The impending visit of Angela Merkel, Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany to Ghana on the 30th of August 2018 upon the invitation of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, should act as a catalyst to expand the frontiers of economic relations between the two countries. The visit, which will be the first for a German Chancellor to Ghana since 2004, is expected to accentuate on the strong and deepening partnership between Ghana and Germany.
Currently, Ghana is of priority when it comes to German bilateral development cooperation with the country being Germany’s third largest trading partner in sub-Saharan Africa, after South Africa and Nigeria. Notably, the country’s bilateral trade with Germany grew from €470 million in 2014 to €536 million in 2015 with a further increase in both German exports to Ghana (from €265.5 million in 2014 to €266 million in 2015) and German imports from Ghana (from €205 million in 2014 to €270 million in 2015). Germany’s long-standing development support is the new bilateral “Investment and Reform Partnership”, which was launched in December 2017 and brings additional 100 million Euros of German development funds to promote renewable energy and energy efficiency in Ghana, and to foster private investment into renewable energy as well as vocational training in the energy sector. The Reform and Investment Partnership supports Germany’s commitments under the G20 Compact with Africa Initiative launched in June 2017 in Berlin under Germany´s G20 presidency.
Following the Chancellor’s visit is the “German African Business Summit (GABS)” which is scheduled to take place in Accra from 11th-13th February, 2019. GABS is the German signature business event in Africa which provides the platform for top business and government leaders from Germany and Sub-Sahara Africa to meet every two years in Africa to promote economic relations between Europe´s largest economy and the fastest growing region in the world. Up to 750 leaders, decision makers and business representatives are expected to participate in next year’s programme.
These events are watershed moments in the evolving relationship between Ghana and Germany. For Ghanaian private sector operators to take advantage of the attention and the spotlight that these events will attract, the Government of Ghana has to sanitize and continuously improve on the business environment. In spite of all the interventions, the clearing of goods from the country’s ports continue to be problematic, there are still hurdles in the area of obtaining permits and licenses, etc. Because of Ghana’s relatively small market size, the country should expend considerable political capital to enforce ECOWAS protocols on the free movement of Goods within the ECOWAS region. This will make Ghana an attractive destination for investment from our friends from Germany and beyond.