Executive Focus: Muhammad Mumuni, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Ghana
How important is foreign direct investment to Ghana's economic growth?
MUMUNI: Foreign direct investment plays a crucial role in my country, powering its development. In 2011, Ghana grew at the rate of 14.1% of GDP, and both the World Bank and IMF anticipate Ghana's economy to be the fastest growing economy in the world. It is also projected that Ghana, alongside many other countries, will be the fastest growing economies in the world in the next ten years. So it is important for us to sustain the flow of foreign direct investment into our country, and to increase this tempo so that we can continue to grow our development. We believe that the Middle East is one big source of foreign direct investment. Following the financial crisis in the West and the economic meltdown, there is a lot of surplus capital in the Middle East looking for a home, and we want to project our country as a preferred destination for Middle East capital.Which sectors are you targeting for foreign investment?
MUMUNI: Ghana is one of the newest oil producing countries, so the oil and gas sector of our economy will require a lot of injection of foreign direct investment, both in the upstream and downstream levels. The entire value chain in the oil sector, and gas sector, is calling for investment for exploration, for exploitation of the oil, and for the petrochemical industry. We believe that we need to inject a lot of capital to make the best out of the resource for our nation's development.How would you describe the state of the energy sector in Ghana today?
MUMUNI: Well, right now I would say that there is a deficit in terms of power generation. We basically rely on hydropower, which is the main resource from the water dam, which has served us well for several decades. But today, with the upsurge in industrialization, we believe that we need to augment the levels of power generation in our country. So this one area where we are really looking to attract a lot of foreign direct investment so that we may close the gap and produce sufficient power, and energy to power our industries.Who are your biggest trading partners? How are you working to diversify those relationships?
MUMUNI: Our biggest trading partners, traditionally, have been the United Kingdom, our former colonial masters, and of course the United States of America, and Japan. But with the diversification that we are undertaking now, we are operating an open door policy and therefore we are inviting investors from all across the world and from China especially. We also invite investors from Korea, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East, all across the world really.Which countries or regions is Ghana currently negotiations bilateral or multilateral trade agreements with?
MUMUNI: We have commissions for corporations with mainly African countries, and even beyond with other countries of the world. We are engaged with them, negotiating bilateral agreements because we believe that we need to grow our economy to be robust, to be resilient, and to produce decent, sustainable jobs. Therefore, we need to go out there and collaborate with countries that are willing to partner with us in that particular regard. We are really engaged in negotiations with various countries. There are particular agreements that are very substantial and clearly will make the difference in our situation, and therefore we give some priority attention to them. Recently my president was in the United States of America as an official guest of the US government, and Ghana had been selected among four nations across the world to benefit from the Partnerships for Growth initiative of the US. This comes right on the heels of the US Compact and the Millennium Challenge account that Ghana was a beneficiary of and did extremely well. That particular negotiation was very crucial for us.How stable is the political situation in Ghana?
MUMUNI: Ghana has a reputation of maintaining a very peaceful, stable, political environment that is secure with strong democratic institutions. Our electoral commission, for instance, has been able to conduct five successful elections which have been declared to be transparent and credible. Two of them ended in transfer of power from the ruling government to the opposition, which is very significant. We believe that we should export the peace that we have, because Ghana is a credible member of the UN system. We believe in international peace and security, and Ghana has been very prominent in peace-keeping activities of the United Nations, as a contributor of peace keepers in the world. Ghanaian peace keepers have been to many countries, as far as Bosnia and Kosovo. We were in Rwanda, even when the United Nations withdrew, Ghana remained in Rwanda and made a great impact and saved a lot of lives. Today we are in charge of five theaters of conflict. We are in Liberia and Cote d'Ivoire. We have been in Lebanon for several decades and we are still there. We are also in Sudan and Congo DRC. Ghanaian peace keepers are well-famed.How would you describe Ghana's role in West Africa?
MUMUNI: Ghana is a trailblazer. We are accustomed to leadership responsibilities in Africa. Ghana was the first African country, south of the Sahara, to attain independence from the colonial administration. Ghana was also the catalyst for other countries to equally become free of UK colonialism. Therefore, politically, we were looked upon as elitist, the black star of Africa. Today, we believe that Ghana is also leading in the area of democracy because Ghana is seen as a beacon of African democracy. Equally, our human rights pedigree has come to the world, as well as Ghana's sustainable management of the economy. It has won a lot of praise from across the world, so in West Africa, Ghana continues to be the star, and industrially, we are also the gateway to the sub region. Clearly Ghana, alongside Nigeria and Cote d'Ivoire are in the driver's seat of our integration agenda in the sub region, so it is a position of leadership that Ghana has.