INVESTMENT BOTH WAYS

Ghana 2016 | DIPLOMACY | GUEST SPEAKER

TBY talks to Jacob Zuma, President of South Africa, on the relationship between South Africa and Ghana.

Jacob Zuma
BIOGRAPHY
Influenced by a trade unionist family member, Jacob Zuma became involved in politics at an early age, joining the ANC in 1958. He became an active member of the ANC’s armed wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe, in 1962, following the banning of the ANC in 1960. While on his way out of the country in 1963, he was arrested and sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment. He left South Africa in December 1975 and for the next 12 years was based in Southern Africa. Following the unbanning of the ANC in February 1990, he was one of the first ANC leaders to return to South Africa to begin the process of negotiations with the then apartheid regime. In 1991, at the first ANC conference held in South Africa since 1959, he was elected Deputy Secretary General. He was elected ANC Deputy President in December 1997, and served as Deputy President of South Africa from 1999 until June 2005. Zuma was elected ANC President in December 2007, becoming the ANC’s candidate for South African president in the 2009 elections.

How would you characterize the development of the relationship between South Africa and Ghana since formal diplomatic ties were established over 20 years ago in May 1994?

As the first country to receive its independence on the continent, Ghana inspired and provided support to South Africa during the times of apartheid. This is the background against which we base our relations—one of friendship, solidarity, and a common purpose to move forward together toward prosperity and progress. Ghana and South Africa cooperate in international and regional fora such as the UN and the African Union. At the bilateral level, the Permanent Joint Commission for Cooperation between South Africa and Ghana was established in 2007. The main objective of the Permanent Joint Commission for Cooperation is to promote political, economic, and social cooperation between our two countries. Several incoming and outgoing state visits have taken place in an attempt to seal these relations. The highlight of the August 2011 State Visit to South Africa was the signing of seven agreements and MoUs covering a wide range of sectors including trade and industry, science and technology, defense, tourism, and ICT. Further agreements were signed during the Presidential State Visit to Ghana on November 26, 2013, taking our work to a higher level. South Africa and Ghana have agreed that these instruments should translate into concrete projects that will benefit our people.

Do you foresee more South African companies entering the Ghanaian market to provide alternative offerings to the country's traditionally relied upon European goods and investments?

South Africa has emerged to become the 14th largest investor in Ghana. Between January 2003 and April 2013, a total of 28 South African FDI projects were recorded, which created 4,683 jobs. These projects represent a total capital investment of R64.7 billion ($4.065 billion), which is an average investment of R2,310.37 million ($145.155 million) per project. South African companies that have invested in Ghana include inter alia, MTN, AngloGold Ashanti, Game, Goldfields, Stuurrock Shipping, Simat Group, BSI Steel, Educor, Metropolitan, Stanbic Holdings, Standard Bank, SABMiller, Woolworths, African Explosives, Multichoice, Shoprite Checkers, Sherwood, Steers, and South African Airways. Ghana has in the past two years built four shopping malls across the country, with Kumasi City Mall and Achimoto Shopping Mall both scheduled to be built in 2016. Ghana's expansion of shopping malls presents South African companies with a great opportunity to initiate and expand investment in the Ghanaian market. Also, Pick n Pay announced in October 2015 that it would be opening its first store in Ghana in 2016. The Ports of Lome in Togo and Cotonou in Benin are strategically positioned to facilitate the movement of South African goods entering Ghana, thus making it even more attractive for South African companies to invest in Ghana. Other incentives include a sound microeconomic environment, access to all markets of ECOWAS, 100% foreign ownership, infrastructure development, and the ongoing privatization in key economic sectors.