Ghana, Russia Set to Promote Cooperation The Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry hosted on Thursday, May 26, Russia-Ghana business forum which attracted representatives from Russian industrial and commercial sectors. The forum was also attended by a small Ghanaian delegation. The forum was organized to highlight investment opportunities as well as to find ways of promoting trade between the two countries. The were various presentations of economic and investment potential of Ghana, so also were extensive discussions and interaction among the participants at the forum.
In a welcome speech, the Ghana's Ambassador to the Russian Federation and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), H.E. (Dr.) Kodzo Kpoku Alabo, noted that Ghana is rich in gold, diamonds, and recently the country has found oil and gas reserves. According to him, Ghana is investing heavily such industries as agriculture, timber processing, telecommunications and tourism among others. He also told the business gathering that the stable political atmosphere contributes to the attraction of foreign investors, and hoped strongly that Russian investors and business people would engage in joint projects with local Ghanaian partners. Russia and Ghana are linked by nearly 60 years of diplomatic relations, but business relationships are not well developed, markets in both countries still remain largely untapped and unexploited.
Ghana is one of the fastest developing countries on the African continent, interested in attracting foreign capital. The factors that attract foreign investors to Ghana, can be attributed to the favorable investment climate, rapidly developing infrastructure and a skilled labor force. The country has developed a stable political environment in the last two decades have witnessed economic growth.
In his contribution, the Vice-President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Vladimir Padalko noted that relations between Russia and Ghana can be regarded as a friendly and partner. However, the economic activity between Russia and Ghana is insignificant. Ghana is the 6th trade partner of Russia among African countries South of the Sahara.
In 2015, bilateral trade increased by 32% compared to the 2014 year and amounted to $216 million dollars. He pointed out that perspective directions of bilateral trade-economic and investment cooperation can be considered as mining, energy, housing, utilities, transport infrastructure, agriculture, information technology and telecommunications, tourism and health. But, a significant deterrent to the development of bilateral relations is the absence of Russian companies information on doing business in Ghana.
For solving these tasks, the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry in 2009 created the Coordinating Committee on Economic Cooperation with Africa (South of Sahara), combining about 120 Russian companies and organizations interested inworking on African issues. Padalko therefore urged representatives of Russian companies make relentless efforts to obtain the most relevant information about the current economic situation in Ghana, its investment potential, as well as to discuss promising areas of business interaction.
In his discussion, the Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, who is also the co-Chairman of the the Intergovernmental Russia-Ghana Commission on Trade-Economic and Scientific-Technical Cooperation, Mr. Yevgeny A. Kiselyov, drew attention to the implementation of the already signed agreements between Russia and Ghana, in particular, the contract Russian State Corporation "Rosatom" with the Government of the Republic of Ghana on cooperation in the field of nuclear energy. According to Kiselyov, Ghana also has excellent prospects as a country with a large number of minerals.
According to the Deputy Chairman of the Intergovernmental Russia-Ghana Commission on Trade-Economic and Scientific-Technical Cooperation Alexander Dianov with the resumption of the work mechanism of the Commission must significantly step up cooperation in trade, economic and scientific-technical spheres. Concluding the speakers at the forum expressed optimism that both Russia and Ghana have the chance to strengthen their business contacts, increase exchanges of visits and participation in economic events to promote significantly trade and investment.
By Kester Kenn Klomegah
Kester Kenn Klomegah is an independent researcher and writer on African affairs.
Caption: Vladimir Padalko (middle) addressing the forum with Dr Alabo sitting on hisleft.