You are here: HomeNews2016 05 05Article 436383

General News of Thursday, 5 May 2016


Corruption impeding FDI – Canadian high commissioner

Ghana is a good place to invest, but the country needs to deal decisively with the corruption that stands in the way of investors, particularly where people are asked to make “unapproved payments”, Christopher Thornley, Canadian High Commissioner to Ghana, has said.

In an interview with the B&FT, Mr. Thornley said that even though government has shown commitment in fighting corruption, there is still more to be done to eradicate what has become a national blight by strengthening institutions set up to regulate the behaviour of people.

“I think to deal with corruption you need stronger institutions; law enforcement, the regulatory framework, the ability to enforce laws and regulations so that people will know that there are consequences in whatever they do,” he said.

“The positive thing is that there has been good progress and action has been taken. But there are still issues around the regulatory environment: setting up a business, dealing with various authorities where people are asked to make unapproved payments etc.”

He further decried Ghana’s low reputation as rated by TRACE International — an entity with the goal of advancing commercial transparency worldwide — which he believes should be a wake-up call for government so that investors’ confidence in the economy will be enhanced.

“There is an international organisation called TRACE International that measures corruption in terms of the bribery prevalence; and, unfortunately, Ghana rates very high on that. So I think it is something that the government of Ghana is aware of and is dealing with it, because they know it is an obstacle that hinders investments,” he stated.

Mr. Thornley however reiterated the Canadian government’s commitment to support the country’s economy by focusing on the provision of more technical assistance, which he believes will prove essential in driving growth in the industrial sector; adding that steps must also be taken by government to help add value to the raw materials.

“Canada has an US$80million bilateral programme with Ghana; our total aid is over US$100million annually in Ghana, and we work closely to develop the private sector. We are committed to moving our development programme further by providing more technical assistance and fewer grants so that Ghana can help itself more.

“For example, we are looking at a programme now that will boost cocoa production; and we are also looking at financing for small enterprises to help them to grow by providing them with favorable interest rates. It is a matter of adding value to production to ensure that Ghana becomes self-sufficient and takes advantage of its vast natural resources. Ghana is incredibly rich but needs to see more transformation in production, manufacturing, and then export to other countries such as Canada,” he maintained.

Ghana became the first country in Africa to receive development assistance from Canada in 1957 and remains a development country of focus, having received total disbursements of over US$108million in 2013-14.

In 2011, Canada and Ghana began negotiations toward a Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA). A bilateral FIPA will provide greater predictability and certainty for Canadian investors considering investment opportunities in Ghana.