BCIU CEO Peter Tichansky,
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good evening and greetings to our many honored guests from the Ghanaian government, the business community, and our the Embassy.
I want to thank the Business Council for International Understanding for bringing us together this week. Since its creation in 1955 at the initiative of President Eisenhower, BCIU has helped to foster ties between U.S. businesses and governments to promote understanding and partnerships around the world.
Tomorrow’s BCIU Competitiveness Forum is actually the third such forum in Ghana — the last was in 2013 — and I think this is a great time to renew the discussion on competitiveness, as the government embarks upon reforms with the goal to make Ghana the most investment and business-friendly country in Africa.
As President Akufo-Addo has often said, the importance of private sector-led growth to the development of Ghana’s economy is essential. We have dozens of companies represented here tonight, who operate in many key sectors in Ghana. The innovative, high-quality goods and services that your companies sell are highly valued in this market. For Ghanaians, American companies symbolize a commitment to quality, service, corporate responsibility, and strong ethics that is associated with our national character. One of our challenges is to emphasize quality, noting that cedi for cedi, our pricier goods may last twice as long as lower priced competitors’.
As Ghana rightfully seeks to move beyond aid towards self-sufficiency through industrialization, enhanced agricultural production and value-added processing, the engagements and investments of companies like yours will be critical. President Akufo-Addo and his leadership team have certainly expressed their openness to welcome you here. Governments help create the conditions that give businesses and innovators the space to take risks and become engines of economic growth and job creation.
President Akufo-Addo’s administration is taking steps to improve the ease of doing business and incentivize investment. The government has made some progress in the areas of providing needed tax relief, providing support for entrepreneurship, and reforming customs clearance processes at the ports. We look forward to continued reforms that will improve infrastructure, strengthen dialogue with the private sector, and increase transparency.
As we look to the BCIU Competitiveness Forum tomorrow morning, I encourage all of us to work together to tackle key challenges, brainstorm on ways the private sector can support government initiatives and private sector initiatives the government can support, and find effective solutions that will strengthen Ghana’s image as an attractive destination for investments.
Through a unified effort, we can address remaining challenges and truly demonstrate that Ghana is indeed open for business. I look forward to the day — not too far in the future — when we will witness a Ghana with a steady, fast growing economy; a transparent and predictable business environment; and flourishing trade that creates growing numbers of needed jobs for Ghanaians and Americans alike. By working together, we can make our common vision a reality for the benefit of future generations of Ghanaians – especially the youth – so they may invest in their future at home, contributing to their communities, nation, and the world we all share. When Ghana prospers, the United States and the world also prosper.