The Minister of Trade & Industry, Alan John Kyerematen is advocating for increased trade relations between Ghana and Canada to improve the trade volumes between the two countries.
Ghana and Canada have enjoyed close bilateral relations for over a century with relations covering a high level of cooperation in trade, investments and development.
Also, trade between the two countries has grown steadily and doubled over the past decade from about $201 million in 2010 to over $540 million in 2019.
Speaking during a meeting with the Canadian High Commissioner to Ghana, Madam Kati Csaba, Mr Kyerematen said efforts must be enhanced to establish strategic platforms such as the Ghana–Canada Business Council, which will act as a platform to address potential commercial relations and to facilitate trade and investments between the two countries.
“Trade between our two countries has grown steadily and indeed doubled, but this is an area I believe there is more scope for improvement. I joined the president on a visit to Canada and from the discussions that we had with the private sector, I realized that they are so many significant opportunities that we have not been able to tap. So I believe that during your term of office as high commissioner, we will be able to explore some of these opportunities.
“I talk about all these opportunities because I would like us to adopt a new framework for collaboration that goes beyond the normal Ghana Development Cooperation framework. I will like us to explore the possibility of establishing a Ghana-Canada business council which would provide an opportunity for us to deepen our engagement particularly in the area of the business and private sector development,” he said.
He assured Canadian investors that Ghana was ready to serve as the entry point for Canadian investments in the sub-region to take advantage of regional market opportunities under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which had an estimated market size of over 1.2 billion consumers.
He recounted Canada’s contributions to the development of the country in many critical roles stimulating sustainable economic measures and reducing barriers to doing business.
“It was also evident in climate-smart agriculture as an engine for inclusive and sustainable economic growth, improving access to and use of affordable and nutritious foods, increasing access to sanitation and hygiene services in under-served areas and promoting gender equality and empowerment of women and girls,” he added.
He further noted that Ghana intended to leverage the strong bilateral relationship between the two countries by making Canada a destination market for value-added goods produced in Ghana under the Industrial Transformation Programme being implemented by the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MOTI).
Under the programme, he said, Ghanaian and Canadian investment partnerships in Ghana could benefit from Canada’s experience in vehicle assemblage and manufacturing of machinery and component parts, fertilisers and industrial chemicals.
The Canadian High Commissioner welcomed the idea of establishing a business council in Ghana to promote trade and investment between the two countries.
She congratulated Ghana on hosting the AfCFTA secretariat and playing a leadership role in its establishment.
Ms Csaba said AfCFTA offered opportunities for intra-African trade, and that Canada, a trading country, was looking at how it would benefit from the linkages and increase its trade on the continent.
She said Canada had over the years enjoyed good cooperation in the area of business and trade with Ghana and was poised to expand its trading relationship with Ghana.
“We are conscious of Ghana’s initiative to move beyond aid and move towards more mature relations with other countries,” she said.