Ghana engages Japanese investors in Ghana

yofi grant & hisanobu mochizuk

The Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) on August 21, 2023, collaborated with the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), to organize a Business Forum, focused on Ghana’s investment and regulatory landscape.

gipc, ghanaThe event availed an opportunity to orient the Japanese Business Community on the investment trends and opportunities within multiple sectors in Ghana, to guide their expansion and investment decisions.




The Forum also provided an avenue for existing Japanese investors who are operating in Ghana, to know about the role GIPC can play to facilitate their business operations in the country and learn more of its unique Aftercare services, purposed to address post-establishment issues.

Speaking at the event, the Centre’s CEO, Mr. Yofi Grant underscored that Ghana’s engagement with the Japanese business community over the years, has been a dynamic one, with Japan being the 12th highest FDI contributor to Ghana within the period of 2017 to 2022. He mentioned that, though the current economic landscape faces some challenges as countries emerge from the global political and health crisis, there are still several opportunities in Ghana, and Africa at large, that investors can leverage.

yofi grant, gipc“Beyond all that is happening in the world, there is a tacit agreement that Africa has a significant role to play in reviving the global economy, considering its vast unexplored resources and market. We believe that Ghana is an entry point to this real potential” Mr. Grant mentioned.



He added that “Ghana recognizes the quality of Japanese business operations and is very keen on exploring and maintaining mutually beneficial partnerships with the Japanese business community”.

Taking his turn to address the audience, the Japanese Ambassador to Ghana, Hisanobu Mochizuki, noted that the past decade has seen increased Japanese investments into Ghana, with a potential for more. He also touched on some issues besetting the investment environment, but reassured the Japanese investors of GIPC’s commitment to help them address the challenges.

hisanobu mochizuk at gipc, jetro meeting, ghana“We recognize GIPC as an important partner in assisting our companies overcome the challenges that they may face in doing business in Ghana” he noted.




Contributing to the discussions, the Director General of JETRO Accra Office, Mr. Hiroaki Sekine, cited factors such as; “complicated administration procedures, unstable exchange rates, and security” as some causatives of Japan’s relatively low investment in Africa. He disclosed that, Japanese investment in 2022 added up to 175 billion USD, consisting of; 36% to US, 24% to EU, 24% to Asia, 8% to Central & South America, 6.5% to Oceania, and 1% to Africa.

He however expressed optimism for higher investment flows to Africa and Ghana in particular from Japan, and implored GIPC to support in tackling investor challenges, so as to make the country the best investment destination in the region.

Mr Sekine’s address was followed by submissions from GIPC’s Head of Research, Eugenia Okyere, and Senior Investment Officer from the Aftercare team, Vivian Ampadu. They respectively focused on the trend of Japanese investment in Ghana, and the ways in which the GIPC can support Japanese businesses on post-establishment issues.

Thereafter, participants were given the chance to table their concerns and suggestions on operational challenges and support systems needed for progressive deliveries in Ghana.

Ghana pursues Double Taxation, Bilateral Investment Treaties with Trinidad and Tobago

bilateral investment treaties

A delegation from the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC), and the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) have engaged authorities of Trinidad and Tobago about considering Double Taxation and Bilateral Investment treaties, to further enhance trade flow between the two nations.

The talks were held, when the delegation met with representatives of Trinidad and Tobago’s Chamber of Industry and Commerce (TT Chamber) last week. The team from Ghana, further identified key sectors in Trinidad and Tobago, including its manufacturing sector, as prime area for partnerships with Ghanaian SMEs.

At the meeting, the Centre’s CEO, Mr Yofi Grant opined that a collaboration between the two countries will yield mutually beneficial outcomes, considering each other’s economic situations and contributions.

investment bilateral treaties with Trinidad and TobagoFor us in Ghana, partnerships for linkages and trade are key because we do have significant raw material for which we want to add value and then export, and I believe that T&T is really the industrial powerhouse of the Caribbean so there is a lot to learn. But there is also a lot to trade not only in goods but services, particularly in the oil and gas sector where Trinidad and Tobago seem to have built some capacity and experience which they can leverage in Ghana,’ he said.

The CEO of GEPA, Dr. Afua Asabea Asare also mentioned plans to establish a Ghana Trade House in Trinidad and Tobago “which will bring the cultural aspect, the trade aspect and everything together in a space where people can come in and see what Ghanaians offer”.

To facilitate the collaboration between the two countries, the TT Chamber disclosed that it will conduct an audit of its members that are already doing business in Africa, which will serve as a starting point for future engagements. The Chamber said it will establish a liaison with GIPC to ensure efficient and effective collaboration.

According to the TT Chamber president, Kiran Maharaj “the opportunities in Ghana are very promising, and it is apparent that they have built an economy and business environment that attract investment from committed partners such as TT’s business community. There are several synergies regarding our culture and the way in which we do business. I am certain there will be many benefits to both countries, not just from the exchange of knowledge and expertise but from investment opportunities, partnerships, and other significant pathways”. The TT Chamber indicated interest and commitment to foster strong partnerships with Ghana and leverage expertise to boost manufacturing and economic growth in both countries.

