Ghana seeks Mauritiusâ€™ help to position itself as sugar exporter
Ghanaâ€™s Minister of Trade and Industry Haruna IddrisuÂ lauded Mauritius sugar major Omnicane for its decision to invest about USD 250 million into sugar plantations in Ghana. (Image: Ghana Broadcasting Corporation)
With Mauritius hailed as a successful sugar exporter in the region, the West African emerging economy of Ghana is trying to take a leaf out of the island economyâ€™s book.
Following a similar visit in April by Ghanaian President Mahama and Ghanaâ€™s Trade and Industry Minister to Mauritius, the West African economy welcomed Duval for a visit on Wednesday at the head of an over 30-member business delegation.
The aim behind the Finance Ministerâ€™s visit is to sign the bilateral trade relations agreements and to explore investment opportunities in the sugar industry.
The business forum comprised seven Mauritius public sector business leaders and 27 business executives from the private sector with their Ghanaian counterparts.
Noting that Ghanaâ€™s net import of sugar currently stands at USD 173 million per year, Ghanaâ€™s Minister of Trade and Industry, Haruna Iddrisu, told Mauritius Finance Minister Xavier-Luc Duval that the Ghanaian government is trying to reduce the amount of sugar imports considerably over the next few years.
He noted that the ambition of the West African economy is to ultimately position itself as one of the main sugar exporters from the region.
Minister Iddrisu observed that a factory with production capacity 100,000 tonnes of refined sugar every year is expected to create thousands of jobs, and lauded Mauritius sugar major Omnicane for its decision to invest about USD 250 million into sugar plantations in Ghana.
He also made an appeal to the Mauritius business community to explore further opportunities in the agro-processing industry for job creation and improve the livelihood of the people.
Besides, the government was committed to the double-taxation agreement to better structure the investment abroad between the two nations, he stated.
Coming to Duval, he noted that Africa should strengthen bilateral relations and diversify its economies to encourage and develop strong and sustainable intra-Africa trade.
With both Ghana and Mauritius looking to their ever-growing relationship to learn best practices, he urged African leaders to explore varied dimensions of intra-Africa and take the opportunity in the existing trade gap as a move to diversify and stabilise the continentâ€™s economies.
He observed that intra-African trade accounts for hardly 10 per cent of the regionâ€™s total trade and it trades more with the rest of the world than it trades with itself.
Indeed, intra-trade among the European Union is around 70 per cent, 52 per cent for Asian countries, 50 per cent for North American countries and 26 per cent for South American countries.
Lastly, Duval noted that trade among African countries could lead to significant growth and development goals of Africa through the right regulatory frameworks and political will.
Meanwhile, in other developments, Ghana and Mauritius have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to enhance their economic cooperation and to set the pace for future bilateral treaties.
The MoU between the Ghana Stock Exchange and the Stock Exchange of Mauritius was concluded at the opening of a business forum on Thursday.
Finally, giving a further fillip to the trade relations with Ghana, Mauritius Prime Minister Navin Ramgoolam met Ghanaâ€™s Foreign Affairs Minister Hannah S. Tetteh yesterday at Port-Louis.
Ms Tetteh said that discussions focused on enhancing existing cooperation ties between the two countries while strengthening bilateral relations.
She pointed out that theÂ two countries enjoy a long relationship based on goodwill and that avenues of further cooperation were also part of the discussions. The possibility of development of partnerships between the two countries to trade with the European Union and the United States of America was also raised.