Indian firms lead in new projects in Ghana

August 12th, 2008 - 1:42 pm ICT by IANS  

By Fakir Hassen
Johannesburg, Aug 12 (IANS) India now boasts of the highest number of new projects in Ghana, several notches above the west African country’s historically largest trading partner, South Africa. India has 17 registered new large projects in Ghana, just one ahead of China, according to the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC).

“We are focusing on India, China and the Middle East and on sectors such as IT, agriculture and power generation. Investors have long been watching Ghana, where a key strength is its multi-party democracy,” Edward Ashong-Lartey of the GIPC told the news service Sake24.

While India and China may have more projects in number, the United Arab Emirates leads in terms of value as its $2 billion railways upgrade project is the biggest in Ghana this year, said Ashong-Lartey.

Nigeria is second with projects worth $794 million, and South Africa, once Ghana’s biggest trading partner, is now “somewhere in the top 25″, Ashong-Lartey said.

India and China were also on top of the list in gold-producing Ghana in 2007. South Africa, the continent’s largest gold producer, began investing heavily in Ghana after 1994, but mainly in mining, financial services and the retail sector.

At least four major South African retail chain stores have a presence in Ghana, and AngloGold Ashanti gets 10 percent of its gold from Ghanaian mines.

But Indian and Chinese presence has been growing faster than that of South Africa in recent years. Ghana’s national theatre, new national stadium and the recently completed headquarters of the defence ministry in Accra have all been Chinese projects.

Ashong-Lartey said there were nonetheless a number of opportunities for trade relations with its southernmost compatriot on the continent to grow.

“South Africa has a lot that we need. We just have to discover what we can give South Africa.”

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