed in September 2008 at the Third High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness. It contains a series of commitments to strengthen and accelerate implementation of the Paris Declaration. While it does not replace the Paris Declaration and does not contain any additional monitoring arrangements, it elaborates on and sharpens the Paris commitments in important ways.

Busan High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness

Preparations are already underway for the next High Level Forum, to be held in Busan, South Korea. This will take stock of progress toward the targets set out in the Paris Declaration; a final round of monitoring together with a full evaluation of the impact of the Paris Declaration will be carried out. Based on these analyses and the discussions at the Forum, participants will decide on the way forward.

Based on 50 years of field experience and research, the five principles that resulted from these fora encourage local ownership, alignment of development programmes around a country’s development strategy, harmonisation of practices to reduce transaction costs, the avoidance of fragmented efforts, and the creation of result-frameworks.

Looking ahead, diverse sources of finance, knowledge and expertise play a key role in the future of development - and broad, dynamic partnerships will continue to give aid principles relevance which become catalysts in fast-tracking third-world nations’ developmental agendas.

Aid, Beyond 2011

The OECD has just completed the fourth comprehensive survey of donors’ future spending plans, which provides an indication of the collective forward programming of bilateral and multilateral donors through 2013.

Preliminary findings based on DAC members’ returns to the forward spending survey suggest slower aid growth ahead.

Global Country Programmable Aid (CPA) planned to grow at a real rate of 2% per year from 2011 to 2013, compared to 8% per year on average over the past three years. For DAC countries’ bilateral aid only, the projected increase is slightly lower at 1.3% per year.

The deceleration is likely to be more marked for low-income countries and for Africa, where CPA is projected to increase at about 1% per year in real terms, compared to a 13% annual growth rate in the past three years. Thus, additional aid to these countries is likely to be outpaced by population increases.

The DAC is developing illustrative aid scenarios for the next few years as a number of donors do have aid targets, notably the EU target of at least 0.7% of GNI for the 15 EU members of the DAC and 0.33% for other EU members in 2015, along with the commitment of the EU and its member-states to reach a collective target of 0.7% in 2015.


The Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GNCCI) has observed that the current global rules governing world trade has curbed misunderstanding and ensured fair trade practices.

The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) instituted INCOTERMS to keep up with the rapid expansion of world trade and globalisation.
The new rules were announced in September 2010 and came into effect on January 1, 2011.

The current revision takes into account issues such as developments in cargo security and the need to replace paper documents with electronic ones.

The acting Chief Executive Officer of GNCCI, Mr. Emmanuel Doni-Kwame, speaking at a seminar in Accra to educate business executives, exporters and stakeholders said: “The global economy has given businesses broader access than ever before to markets all over the world.”

As the volume and complexity of global sales increase, so do possibilities for misunderstandings and costly disputes when sale contracts are not adequately drafted.

Mr. Doni-Kwame noted that “the INCOTERMS rules, the ICC rules and the GNCCI rules on the use of domestic and International Trade terms, facilitate the conduct of global trade.”

He explained that the rules in sale contracts clearly define the parties’ respective obligations and reduces the risk of legal complications.

Since the creation of INCOTERMS rules by ICC in 1936, this globally-accepted contractual standard has been regularly updated to keep pace with development of international trade.

The INCOTERMS 2010 rules take account of the continual spread of customs- free zones, the increased use of electronic communications in business transactions, heightened concern about security in the movement of goods, and changes in transport practices.

The broad expertise of ICC’s Commission on commercial law and practice, whose membership is drawn from all parts of the world and all trade sectors including Ghana, insures that the rules respond to business needs everywhere.
The new rules feature two new rules that reflect advances in international trade over the last decade, and are an essential tool for trade.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Producer inflation continues rise

Year-on-year inflation from the producers’ perspective for August was 17.24%, an increase of 3.30 percentage points relative to the July figure of 13.94 %, the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) has announced.

