Press spotlights government’s plan for net zero emission target, others

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo's pledge at the UAE Business forum that the government will collaborate with stakeholders around the…

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s pledge at the UAE Business forum that the government will collaborate with stakeholders around the world to explore the Ghana’s minerals resources in an environmentally friendly manner for national development is one of the leading stories in the Ghanaian press on Thursday.The Ghanaian Times reports that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo says the government would collaborate with stakeholders around the world to explore the Ghana’s minerals resources in an environmentally friendly manner for national development.

He said the government would not only mine the minerals to boost export earnings but add value along the minerals value chain with other sectors of the economy.

Addressing the UAE-Ghana Business Forum held on Tuesday, on the sidelines of the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, President Akufo-Addo described mining as a key pillar of Ghana’s economy and invited UAE investors for partner­ship.

“The potentials created offer considerable opportunities for UAE investors, who possess the capacity to generate the value-add­ed benefits, especially through the government’s local value-addition and processing drive, to partner Ghanaian companies in converting their natural comparative advantage into an enhanced, more valuable, sustainable and competitive advan­tage,” he said.

President Akufo-Addo told the gathering that gold was both a commodity and a financial asset and, by far, the most commer­cially exploited mineral in Ghana, accounting for more than 90 per cent of the country’s mineral revenue.

“Indeed, in recent times until 2021, Ghana was the largest producer of gold in Africa and was sixth in the world. We are also major producers of bauxite and manganese, and are, indeed, the third largest producer of these two minerals in Africa,” he said.

The President mentioned how recently, Ghana’s addition to the list of few countries that have made significant discoveries of lithium, graphite and iron ore in significant quantities.

“Ghana is also working towards the net zero emission target, and collaborating with other relevant stakeholders in employing cli­mate-friendly technologies and practices, to achieve the maximum developmental impact for the country,” he said.

The newspaper says that Vice President, Dr Mahama­du Bawumia, has expressed government’s commitment to the implemen­tation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

He said with the collective desire for shared prosperity the confi­dence was there that the AfCFTA would succeed, and provide a new impetus and dynamism for the rap­id growth of Africa’s economies, to deepen the process of integration in Africa.

He was special guest at the opening of the 74th Annual New Year School and Conference at the University of Ghana yesterday in Accra.

The three-day event is on the theme; Positioning the African Market for Sustainable Economic Development through African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

Topics to be discussed include financial sector preparedness for AfCFTA, business, investment and industry preparedness for AfCFTA, educational sector preparedness for AfCFTA, digital technology devel­opment preparedness for AfCFTA.

The Vice President indicated that empowered Ghanaian enterprises would be frontline actors of this new, exciting journey in Africa’s economic history, adding “we owe it to generations unborn to ensure that the biggest trading bloc on the globe, whose outcomes will be re­warding to all, and which will assist in attaining the Africa We Want, does not falter”.

He said while recent domestic and global economic challeng­es have negatively impacted the economy, it is important that we promote AfCFTA efforts of key stakeholders such as industry, the private sector, academia and government to reposition Ghana through trade.

Dr Bawumia stated that while trade between African countries remains low, currently standing at some 16 per cent of our combined GDP, compared to other parts of the world, like the European Union’s 75 per cent, it is obvi­ous that these very low levels of intra-regional trade cannot improve the prospects of bringing prosperi­ty to our peoples.

“The Free Trade Area will cover a market of 1.2 billion people, with a combined GDP of $3.4 trillion, across the 54 Member States of the African Union that have signed up to the agreement that will provide the opportunity to exploit the abundant wealth and resources of our great continent,” he added.

He said government was investing in trade-related infrastructure in order to facilitate trade especially the on-going expansion of the Tema and the Takoradi Port expan­sions as well as the development of numerous road projects and railway networks, are all testaments of government’s resolve to leverage on AfCFTA’s opportunities.

The Secretary General of AfCFTA, Wamkele Mene, in his virtual address said the successful implementation of the AfCFTA would not only promote the tourism and telecom sectors of African economies but would also boost development and reduce the overdependence on importation of goods and services.

The Graphic reports that the government says it is optimistic of achieving 80 percent of the bond debt swap under the Domestic Debt Exchange Programme by January 31, 2023.

An 80 per cent participation by individual bond holders, according to the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta would help the government to get into the perimeters of 55 percent debt to Gross Domestic Product (GDP), essential to achieve an IMF deal.

The government is seeking a US$3billion IMF bailout to balance its books as its debts have over swallowed its income.

Speaking to the media after a meeting with individual bond holders on Wednesday evening, (Jan 18), Mr Ofori-Atta said, “this is a voluntary exercise and we made some changes to extend it to January 31st to give us time to incorporate all ideas that has come up. We anticipate 80 per cent participation to ensure that we are within the parameters.”

Government is racing against time to conclude a US$3 billion facility that is hoped to stabilise the economy which is currently choked with debts, with total debt currently at GH¢467 billion as of December 2022.

Analysts have warned that if the deadline for all creditors to sign up the government’s DDE programme was not met, it would have dire consequences on the economy. Individual bond holders have rejected government’s overtures to be roped onto the DDE programme and have threatened legal action which could put the whole programme into jeopardy.

Already, the currency speculators are beginning to gain a head-start with regard to the country’s cedi. It has shown signs of picking up the pace again with regard to depreciation. At the turn of the year, the cedi was trading at GH¢7.9 to US$1. However, as of yesterday, it had reached over GH¢9 to the US$1 tumbling almost 20 per cent since December.

The newspaper says that more than two dozen aid and campaign groups have called for international creditors to cancel a large portion of Ghana’s debts as it struggles to contend with an economic crisis.

Ghana’s consumer inflation rose to a record 54 percent year-on-year in December, driven by rising fuel, u

“The people of Ghana have suffered extensively from the crisis,” the groups, which all have operations in Ghana, said in an open letter on Wednesday. “Wealthy private lenders must share in the costs of a crisis they helped to create and cancel the debt.”

Signatories of the letter, which included Oxfam, Christian Aid, Caritas Ghana, Debt Justice and ActionAid, said the key challenge was to get private lenders to agree to a significant debt cancellation.

The government asked to restructure its bilateral debt under the G20 common framework platform – launched in 2020 to help coordinate debt reprofiling and restructuring – this month after announcing it would default on most of its external debt at the end of last year.

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