By Maxwell Nkansah
Ms. Mia Amor Mottley, the Prime Minister of Barbados, says, her Island country offers the opportunity for Ghana and the rest of Africa to connect to the Caribbean for commercial benefits.
She said the 15-member States community with a combined market of 18 million people presented access to important business, investment, and market opportunities to Ghana and the African continent.
At the Ghana-Barbados Business Roundtable event in Accra on Monday, she said: “The opportunity for Ghana and Barbados to collaborate in sectors such as tourism, medicine, and entertainment are many, and we have the potential to make an impact.”
The Prime Minister noted that currently, Africa had a demographic dividend [a youthful population and labor force, which could propel economic growth] that no other continent in the world had.
She added that such demographic dividend served as an opportunity for trade and other investments in the Caribbean and vice versa in Africa through the African Continental Free Trade Area is a free trade area (AfCFTA) for accelerated growth.
Ms. Mottley called for Charters [formal documents] to facilitate trade and investment between Ghana and Barbados, and to create an environment that even at the time of difficulty, the aspirations of the two countries could be achieved.
She was thankful to the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre for organizing the Ghana-Barbados Business forum.
Mr. David Commissiong, the Ambassador of Barbados to the Caribean Community (CARICOM), reiterated that there existed enormous trade and commercial opportunities between Ghana and Barbados and that they were committed to utilizing them for mutual benefits.
He indicated that just as Ghana was host to the Secretariat of AfCFTA, Barbados also was the headquarters of the Caribbean communities’ single market, and a single economy.
Therefore: “Barbados can be seen not only as a place for direct Ghanaian investment but also as a hub for business persons to connect to the rest of the Caribbean economy.”
Wooing Ghanaian businesses to invest in Barbados, he said: “It is a center of international connections, and this is an ideal hub for doing business with the rest of the region.”
He pointed out that the kind of diplomacy that Barbados was establishing with Ghana was for business development and commerce, adding that the establishment of their Embassy and a Commercial Attaché in the country was a testament to the relationship.
Mr. Yaw Amoateng Afriyie, the Deputy Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of GIPC, said the Centre was committed to enhancing Ghana’s reputation as a business-friendly country on the local and global front.
Mr. Afriyie said the Government was committed to supporting the capital investment of Barbados in areas such as finance, tourism, life sciences, ICT and digital technology, aviation, and logistics for optimum returns.
He said: “We should not lose sight of the fact that Ghana is home to the AfCFTA Secretariat, which provides an excellent commercial springboard for Barbadian, Caribbean, and other companies into a market of about 1.3 billion people.”
The Ghana-Barbados Business forum brought together business representatives in Ghana to meet with the Barbados Prime Minister to interact on ways the private sector [of Ghana] could support the burgeoning economy of Barbados.