The substantial surge was driven mainly by the changes in the mining and quarry sector, which is closely tied with gold-price developments on the world market.

The price of gold has gained US$309.50 since September 2010, an increase of 23.7%. This has driven metal prices in the producer basket as miners cash in on windfall earnings. In August 2011, prices gained as much as US$199.

“Mining and quarrying recorded the highest year-on-year rate of 46.93%, representing an increase of 12.75 percentage points over the rate for July 2011 (34.18%).

Manufacturing, which constitutes more than two-thirds of total industry, increased to 16.27 percent from a rate of 14.32 percent in July 2011, representing an increase of 1.95 percentage points, with utilities recording the lowest rate of 0.31%.

“Mining and quarrying also recorded the highest monthly change of 11.39%, followed by manufacturing (0.89%), and utilities (0.02),” said Dr. Grace Bediako, Government Statistician, at a media conference in Accra.

It is not clear what has been driving increases in prices of manufactures, but often rising costs push producers to raise the prices of their products.

A June survey by the Bank of Ghana revealed business optimism was down compared to two months before. The Bank said its business confidence index dropped to 104.1 in June from 106.6 in April.

Firms surveyed were less optimistic about the level and intensity of their capital expenditures. They also expected lower levels of sales, profits and employment opportunities.

Data from the bank also showed the growth of credit to enterprises remained weak compared with trends observed a year earlier, though it’s been witnessing a gradual pick-up.

Producer inflation analysis

During the 12-month period (August 2010 to August 2011), producer inflation recorded its highest rate in April 2011 (24.29%).

From August 2010 to December 2010, the rate ranged between 15.96 and 18.03 percent.
“Mining and quarrying costs, which account for 14 percent of the overall index, rose 47 percent from 34 percent the month before.

“Manufacturing costs, which make up 70 percent of the index, increased 16 percent in August compared with a revised 14 percent the month earlier, while utility costs were unchanged at 0.3 percent,” Bediako said.

During the month of August 2011, eight out of the sixteen major groups in the manufacturing sector recorded inflation rates higher than the manufacturing sector average of 16.27 percent.

Manufacture of machinery and equipment recorded the highest inflation rate of 48.44%, while the tanning and dressing of leather and manufacture of hand luggage recorded a negative rate of change of -4.85%.

Petroleum Prices

Inflation in the petroleum industry stabilised for the first two months of 2010, but dropped between March and June 2010.

The rate again stabilised and then declined in November 2010 after increasing slightly in October 2010. In January 2011, inflation in the petroleum industry rose sharply, but has remained stable since at just under 30%.

SSNIT to sell stake in First Atlantic.......Nigerian firm eyes

The Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) says it plans to offload its more than 50 percent stake in First Atlantic Merchant Bank Limited to a strategic investor.

“Currently, we’ve received a proposal from Kaderi Nominees Limited expressing their interest in acquiring the shares, but it is subject to Bank of Ghana (BoG) approval,” Evangeline Amegashie, Corporate Affairs Manager of SSNIT, told the Business and Financial Times by phone.

B&FT sources say Kaderi is a Nigerian-based company with holdings in a number of banks in Nigeria.

SSNIT’s move is seen as consistent with attempts by its board to limit the fund’s involvement in the financial sector, especially in the areas where it holds significant equity positions.

The International Monetary Fund complained in a recent financial stability assessment of Ghana about the dominance of SSNIT, which it said distorts the operations of the financial system.

“An unresolved issue is the role of SSNIT in the financial system. Being a majority shareholder in several banks and a large depositor of others conflicts with its role as a manager of pensions, and distorts the operations of the financial system,” the IMF said.

But the Bank of Ghana disagreed, arguing to the contrary that SSNIT functions as a “stabilising force.”

Being a pensions-manager, Governor Amissah-Arthur said, SSNIT adopts a medium- to long-term approach in its investments -- and is unlikely to be one to withdraw frequently from its deposits and investments -- and therefore brings stability to the financial system.

