US-Ghana Bilateral Trade To Hit US$2.4bn End-2019

The United Statesof America(USA) is hopeful of doubling its bilateral trade with the country from the current US$1.2billion within the next three years as it seeks to push job-creation as well as unearthglobal trade potentials.

“Last year the bilateral trade was about US$1.2billion,and I would like to see that double; I believe that it is doable. Ghanaian companies need to focus more on the export sector to the US market. There are a number of US companies interested in dealing with some Ghanaian companies in the textile area.

“There are a lot of opportunities to increase trade between Ghana and the United States,” United States Ambassador to Ghana Robert P. Jackson told a media conferencein Accra to mark his 90th day in office.

Ambassador Jackson indicated that investments from the US government will be focusing strongly on the specific sectors ofhealth, agriculture, education and democratic governance,which will be key to cushioning the economy’sgrowth.

The Ambassador touched on a wide-variety of issues ranging from the economy, bilateral relations, security, terrorism, and governance –as well as outlining other areas the US will support to deepen bilateral economic diplomacy between the two countries.

Jackson expressed optimism on Ghana’s potential for investments.“Broadly, when I look at how Ghana has developed over the last 17 years since I was first here, it is clear that the country is much, much more prosperous.It is moving in a positive direction, it is creating more opportunities.”

Though the country is moving in a positive direction,according to him there is an urgent need for job-creation

“I have also had several meetings with American businesses in the country, where they have seen opportunities and challenges, and I think that we are on the path to unlocking some of the potentials.

“The economy is definitely on people’s minds, and when I talk to people I hear continuing concern about some fundamental like inflation, the value of the cedi, and supply of power. I also heard many comment about job-creation and the need to increase trade between the two countries,” he said.

He said he had fruitful discussions with President John Mahama, the Ministry of Trade and other relevant government agencies, and assured that he is prepared to work with the current government and any other that might emerge from the November general elections.

He pledged the US government’sassistance of providing US$4.5million to supportthe November elections.

The Electoral Commission in December 2015 submitted a budget of GH¢1.8billion to parliament for approval to effectively run the 2016 elections.

Parliament approved GH?1.2billion of the amount, but this was further slashed to GH¢826.8million by the Finance Ministry on grounds that there is a ceiling on the total amount it can release for elections.

Ambassador Jackson said: “We are providing at this point US$4.5million for Ghana’s elections; one third of that will go to the Electoral Commission to assist with its strategic communication, and provide other support for the Commission to educate voters and make people aware of the practicalities of voting.

“One-third of the funds will go to the Peace Commission (National Peace Council). We will be doing additional training for journalists, and we will also work to identify areas that are at greatest risk of conflict,” he said.

Ambassador Jackson revealed that the bulk of American support -s channeled to the northern sector, “because we agree that is where the needs are”.He said there are a number of US companies in the north with good records for providing knowledge-transfer and quality jobs.

“That was the thrust of my conversation with the leadership of SADA; that we need to be looking at how to attract more investments to the north. I am very interested in seeing more jobs created,” he said.

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