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Jyrki Katainen, European Commission Vice President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness has hailed Ghana’s steady economic progress over the past two decades.
He said Ghana’s strong economic progress, in particular over the last two decades, means that there was substantial opportunity for doing more.

Mr Katainen gave the commendation on Thursday in his presentation at Council on Foreign Relations – Ghana’s Distinguished Guest Public Lecture Series in Accra.

Speaking on the theme “Africa EU Alliance: a Relationship for the Future”, Mr Katainen said the important demographic dividend was that more than 50 per cent of Ghana’s population was of working age; adding that, this unexploited potential was there to be used.

He said Ghana had made an enormous progress in terms of economic and social transformation since its early independence days; most of it rapidly in the last 20 years.

“Ghana has become a star. It is one of the fastest growing economies in Sub-Saharan Africa. It has developed a relatively diversified structure with agriculture, manufacturing, services and a booming oil industry and a stable political government,” he said.

He said Ghana’s growth potential was underpinned by the abundant human and physical capital.

Mr Katainen said this economic progress had put Ghana at the forefront of poverty reduction in Africa, reaching the first Millennium Development Goal, with poverty headcount falling from almost 50 to 10 per cent of population living on less than 1.9 dollars per a day between 1990 and 2015.

He said: “Foreign Direct Investments ($3.3 billion in 2017), regional and international trade volumes and dynamic business environment, with local small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) being at the forefront of market penetration, especially in the agribusiness, which is all booming, thanks to economic and social advances achieved”.

“An important part of this increased investment and trade interest for Ghana is shared with European businesses.”

He said the EU was Ghana's main trading partner (exports and imports combined).

He noted that in 2017, €2.1 billion of goods and €1 billion of services were exported to the EU.

Mr Katainen, who is on a two-day official visit to Ghana and Togo, said the EU foreign direct investment stocks in Ghana stood at €1.7 billion in 2017 while EU FDI flows to Ghana amounted to €74 million in 2017.

He said this clearly points to the fact that the EU was there to accompany Ghana in achieving its ambitions.

He said Ghana was now a lower middle-income country that is rightfully looking to Move Beyond aid, towards a more modern, diversified economy, to translate its rich natural resources endowment into shared wealth and jobs for its youth.

“We, the EU, have become a political and monetary Union and a global actor, the biggest market and trade power in the world. We have a common foreign and security policy,” he said.
He noted that the EU had become a force for peace, democracy, human rights,
multilateralism and sustainable development.

“In the relations with our partners we are no longer just a donor, far from that. We are a political and economic partner. This is most evident in our relations with Africa,” he stated.
Mrs Agnes Aggrey-Orleans, a retired diploma, who chaired the function, said the EU and its members had been Africa’s long standing and first partner.

She said over the years the several recipient dynamics in corporation had changed, as thinking evolved towards a growing degree of enlightenment and a deep appreciation of their interdependence in matters of national endeavour, both political and economics.

Mr Daniel K. Osei, the President, Council on Foreign Relations – Ghana, said the Council was concerned about the insufficient participation of the private sector in foreign policy.

Mrs Agnes Aggrey-Orleans, a retired diploma, who chaired the function, said the EU and its members had been Africa’s long standing and first partner.

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