However, a worry for the Central Bank, he said, is that SSNIT does not seem to have an exit-strategy for its investments, and lacks the required expertise to manage the banks and institutions in which it holds majority shares.

As a result, the board of the Trust has been considering ways to limit its involvement in these entities.

Since its establishment, SSNIT has held a dominant position within the financial sector. Besides being the biggest provider of pensions, it has significant shareholding in 9 of the 27 commercial banks -- including majority shareholding in a number of them. It also holds a substantial amount of deposits in the banking system.

In the capital market, it holds positions in 23 of the 35 companies listed on the stock exchange, and accounts for over 81 percent of local funds under management.

Additionally, SSNIT is a primary dealer in government securities and holds significant equity in two insurance companies, including the biggest, SIC.

For the financial system as a whole, the fund controls about 12 percent of total assets. As at December 2010, it held assets valued at GH¢2.74billion (US$1.88billion), representing 6 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Analysts say most of SSNIT’s financial-sector investments have been highly rewarding, and as it attempts to reconfigure its holdings it faces a delicate task of creating the right balance of investments that guarantees returns so it can continue to achieve its mandate as trustee of pensions.

In the past, the fund has often been criticised for venturing into failed investments, and for running a bloated and expensive bureaucracy. But it has also had much success in several ventures, and has been able, generally, to meet its obligations to pensioners.

In the government’s new pension law, the burden of pensions-management will be shared by SSNIT with private fund-managers, while workers could take advantage of a third tier under the new scheme to build up their own savings.

This new arrangement is intended to broaden risk-sharing, and improve benefits that accrue to pensioners.

Source: B&FT

Tullow, Kosmos discover more oil

Tullow Oil plc and Kosmos Energy say that the Enyenra-3A appraisal well, in the Deepwater Tano licence, has successfully encountered oil in high-quality sandstone reservoirs.

Pressure data indicate that the Enyenra-3A well has confirmed an up-dip extension of the Enyenra oil field.

Located 6.5km north of the Owo-1 discovery well and 14km north of Enyenra-2A, the well was drilled to test the up-dip extent of the Enyenra oil field. Results of drilling, wireline logs, samples of reservoir fluids and pressure data show that Enyenra-3A has intersected 17 metres of 35o API net oil.

Pressure data confirm a continuous oil column of at least 365 metres and that the oil at Enyenra-3A is in static pressure communication with both the Owo-1 discovery well and the Enyenra-2A appraisal well.

The Deepwater Millennium drillship drilled Enyenra-3A to a total depth of 4,031 metres in water depths of 1,102 metres. On completion of drilling operations, prior to flow-testing the Enyenra field in late 2011, pressure gauges will be deployed in Enyenra-2A and Enyenra-3A to determine reservoir connectivity. The drillship will depart the Deepwater Tano block in late October, having recently been replaced by the Sedco Energy drillship.

The Sedco Energy will later drill the Enyenra-4A well to further appraise the downdip extent of the field. The well will be located 6.8km south of Enyenra-2A and over 20km downdip from the Enyenra-3A well and a result is expected at the end of the year. The Enyenra-5A well also is then likely to be drilled north of Enyenra-3A to test the ultimate updip extent of the field.

Tullow (49.95%) operates the Deepwater Tano licence and is partnered by Kosmos Energy (18%), Anadarko Petroleum (18%), Sabre Oil & Gas (4.05%) and the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) (10% carried interest).

China hits back

It is entirely the duty of Ghanaian authorities to regulate trade and check the illegal activities of foreigners who do business in the country, Chinese officials have said in a response to complaints of malpractices by their nationals in the local trading sector.

Among the charges, Chinese traders and businesspeople have been accused of illegal mining activities, pirating local textile-designs, and venturing into the retail sector which by law is a preserve of indigenous entrepreneurs.

Chinese employers have also often been cited for their disregard for workers’ rights, with some reported incidents of inhuman treatment of local labour in their employ.

