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Business News of Saturday, 1 March 2008

Source: GNA

US business team urges Ghanaian to target global market

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Accra, March 1, GNA - An American business explorer on Saturday tasked the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) and other manufacturers to target the global market with valuable tangible products.

"The global market place exists for countries who explores the opportunities it has created, customized products - tangibles and intangibles to meet the needs of other operators," Mr Joseph Paul Cool, President of a US-based Cool and Associates Incorporate, told the Ghana News Agency in a pre-departure interview on Saturday.

He said maintaining durable macroeconomic stability and continued propping up of efficient market functioning, overcoming disadvantages arising from geographic isolation and fragmentation were necessary if Ghana wanted to compete favourably with others in the market place. Mr Cool was in Ghana at the head of a business exploration advanced team under the Mosaic Ghana initiative, which seeks to connect Michigan and Ghana to provide significant opportunities for growth.

The 15-day exploration focused on common market sectors - mining, light manufacturing, transportation, communications, healthcare, long distance learning, athlete training, student exchange programmes and unique products for Michigan merchants in the area of joint ventures, distributorships, investment and consulting.

Mosaic Ghana initiatives is a coalition of several south-eastern Michigan companies, including Multicultural Community Partnership, MBC Global, Cool and Associates, Divine Breeze, Russell and Associates, all Michigan based international organizations in collaboration Paulson Ventures of Ghana.

Mr Cool said in spite of the advantages within the global market place, Ghana and other African countries needed to develop and manage responses to shocks, particularly as they compete with resourceful countries, in which their fortunes are currently closely tied to the fortunes of key minerals in the world market. He said although lower levels of investment were important for explaining Ghana's slower growth, it was rather the slower productivity growth that more sharply distinguishes Ghana's growth performance from that of the rest of the world.

Global market indicators reveal that investment in Ghana yields less than half the return measured in growth terms. This situation clearly creates conditions for attracting new investors to more explicitly pursue measures that will help to raise productivity of existing and new investment.

Mr Cool said efforts must be made to reduce transaction costs for private enterprise, particularly indirect costs; supporting innovation to take advantage of new technological opportunities; and improving skills and institutional capacity to support productivity growth and competitiveness.

He noted that while Ghana's economy highly depend on agriculture for food, exports, and income earning more broadly, productivity in the sector lags far behind the phenomenal progress rating for an economic take-off.

Speaking to a cross-section of students and lecturers from Wisconsin International University College, Valley View University and All Nations University, Mr Cool said Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) had become the main driver for productivity growth. Evidence, he said, shows that investment in ICT and in higher education boosts competitiveness, "making both key parts of the educational growth will afford students a huge leap forward in the global market place."

Mr Paul Adotey, Chief Executive Officer of Paulson Ventures, said reforms in trade, tax and property administration, as well as introduction of a single-window clearance process at Customs where traders can now file all paperwork for all agencies at one place had changed the business climate in the country. He said clearance time dropped from seven days to three days for imports and from four days to two days for exports. Ghana has also reduced the corporate tax rate and reconstruction levy for businesses, cutting the overall tax burden from 35.6 percent to 32.3 percent of profits. Mr Adotey said the government further decreased the stamp duty on property transfers from two percent to 0.5 percent of the property value.

He therefore urged Cool and Associates to propagate the new economic paradigm shift in Ghana to the American business community for the development of strategic business enterprise for the benefit of the two nations. During the visit, Mr Cool held discussions with officials of AGI, Ghana Chamber of Commence, Governmental agencies. He also lectured at some private tertiary institutions and toured local business establishment. 01 March 08

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