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President John Dramani Mahama
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President John Dramani Mahama has urged foreign investors willing to invest in Ghana to be prepared to transfer technical know-how to the local private sector.

He made the call in an address at the plenary session of the ongoing Fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD V) in Yokohama, Japan, at the weekend.

The TICAD V, which brought together about 41 African heads of state, including President Mahama, marked the 20th anniversary of the TICAD process.

The three-day conference, on the theme: "Hand in Hand with the more Dynamic Africa", was attended by the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon; the President of the World Bank, Mr Jim Yong Kim, and the Chairman of the African Union, Mr Hailemariam Desalegn.

Ghana's delegation to the conference include the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Mr Seth Terkper; the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ms Hanna Tetteh; the Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, and the Minister of Energy and Petroleum, Mr Armah Kofi Buah.

The conference, which is to review Africa's co-operation with Japan in the last 20 years, is focusing on four thematic areas robust economy, resilient society, developing public/private sector partnership and peace and stability in Africa.

At the end of the three-day conference, African leaders and their Japanese counterparts will adopt the Yokohama Declaration and the 2013-2017 Action Plan.

President Mahama asked foreign companies, which invested in Ghana, to see themselves as partners and be willing to stay for a long time, despite the challenges that might confront the country.

He recalled that several Japanese companies in Ghana folded up and left when Ghana's economy went bad, and the country opted for the HIPC initiative.

The President said the time had come for more public/private sector partnerships since Ghana, and many African countries, had come a long way from when the state dominated everything.

For instance, he said, the deregulation of the telecommunications sector by Ghana and other African countries had resulted in huge investments.

"Telecommunication and Information and Communications Technology (ICT) have exploded on the continent, largely on the back of the private sector," he said.

He said Ghana had taken initiatives to replicate the positive feats of the telecommunications sector in the energy, oil and gas, transportation and other sectors.

For instance, he said, Ghana had signed an agreement with General Electric (GE) to set up a plant to generate 1,000 megawatts of power and feed it into the national grid.

"There are many opportunities in banking, energy and other areas which Japanese companies can take advantage of," he announced.

President Mahama welcomed the call from the Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, for effective public/private sector partnership and indicated that Ghana had started implementing some policies in that regard.

For instance, he said, Ghana had passed the Private Sector Development Strategy II which sought to reform the environment "that will make it conducive for private sector investment to happen".

President Mahama called for a collaborative effort to remove tariff barriers, so that African goods can go into the more mature markets of the West".

The President suggested that the five-year interval between TICAD conferences was too long and needed to be reconsidered.
Source: Daily Graphic

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