Bilateral trade between Ghana and United Kingdom (UK), which reached an all-time high in recent times, is expected to double by the end of 2015.
Mr Peter Jones, British High Commissioner, who made this known on Thursday, said the UK Government was committed to deepening its trade relations with Ghana to develop her economy.
“UK’s economic development is dependent on world trade. It is therefore, important to boost UK’s economy by engaging in trade with countries like Ghana,” he said.
He was speaking at the end of a Media Open Day organized in Accra by the British High Commission to explain the various roles played by UK Government and its affiliated bodies.
UK’s export in goods to Ghana increased by 21 per cent in 2012 from the previous £426 million in 2011 to £516 million.
Her imports (goods only) to Ghana in 2011 were £341 million, representing a 55 per cent increase over the £202 million realized in 2010.
Whereas UK’s exports of goods to Ghana went up by 21 per cent in 2012, compared with the performance the previous year, her imports from Ghana went down by 36 per cent in 2011.
The figure, however, did not include bilateral trade in services for which the UK exports in 2011 stood at £298 million, representing a 36 per cent increase over the 2010 period.
In 2012, Ghana was adjudged UK’s sixth largest export market in Africa and third in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Top exports (goods only) from the UK to Ghana in 2011 included vehicles, textiles, industrial machinery, specialized machinery, electrical appliances and petroleum products.
Cocoa, canned fish, fruit and vegetables and petroleum products were top export commodities from Ghana to the UK in 2009.
Trade relations between UK and Ghana is being facilitated by the UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) section of the British High Commission, a section dedicated to helping UK companies succeed in Ghana.
UKTI provides a range of market access support through Overseas Market Introduction Services such as preparing market reports, helping to identify potential partners and customers, managing product launches and arranging visit programmes and events.
Meanwhile Mr Jones expressed optimism that the bilateral trade partnership together with diplomatic relations between both countries would grow from “strength to strength.”
He told journalists that representatives of the UK, together with other developing partners, met President John Dramani Mahama earlier in the day to map out a new Development Framework which would require that development efforts were effectively and efficiently channeled to the right source to benefit the majority of the Ghanaian citizenry.
Mr Jones said the UK Government had drawn up ambitious targets and monitoring and evaluation mechanisms to meet such developmental projects deadline.
Referring to the recently-held general election, he praised Ghana for her continued stride along a positive democratic trajectory, describing the legal tussle initiated by the main opposition party challenging the outcome of the elections as “a positive and responsible one.”
Answering questions on whether the High Commission had a fixed quota on the number of visas that were processed and refused, Mr Nick Crouch, Regional Head of West Africa, UK Visa Section, stressed that all visa applications were processed in accordance with the UK Immigration rules.
“Each application is considered on its merits. The rules are fair and apply to everyone,” he added.
Mr Crouch underscored the importance of following the guidelines on the UK Border Agency website and providing the visa section with enough evidence of documentation.
"It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that they meet the immigration rules, including to show that they intend to return home at the end of their visit and that they have sufficient funds to support themselves whilst in the UK,” he said.
Mr Crouch said the Accra Visa Section was the processing hub for all applications received in West Africa with the exception of Nigeria.
He said the section targetted to process 90 per cent of non-settlement visa applications within 15 working days and 90 per cent in 60 working days for settlement applications.
Mr Crouch said the UK’s visa system closed the door on those who did not meet the requirements of the immigration rules due to the fact that illegal immigration put undue pressure on public services, local communities and legitimate businesses.
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