Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has lauded the collaboration between Volkswagen (VW) Ghana and BlackIvy, saying it is an excellent collaboration and pledged the complete support of Ghana to the partnership.
“Producing the quality on display here today is not enough. Ghana-Made has to be more affordable to our people. I commend Volkswagen and BlackIvy for their commitment to join forces to raise funds for longer-term purchase and lease payment plans, making a quality home and a reliable car attainable for more Ghanaians,” he said.
Vice President Bawumia said this on Wednesday, in Accra, during the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Volkswagen and BlackIvy, an American company that builds and grows enterprises in Africa.
The Chief Executive Officer of Volkswagen Ghana, Mr Jeffrey Oppong Peprah, and BlackIvy West Africa Director, Mr Alex Camfor-Dumas, signed for their respective companies.
The collaboration leverages the Volkswagen Group’s commitment to becoming a leading global provider of sustainable mobility and BlackIvy’s commitment to greening growth in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The objective is to grow manufacturing-related jobs in Ghana and position her to attract a share of the multi-billion-dollar funds that have been launched for green growth and carbon reduction.
Volkswagen is the first international automotive to bring vehicle assembly to Ghana.
Vice President Bawumia said the MoU echoed many familiar themes such as “Ghana as an exporter of raw materials, the low-income content of our exports that feed foreign industries, Ghana as importer of finished goods, the balance of payment effects,….and the development of Ghana’s manufacturing sector.”
He said the VW-BlackIvy story also brought something new: the emerging era of Ghana-Made products, their quality and affordability, and whether the people could find a path of growth through manufacturing that was also sustainable.
“Ghana is richly endowed with vast reserves of mineral resources from gold to manganese, bauxite, iron ore and diamond. There are proven reserves of other minerals, including lithium,” he said.
“Notwithstanding our rich endowments of resources, we have failed to use these resources to drive economic development and wealth creation.”
He noted that apart from investments in mineral extraction and exploration in the petroleum sector in the last decade, Ghana was only beginning to engage in ways that could attract sufficient investments in other value addition and diversified activities that could pave the way for manufacturing and diversification of the nation’s economy in a consistent manner.
With regards to the Ghana Beyond Aid Paradigm Shift, he said the President’s Vision in that regard called for rethinking ‘’if we are to change the structure of the economy in beneficial ways.”
Ghana Beyond Aid envisages a path of transformation that builds on value addition whether in agriculture or the minerals sector and envisages a diversified economy, attracting investments in other activities as well as leveraging on comparative advantage.
“Today is a celebration of what can be done in Ghana. What we are launching today is in line with the Ghana we want to build, vibrant and diversified, inspired by the vision of Ghana Beyond Aid,” he said.
“Your work calls on the entrepreneurial spirit in Ghanaians to turn our vast resources into opportunity – here at home as well as for those in faraway lands that have told themselves for too long that one day they will come home. Now is the day. Now is the time.”
Vice President Bawumia said Ghanaians needed new financing arrangements, including more readily-available mortgages and lease products adding; “This is particularly important because the quality of our homes affects our well-being, our productivity and even our health”.
He said the importance of safe and reliable cars similarly could not be overstated.
“Ghana spends up to $230 million every year treating injuries and traffic fatalities. Road crashes claimed 2,284 lives in 2019. Too often, the cars involved do not meet road safety standards,” the Vice President said.
“A safe car and a comfortable home should not be a luxury. We look forward to working with Volkswagen and BlackIvy and other companies to help introduce new leasing options and financing plans to Ghana.”
With regards to sustainability, Vice President Bawumia said as the country geared towards making more products locally, that must be done sustainably adding that this could lead Ghana to become a leader in green, sustainable growth.
“It is imperative for us to pioneer best practices of environmental stewardship as our economy diversifies and expands its industrial base,” he said.
He said the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had identified air pollution as becoming a major cause of death in Ghana and that lower respiratory infection, mainly caused by air pollution, ranked second to malaria in the top 10 diseases in Ghana, with children under-five years most affected.
He said children suffered from the exposure to ultra fine particles in Accra, which was among the highest in the world, and that emissions from cooking, combustion and traffic were the main sources of those fine particles.
“Accra’s average annual air pollution levels are about five times the World Health Organization’s guideline average for the most health-damaging fine particles. We have to act with urgency and work creatively with the private sector in championing solutions.”
He said the collaboration between Volkswagen and BlackIvy to introduce the first Compressed Natural Gas and electric vehicles in Ghana could help reduce emissions in the country.