But in a response, the Commercial Counsellor of the Department of West Asian & African Affairs at the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, Xie Yajing, stated: “It is your government’s responsibility to regulate trade. We, on our part, encourage our businesses to respect and abide by local laws and regulations.”

A lot of these companies are not state-owned enterprises but personal, private businesses, she said. While state-owned firms and other registered contractors doing business overseas are regulated by authorities in Beijing, her ministry is not fully aware of the overseas ventures of many private businesspeople, she claimed.

Though an increasingly important trade partner, China’s exports into Ghana have not always been welcomed. Local industries fret about cheap and sub-standard Chinese imports which have taken over their markets, and are gradually pushing them to the wall.

Xie Yajing defended the quality of products manufactured in China, noting that different standards apply in different export markets, which could explain why, for instance, a product that is rejected by the EU market may be permitted to enter Ghana or some other African country.

Franklin Cudjoe, an analyst with policy think-tank IMANI Ghana, agreed with the sentiments of the authorities in Beijing during an interview with the Business & Financial Times.

“I absolutely agree with them. You don’t blame foreigners for a lack of focus or proper regulation.

“If you look carefully at the mining sector, the only reason why the activities of so-called illegal miners have become significant is simply because there is a failure of regulation; and to the extent that we haven’t seriously looked at the laws regarding mining by ordinary individuals, it opens up the space to other nationals as well.

“The other crucial point on the issue of piracy is that we have not invested sufficiently in strengthening our copyright system. If the investments matched the technology that is needed, you wouldn’t have customs officials going after traders selling pirated products that consumers want to buy anyway.

“It is important for the Ghanaian authorities to have technology and software that allows them to crosscheck electronically in order to detect pirated materials at their points of entry.

“Also, the local textile industry is now a very expensive industry due to the cost of production. About 90% of ingredients in textile manufacturing are imported; therefore the combination of import and local taxes makes it difficult for local producers to meet the demand or compete with imports.”

Ms. Yajing recognised the lopsided nature of trade between China and Ghana, but said it is largely the outcome of both countries’ economic structures. Exports from Ghana comprise mainly primary resources like cocoa and minerals, while trade in the other direction is made up substantially of high-end manufactures like electronic products, machinery and ICT systems.

China intends to further boost bilateral trade and its cooperation with African countries, she said. Accordingly, it plans to assist some African countries to establish logistics centres that will serve as focal locations for the distribution of Chinese-manufactured goods to different markets in Africa.

Joyce Aryee retires

After ten years of distinguished service to the mining industry, the Chief Executive Officer of the Chamber of Mines, Dr. Joyce Rosalind Aryee, is retiring to pursue mining and other related interests.

Dr. Aryee joined the Chamber as its first woman Chief Executive Officer in 2001 in an extremely demanding position which she has occupied with great success and distinction over the past decade.

Dr. Aryee has been instrumental in establishing critically important relationships with members of Government, Traditional Authorities, Civil Society Organisations, Media and Parliamentarians at a time when the industry was facing a lot of criticism from stakeholders.

She has been a champion of excellence and transformation of the Chamber, which is the main minerals industry association in Ghana. She played a key role in developing the current vision, mission, core values and objectives of the Chamber.

The odds were unfairly stacked against her, but with determination and persistence she rose to the occasion, laid the foundations and then played a leading role in the construction of the collaborative relationships that the industry currently enjoys with stakeholders.

According to the President of the Chamber of Mines, Mr. Dan Owiredu, “There have been many other efforts that have all brought considerable advantages and benefits to the mining industry.

“The one which I think is essential for me to highlight on this occasion, however, is the exceptional and sensitive leadership role that Auntie Joyce has played in transforming the Chamber of Mines.”

Adding that “Joyce has always been a champion of transformation and excellence, and what she has done at the Chamber has been accomplished in a manner that has enhanced the capacity of all of the Chamber’s employees to efficiently discharge the responsibilities that are expected of them by industry stakeholders.”

