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Akufo-Addo kicks against Chinese take-over of Ghanaian retail business   
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Nana Akufo-Addo, the presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party, has expressed his opposition to the gradual take-over of the nation’s retail business by foreigners, especially the Chinese.

He has consequently called on the authorities to ensure a strict enforcement of the nation’s business regulations that make the retail business a preserve of Ghanaians.

“We want to have good relations with China but we have to have relations where the Ghanaian national interest is fully protected,” Nana Addo stressed in an interview with the Financial Times.

Below are excerpts of the interview, published in the paper’s Friday, April 27, 2010 edition.

“Ghana would renegotiate a $3bn Chinese loan if the opposition New Patriotic Party wins what is expected to be closely fought presidential elections later this year in one of Africa’s fastest growing economies.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Nana Akufo-Addo, the NPP presidential candidate, took aim at new debt contracted by President Mills to finance gas pipelines and other infrastructure.

This includes the $3bn Chinese Development Bank loan secured last year as part of a putative $13bn package of credit lines, one of the largest on offer as part of Beijing’s efforts to access natural resources and strengthen its commercial foot in Africa.

Ghana heads to the polls in December. The West African country – already rich in cocoa and gold – started to produce oil in 2010 and is one of the fasted growing economies on the continent.

Mr Akufo-Addo’s comments suggest that China’s role in the country’s economy would become a hot issue in forthcoming polls.

...Mr Akufo-Addo, a lawyer and former foreign minister, said he had no objection to the provenance of the financing – the first $3bn of which was cleared by Beijing for disbursal last week. But he said he had “serious reservations” about whether the loan delivered value for money.

‘If it is necessary for us to renegotiate, if we think the original negotiations did not protect sufficiently the Ghanaian interest, we would have to look at it again,’ he told the FT.

Mr Akufo-Addo, whose party is broadly right of centre and pro-American, lost the 2008 elections by just 4,000 votes. His campaign has been buoyed by revelations about a businessman close to the ruling party officials who was awarded millions of dollars in compensation for contracts he failed to win. The controversy, now under investigation, has dented the anti-corruption credentials of Mr Mills, a mild-mannered former tax authority boss.

...In a thinly veiled critique of previous Chinese projects, Mr Akufo-Addo said: “If we are going to build road in Ghana let’s build one that lasts 20 or 30 years not just two or three years.

He voiced concern that Ghanaian laws limiting foreign involvement in trading were not being enforced, allowing Chinese traders to edge out local competitors in Ghanaian markets, a sore point in a growing number of African countries.
Source: Kwabena Amankwah/statesmanonline

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