Boosting trade and investment between Accra and Havana dominated discussions during the five-day working visit of Ghana’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional integration, Hon. Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey to the Latin American country, Cuba recently.
While Accra urged Havana to come and invest in its pharmaceutical industry, Havana asked Ghana to participate in its agricultural sector with focus on adding value to its produce.
It has been almost 60 years since Ghana and Cuba entered into bilateral relations, however, a lot remains to be done when it comes to trade and investment.
Both countries acknowledge that time has come to change their narratives by using trade and investment as a vehicle to reduce youth unemployment and infrastructural deficit facing them.
While Ghana is pursuing economic transformation with a focus on establishing factories in all districts across the country to become a fully fledged middle-income economy, Cuba, on the other hand, is opening up its economy for private investment and will need an annual capital injection of 2.4 billion dollars from now till 2030.
Cuba is an oil producing country, but its production capacity is small compared to Ghana which is producing over one hundred thousand barrels of oil a day.
At a meeting with the Cuban Minister for Trade and Foreign Investment, Mr. Rodrigo Malmiera Diaz, Hon. Ayorkor Botchwey said Ghana would like to export cocoa products and some non-traditional commodities including shea-butter to Cuba. She said Ghana has rolled out a policy that aims at promoting trade and not being dependant on aid and the Cuban market is one of the places, Ghana wants to export to.
Mr. Diaz said Cuba has set up a free zone enclave offering incentives for investors and urged Ghanaian investors to come on board especially in agriculture and renewable energy. On the outlook of the ties between them, Accra and Havana are upbeat that sharing experience, ideas and promoting investment will go a long way to better the lot of their people.
In the 18th and 19th centuries, Cuba was dependent on an economy based on the sugarcane and coffee crops, and on slaves imported from Africa to work on sugar and coffee plantations.
It is estimated that over 600,000 Africans were taken from West Africa and shipped to Cuba over three centuries.
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