Finance minister says country is open for business

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The World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund concluded their annual conference last weekend in the District of Columbia. Numerous speakers spoke during the weekend event, but one of the more interesting speakers was Ghana’s Finance Minister Ken Ofori Atta. Atta stressed investors should consider investing in Ghana’s already growing economy; and highlighting Financial Services, Industry and Agriculture as sectors that are deemed safe investments with high returns. He also made note of Moody’s, Fitch, and S&P upgrading Ghana’s overall economy during an investment pitch.

Additional members of Ghana’s 2017 IMF / World Bank annual meetings delegation were Senior Minister Yaw Osafo Marfo, Finance Minister, Planning Minister Prof Djan Bafour, Deputy Finance Minister Charles Adu Boahen, Deputy Minister for Information Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, Bank of Ghana Governor, Ernest Addison and his first Deputy Maxwell Afari. Technical advisors from the Ministry of Finance and Bank of Ghana also made the trip. It might seem like a lot of people, but it only goes to show the importance between the two countries.

Why it’s important

The US established diplomatic relations with Ghana in 1957, following Ghana’s break from the United Kingdom. 28.2 million + people call Ghana home, and over the years, both nations have worked tirelessly in developing a progressive relationship. Joint military exercises through the US Africa Command is commonplace. Their relationship has resulted in thousands of Ghana’s citizenry coming to the US for educational advancements. In return, the West African nation has annually attracted hundreds of American students seeking to learn more about Ghana, and West African. And interestingly enough, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) serves as the lead US agency working to end extreme global poverty in Ghana, investing $145 million in Ghana each year in agriculture, health, education, energy, and democracy and governance programs.

The US Chamber of Commerce works closely with the Ghanaian Embassy in developing even closer ties in the private sector, and exceeding the $1.2 billion in annual business that it already does. In the last five years 37 American companies that have made new investments in Ghana; this is added to the 79 new investments or trade deals totaling $800 million. Ghana was the first country in the world to accept Peace Corps Volunteers.

In the District

The number of African-born residents in the US has doubled every decade since the 1970s. The District of Columbia metro region is among the most popular areas to live for African-born residents, according to the US Census Bureau. Nationwide, it has gone from 80,000 in 1970 to 1.6 million by 2014., with Ethiopia, Nigeria, Ghana and Egypt make up 41 percent of the total. An overwhelming majority of African residents arrived legally to the US through work or educational visas; whereas others have fled conflict and resettled as refugees. Maryland, which borders the District of Columbia, has an African-born population that tops well over 120,000, one of only four states which tops over 100,000. Over 165,000 African-born people live in Washington, DC, and surrounding suburbs, where over 20,000 specifically are Ghanaian-born.

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