The Chamber’s mission, which Dr. Aryee helped shape, is to represent the mining industry in Ghana using the resources and capabilities of its Members to deliver services that address members, government and community needs in order to enhance sustainable development.

Under the guidance of Dr. Aryee, the Chamber of Mines has become a respected, effective and unified voice for the mining industry in Ghana as well as internationally.

Joyce has been instrumental in the development of a socially and environmentally responsible mining industry and will be sorely missed by the staff and members of the Chamber.

A new Chief Executive Officer to take over from Dr. Aryee will be announced soon. The appointment will ensure that the Chamber’s continued quest to position mining as a catalyst for local and national development is achieved.

Shell unveils “New Super Extra Fuel”

Shell Ghana Limited has added to its stock of products with the launch of the “New Shell Super Extra Fuel” onto the Ghanaian market, aimed at increasing fuel performance while giving Ghanaian motorists extra kilometers at no cost.

The new product comes with a fuel-economy formula specifically designed to prevent engine corrosion in vehicles, protect valuable engine parts, and keep the engine clean against mileage-robbing deposits.

Managing Director of Shell Ghana, Mr. Omar Benson, said Shell is “committed to delivering better fuels around the world, and Shell scientists have been working to develop fuels to address motorists’ need for improved fuel economy, and also help them achieve value for money.”

He added that research from Shell scientists has shown that customers today want fuels that will take them further without having to pay more. This, he intimated, has led to the new product which when used with its Shell fuel tips can help reduce customers’ visits to the pump.

The “New Shell Super Extra” with fuel-economy formula contains a triple-action cleaning component, which helps to prevent the build-up of mileage-robbing deposits and supports vehicles to perform efficiently.

The new product with its “Shell Super Extra” slogan implies that it will be sold by Shell at the same price as the regular petrol on the Ghanaian market, intended to benefit motorists absolutely at no extra cost.

Mr. Benson reiterated the commitment of Shell in remaining a market leader through innovative products and services that meet specific demands of customers. This, he added, has led to ongoing upgrades of Shell service stations across the country.

He however said the “New Shell Super Extra” product should be differentiated from the V-Power product, since the former is designed to serve customers desirous of enjoying fuel economy benefits while the latter is a high-octane and high performance fuel designed for customers who want to experience superior performance of their vehicles.

“These huge investments in upgrading the service stations amply demonstrate Shell’s long-term commitment to developing this business in Ghana, and to continue exceeding the expectations of our cherished customers,” he noted.

Acting Chief Executive Officer of the National Petroleum Authority, Mr. Alex Mould, lauded the contributions of Shell Ghana in partnering government to ensure continuity in fuel supply throughout 2009, at a time when Tema Oil Refinery faced a serious challenge in fuel refinery for national supply.

He also commended Shell for assisting the National Petroleum Authority with constant information based on research of what is happening around the world, especially in the petroleum sector.

ECOWAS market bails out NTEs

Ghana’s burgeoning non-traditional exports (NTEs) are diversifying more towards the West African and Maghreb markets this year, to offset imminent shortfalls in earnings from its main crisis-hit European market.

“Since Europe, which accounts for approximately 50 percent of our NTEs, is reeling under financial crisis, we have paid greater attention to the ECOWAS market which is the second-biggest market for our exports,” the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) Chief Executive Mr. Kwadwo Owusu Agyeman told B&FT.

The NTE sector suffered a -9.38 percent dip in earnings in 2009 during the global economic downturn, when total earnings registered for that year came to US$1.215billion as against the 2008 earnings of US$1.340billion.

Mr. Agyeman, addressing the 72nd Exporters Forum in Accra, disclosed that last year the NTEs picked up, hitting record earnings of US$1.629 billion -- which represented an increase of 34.1 percent in value over 2009 and 24.6 percent over the 2008 total earnings.

“Now we are faced with a similar situation,” Owusu Agyeman said, but added that the Ghanaian fruits which account for a significant proportion of the exports to the European market are also increasingly popular in the Maghreb region.

