Trade from Ghana to South Africa is currently pegged at around $7.4 million – a significant drop from three to four years ago when it was quoted in the billions.
Both countries are now seeking to close the gap and forge closer trade ties.
“We need to go back and understand why suddenly there has been a significant drop,” said the Chief Executive of the Ghana Investment Promotion Center, Yoofi Grant.
Mr Grant was part of a 31-member business delegation from Ghana which embarked on a 7-day trade and investment promotion mission organised by the Ghana South Africa Business Chamber in collaboration with the South Africa High Commission in Ghana.
The Mission to selected provinces, including Gauteng, Kwazulu-Natal and Western Cape was aimed at promoting investment opportunities in Ghana and also expose Ghanaian businesses to opportunities in South Africa.
Latest figures peg that South Africa’s investment in Ghana at 4.7 billion dollars whiles Ghana is doing just about 150 million dollars.
“We need increased trade and investment”, Mr Grant told Joy Business’ Daryl Kwawu who joined the delegation on the Trade Mission.
The GIPC’s strategy is to position Ghana as the beachhead and entry point to West Africa.
“For some businesses I have spoken to who have found it pretty difficult to enter the Nigerian market, they believe that entering the Ghanaian market for West Africa is a more practical thing to do and so they are looking to coming to Ghana and form partnerships with Ghanaian businesses to exploit the West African market”, Mr. Grant said.
Both countries have been exploring opportunities in areas such as energy generation, agriculture, agro-processing, tourism among others.
South Africa High Commissioner to Ghana, Lulama Xingwana who escorted the Ghanaian delegation expressed South Africa’s commitment to building sustainable partnerships with Ghana and to open up its markets to alter the reality of the current trade and investment volumes.
Meanwhile, some delegates from Ghana who spoke to Joy Business during the trade mission expressed satisfaction with the outcome of the trip.
“The experience has been awesome. I’ve had the opportunity to meet potential investors, partners and distributors”, Paul Bebobru, CEO of Toahouse Company Limited, an infrastructure, manufacturing and recycling firm, told Joy Business.
The delegation’s mission ended in the Western Cape Province. Michael Gamwo, Head of the Africa Desk at Wesgro –Western Cape’s tourism, trade and investment agency described deliberations with Ghanaian counterparts as successful.
“On the one hand, you have South African companies who have the technology, the knowledge and the expertise and the other hand you have the Ghanaian companies who have the knowledge of the market. We encourage such partnerships’’, Mr. Gamwo added.
This would be second trade mission embarked upon by the Ghana South Africa Business Chamber since its inception.
President of the Chamber, Ashley Rix said the Chamber plans to organize trade specific missions going forward – about 3 or 4 of them within the year.
Representatives of the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ghana Investment Promotion Center (GIPC), Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) and the Ghana Free Zones Board were among the Ghanaian delegation to South Africa.