The 2022 GHPAC Golden Gala and Awards Symposium was held at the Renaissance Hotel in Washington D.C. ahead of the United States 51st Annual Legislative Conferences (ALC) of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Convention which will also honor members of Congress who are committed to focusing on policies that advance U.S.-Ghana diplomatic and bilateral trade relations as members of the inaugural Congressional Ghana Caucus.
The Ghana Diaspora Public Affairs Collective (GHPAC) was founded by Ghanaian – American public policy and business professionals focused on empowering Ghanaians in the diaspora and advancing U.S-Ghana relations. They are committed to working collectively as Ghanaian descent and friends of Ghana to encourage civic engagement and advance policies through research, education, and community building.
Ghana Diaspora Public Affairs Collective, affectionately known as GHPAC has made strides in its young existence to elevate the voices of Ghanaians living in the United States on matters of importance in U.S’s policy and politics.
The Golden Gala and Awards Symposium is purposed to tell untold stories of the work many Ghanaians in the diaspora have done in service of the community as well as amplify opportunities for further progress.
In his keynote remarks, Honorable Alan Kyerematen, Minister for Trade and Industry, intimated that Ghana and United States have enjoyed long standing fraternal relations dating back several decades. Saying, “Our fraternal relations are deeply rooted in the economic, political, and cultural ties between our two great countries.”
Hon. Kyerematen emphasized the bonds of friendship between the two countries having manifested in the increasing number of American businesses operating from Ghana and many Ghanaians involved in strategic partnerships with their American colleagues and counterparts.
“I have had close personal association with the United States in various capacities, including serving as the Ghana’s Ambassador in the early 2000s where I worked closely with my American colleagues to shape the American Government’s support to Ghana through the Millennium Challenge Corporation, and the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).
Through these and other social interventions, the American Government and its people have offered significant support to Ghana’s economic development.” He disclosed.
The legislator reemphasized that, “Many Ghanaians recall the relief offered to them with the construction of many infrastructural projects such as the George Walker Bush Motorway as well as the huge investments in the energy sector in Ghana, which has ensured stable power supply to many homes and businesses in our country. Currently, the United States is supporting Ghana to implement a number of projects aimed at enhancing the Ghanaian private sector operators’ productive capacities to take advantage of numerous market opportunities at home and abroad.”
The Minister noted that, it is an incontestable fact that no country has developed without industrialization, and therefore not by accident that the ten largest economies in the world are also the most industrialized economies, namely the United States, China, Japan, Germany, United Kingdom, India, France, South Korea, Italy and Canada.
Industrialization he said, remain as the engine of economic development. “We are fully convinced that Ghana cannot succeed in her quest to become an industrialized country without the full support and participation of her Diaspora citizens.” He stressed.
“Beyond the remittances you send back home to support your families, Diasporans have increasingly become a great source of capital, creativity, entrepreneurship, technology, and knowledge transfer.
Diasporans have made us proud in many ways and we intend to leverage your capabilities and networks.
It is against this background that I find the establishment of Ghana Diaspora Public Affairs Collective (GHPAC) more appropriate and opportune.”
According to the Minister, “The GHPAC which is a nonpartisan, non-profit social welfare advocacy collective dedicated to empowering Ghanaians in the Diaspora through civic and political action can be instrumental in helping Ghana achieve her industrial transformation goal.
Our strategic approach to harnessing the capabilities and network of Ghanaians in the diaspora is based on a number of considerations, including, improved the business environment; enhancing the productive capacity of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) to produce for both export and local consumption; providing fiscal and non-fiscal incentives for manufacturing; and improving access to foreign markets.”
He said, in pursuit of these strategic objectives, the Government of Ghana, has since the year 2017 been aggressively implementing the following interventions as part of its Industrial Transformation Agenda aimed at making Ghana the new manufacturing hub for Africa:
I. Promoting One District One Factory (1D1F) Initiative under which Government is supporting the private sector to establish at least one medium to large scale industrial enterprise in each of the 260 administrative Districts in Ghana, based on their natural resource endowment and their comparative advantage.
The Minister disclosed that, they have supported the private sector to establish 296 businesses under the 1D1F programme, which 125 companies are operational across the country.
II. Development of new Strategic Anchor Industries aimed at diversifying the Ghanaian economy beyond Cocoa and Gold. These include Vehicle Assembly and Component Manufacturing; Garments and Textiles; Pharmaceuticals; Petrochemicals; Vegetable Oils and Fats (including Oil Palm); Industrial Chemicals (including Industrial Salt); Industrial Starch (including Cassava Starch); Integrated Bauxite and Aluminum; Iron and Steel; and Machinery and Equipment Manufacture.
“Under this component of our Industrial Transformation Agenda, we have attracted global automobile icons such as Volkswagen, Toyota, and Nissan to establish vehicle assembly facilities in Ghana whereas many American garment giants including PVH Group are currently engaged in negotiations with Ghanaian garment manufacturers to become part of the global supply chain for garments and textiles.
III. decentralizing institutional support for SMEs through the establishment of Business Resource Centers (BRCs) and Business Advisory Centers (BACs) throughout the country.
The BRCs and the BACs are designed as one-stop enterprise support centers, providing a combination of business development services, access to finance and coordinating services of regulatory authorities. We intend to leverage our close relationship with the US Government by adapting some of the best practices from the US Small Business Administration.
IV. The development of Industrial Parks and Special Economic Zones around the country, to provide access to industrial lands, dedicated source of electricity, water, telecommunication services etc for those interested in going into manufacturing.
To this end, the Ministry of Trade and Industry is leading the establishment of a 5000-acre Greater Kumasi Industrial City and Special Economic Zone located at the middle of the country which will also serve as a strategic commercial hub for the landlocked Sahel countries in West Africa.
V. The establishment of Ghana as the new commercial capital for Africa under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). As the host country of the AfCFTA Secretariat, Ghana has established a National AfCFTA Coordination Office to lead the implementation of Ghana’s National AfCFTA Policy Framework and Action Plan for Boosting Trade with Africa.”
This according to Mr Kyerematen, offers significant opportunities for American businesses to use Ghana as a hub for the US$3.5 Trillion African market under the AfCFTA Agreement.
He said, as the aforementioned Government projects are meant to create sustainable jobs, particularly for the youth and improve the welfare of Ghanaian citizens, there are other flagship programmes, such as the Planting for Food and Jobs, Free Senior High School Education and ‘Agenda 111’ Hospital projects, that are promoting inclusive and sustainable growth of our dear country.
Mr. Kyerematen further stated that, in spite of the current global economic challenges largely occasioned by the joint effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war, the Ghanaian private sector has stood resolute and continue to explore opportunities to expand their frontiers.
He is of the believe that the Ghanaians in the diaspora can partner their counterparts operating in Ghana to take full advantage of the market opportunities.
“The Government of Ghana will therefore continue to provide relevant support and incentives for such partnerships between Ghanaians in Ghana and their counterparts living in the diaspora.
As you are well aware, Ghana has a stable democracy, conductive business environment and a vibrant youthful population that is ready to engage in the global economy, through education, technology, entrepreneurship, and advocacy.
We are working hard to revamp the economy and we count on your support. As the U.S looks to reset its U.S.-Africa strategy by engaging Africans in the diaspora and leveraging the private sector operators with new instruments and initiatives, Ghana and the Ghanaian diaspora in the U.S. are strategically positioned to take advantage of these new instruments to improve the welfare of its citizens.” Hon Alan Kyerematen, said.