“We have, since 2009, been organising trade fairs and other promotional activities to give Ghanaian products a presence in these two prospective target-markets.

“Part of the reason for the decline in export growth in 2009 was a drop in Ghana’s competitiveness due to increased cost of production and low production volumes.

These challenges are being addressed concurrently, thus accounting for the impressive performance in 2010,” Agyeman said.

Ghana’s NTEs grew from about US$777.59million in 2005 to US$1.629billion in 2010, representing an average annual growth rate of about 17 percent.

NTE percentage contribution to total exports in the period has averaged 28 percent. Data from the Bank of Ghana shows that over the period total national merchandise exports of the country have also shown positive growth.

Total national merchandise exports grew from US$2.76billion in 2005 to US$ 5.822billion in 2010, depicting an annual average growth rate of 18 percent.

Agyeman was optimistic about the outlook for the 2011 export performance, despite the challenges presented by the European market.

He observed that the NTE sector in 2010 exceeded the GEPA set target of US$1.45billion for the year by 12.3 percent.

A review of the NTE sector revealed that the sector is currently driven by value-added products with a very strong supply base, such as in cocoa and timber products.

“The full benefits of these value-added products have not been fully exploited yet, as more and more of the raw forms are being exported,” Agyeman said - adding that it is the long-term objective of government that value is added to these raw materials.

He said, in the short-term, expansion of exports must be focused on value-added industrial projects without supply problems.

To achieve long-term objectives, Agyeman noted investments must be directed towards potential productive sectors which could then move the country into more value-added exports.

“It is expected that the Export Development and Investment Fund (EDIF) will expand its credit facilities to exporters and export facilitating institutions to help carry out their activities to meet the target level of US$1.8billion set for year 2011,” Agyeman said.

Bank of Africa starts operations

Bank of Africa-Ghana (BOA) intends to penetrate the country’s economy with its innovative service and strategic initiatives meant to optimise growth and stability, Mr. Kobby Andah, Managing Director Bank of Africa (BOA)-Ghana has said.

“The bank brings to the country’s financial sector its internationally renowned commitment to the development of every society it reaches.

“We are here to improve upon the existing offerings of Amalbank and to be a pacesetter in banking, and to be an exemplary archetype for our competitors.
“Our 3.5 billion euro balance sheet is an indication of our solid financial muscle, and this gives us the financial means to take more bigger syndicates to help grow the economy,” Mr. Andah told B&FT in an interview after a media briefing held in Accra.

Mr. Andah, making a presentation in Accra under the theme “A new milestone, a better partnership”, said: “Our agenda for the coming years will simply be to constantly commit ourselves to our mission of offering innovative and convenient financial solutions to meet the needs of our customers. With the benefit of the Group’s experience and support, the drive into Retail and SME markets will continue with even more passion.”

He indicated that more emphasis will continue to be placed on strategically expanding its branch network -- to serve the Retail and SME markets and facilitate cross-border trade within the West African sub-region.

Mr. Stephen Ata, Chairman of BOA-Ghana indicated that “Having an international scope but an African base affords the bank the ability to deal across several sectors and demographics, and also anticipate and understand customer needs so as to provide innovative but practical solutions.”

The BOA-Ghana was officially launched last week after it entered into an agreement with Amalgamated bank and acquired the majority of its shareholdings.

The celebratory occasion, with the unveiling of the newly-rebranded logo and a recount of what the Ghanaian community should expect from the Pan-African bank, was also slated to introduce the Group to Ghanaians -- not as the typecast ‘new bank’, but as a reformed and evolved structure operating with international credibility and hoping to make a difference in the community.

The Bank of Africa Group is a privately-owned, multinational financial service provider that has consistently impacted numerous African nations, with Ghana being the 15th addition.

Their aim of explicitly defining community banking in every endeavour is one that – judging from record - will certainly be fulfilled in the country.

Their value of establishing personal ties with clients and enriching their lives through various community projects has impacted many Africans in the 15 countries within which it operates.