The forum with the visiting Iranian delegation comes on the heels of the signing of economic cooperation agreement between Ghana and Iran and forms part of efforts to explore ways of forging tighter trade and economic co-operation to enhance growth.The forum was organised to give an opportunity to the Ghana-Iran business communities to brainstorm on ways to deepen their business relationship in areas of trade, industry, agriculture, energy and other sectors.
Speaking at the forum, Nana Dr Appiagyei Dankawoso I, President of the Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GNCCI), said the forum was to re-enforce the long standing, cordial diplomatic relationship that both countries have enjoyed over the years.He said the government of Ghana was embarking on an industrial transformation agenda, adding that it was an opportune time for Iranian delegation to explore ways to enhance their investments within Ghana.
'Ghana is noted as a gateway to West Africa due to its business friendly enabling environment,' he said, adding that the forum will serve as an ideal platform for business men and women of Ghana and Iran to strategically explore the possibilities of establishing mutual business relationships for the benefit of enhancing growth and development, he said.Available trade statistics indicate that Ghana export to Iran in 2011 was US$13.5 million whereas the imports from Iran amounted to US$4.9 million for trading in products such as minerals, fish, and machinery, cereals, electrical and electronics.
Nana Dr Dankawoso I expressed the hope that the business to business forum would strengthen the strategic partnership between Ghana and the Islamic Republic of Iran towards bringing economic and social benefits by creating new opportunities for trade, investment, employment and improving the living standard of people.Madam Gifty Klenam, Chief Executive Officer of GEPA, said due to the government of Ghana's wealth in resources, dynamic economy and good political system that stimulates business development, it was committed to develop the nation through investment in telecommunication, energy and finance.
She, however, mentioned that the Non-Traditional Export (NTEs) sector had been a core area that presented many opportunities for both local and foreign investment.Madam Kleman said, that cocoa processing, horticultural products such as pineapple and mangoes, fresh and processed fish, palm oil, cashew-nuts, Shea butter, oil seeds, garments and textiles, were among the few that held the key to Ghana's export diversification drive.
She said to facilitate the government's export drive; GEPA had developed and launched a comprehensive four year work plan towards the development of identified key priority such as Pineapple, Cashew, Shea and Yam with comprehensive sectoral intervention programmes and implementable action plans.This, she said, was aimed at achieving the set strategic target and to increase the dwindling supply base of exportable products, through the development of new and improved seedlings in both local and international market.
Already, she said GEPA had injected some interventions in pineapple production and shall roll out initiatives in other sector value chains such as yam, vegetables, cashew, Shea, processed cocoa and mango.She noted that implementing these plans will enable the GEPA achieve a significant increase in the share of NTEs total export, strengthen the resource export development related institutions and ensure that every district in Ghana was able to have at least one significant and commercially viable agro-based export product.
'Government has created an enabling environment for businesses to thrive and the country has embarked on ambitious but achievable reform programmes to improve the investment climate for both local and international investors,' she added.Mr Ali Zebradast, President of Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture, Iran, said there were many rewarding business opportunities in Iran that the Ghanaian business community could explore to the mutual benefit of both countries.