Meeting with T&T Trade Minister

The Ghanaian delegation furthered the conversations on exploring new trade and investment opportunities in a meeting with the Trade Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Paula Gopee-Scoon, as well as other officials including; President of the Trinidad and Tobago Manufacturers’ Association (TTMA), Roger Roach, and CEO of the Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce, Stephen De Gannes.

Minister Gopee-Scoon acknowledged the many opportunities for trade and investment between Trinidad and Tobago and Ghana. She noted that the bilateral engagements will foster mutually beneficial partnerships, cultural exchanges and economic growth across both nations.

She reiterated T&T’s commitment to strengthening economic ties with Ghana, and by extension Africa. At the meeting, the CEO of GEPA, Dr Afua Asabea Asare discussed plans to export Ghana’s native fabrics and prints into the Caribbean, where there is considerable demand.



The Centre’s CEO, Yofi Grant also negotiated agreements to have a Trinidad and Tobago steelpan band and masquerades participate in this year’s edition of the Taste of Ghana. Meanwhile, the TTMA, together with ExporTT, have committed to work towards a trade and investment mission to Ghana in early 2024.

Further, a commitment has been made by both parties to accelerate the ongoing negotiations for a Reciprocal Protection and Promotion of Investments Agreement (RIPPA), with the aim of reaching an agreement by the end of 2023.


The TTMA ready to explore in Ghanaian Market


The Trinidad and Tobago Manufacturers’ Association, led by President Roger Roach and other officers of the Secretariat together with Yofi Grant – CEO of Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GPIC) participated in a commercial meeting and factory tour of Angostura Limited. Rahim Mohammed Executive Manager Corporate Services; Mark Paul-Plant Manager Distillery Operations and Melissa Clarke-Commercial Sales Manager of Angostura met the delegation and facilitated the discussion on Angostura side.

The talks included, inter alia, potential market entry strategies and opportunities in Ghana. Also, in attendance at the meeting, was a representative from the Ministry of Trade and Industry which continued its role in supporting linkages with members of the Ghanaian delegation that were in T&T the week of 1 – 5 August.

At the meeting, Angostura shared insights on their African market experience and outlined the challenges they faced in breaking into the spirits market in Africa. The discussion included strategies to enhance Angostura’s presence in Ghana and the potential for their range of products, to be embraced by the Ghanaian market.

the growing trend of mixology in GhanaGrant reiterated the growing trend of mixology in Ghana and the potential of Angostura’s products and reiterated the need to settle on distinct marketing strategies for alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages in the Ghanaian market. The role of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) in shaping trade dynamics between the Caribbean and Africa was discussed. Angostura expressed interest in obtaining a market entry roadmap from GIPC and exploring partnerships with Ghanaian distributors.



Ryan Bachoo

Trinidad & Tobago businesses urged to explore opportunities in Ghana

With Africa poised to be the next global economic powerhouse, local businessmen are being encouraged to explore business opportunities in Ghana.

The call came from the chief executive of Ghana Investment Promotion Centre CEO, Reginald Yofi Grant, and Inter-American Development Bank’s executive director for Caribbean Robert Le Hunte. Grant said in Ghana alone, there was a potential customer pool of 32 million and more than 300 million in West Africa. Le Hunte pointed out that the manufacturing sector took to benefit from lower energy prices in Ghana compared to our regional counterparts.

“The encouragement for Trinidad business people is to see the potential of the market and to go there and explore the market. If you are a manufacturer, you want to be part of a market that is the largest consumer market. What Ghana has as you have been hearing is a lot of raw materials: a lot of products, bananas, pineapple, mangoes, cashews, shea butter, avocado, palm oil, just to name a few.

What Trinidad has; we have expertise in packaging,” said Le Hunte. “What Ghana is looking for is partnership, synergies with places that have familiarities with the diaspora. That’s what they want, they want to leverage our manufacturing skills. We want to leverage their market. To me that speaks to a marriage made in heaven,” he added.

Grant said there is greater commonality between the two countries than differences and that makes for greater accommodation for business.

“We are more alike in many more ways than we are different. I believe that you all do have a natural affinity to the African continent, both culturally, both behaviorally, look at the food, we eat almost the same things. Look at the music. The beats or common beats are the same, you know. So culturally, we are very much in sync and in tune that you tell us that when there are opportunities, it is just as good for you to have those same opportunities as anybody else and if not more.”

Trade missions ahead

The men said to show the seriousness of the opportunity, they met with representatives from the Ministry of Trade, including Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon, Chamber of Commerce, the T&T Manufacturing Association (TTMA) and InvestTT last Thursday. Coming out of that will be a bilateral investment treaty which, hopefully, will be followed by two missions to Ghana, one, a cultural mission in December and the other, a trade mission in March. “We are working on a bilateral investment treaty to define the parameters or the protocols that will guide the way we do business as well as a tax avoidance treaty. Those will lay the ground rules on which we can interact or do business. But beyond that, is a real opportunity, real interest that I’ve seen today from some manufacturers, traders and distributors,” Grant said.

The reignited talk of trade deals between the two countries came during the Emancipation Day visit of Ashanti King Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, who returned to Ghana along with his delegation yesterday. In 2007, former prime minister Patrick Manning, at the eighth Ordinary Session of the African Union Conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, spoke of bridging a gap between the two countries with T&T assisting in developing its natural gas economy. This ‘Africa Initiative’—as it came to be called—prompted a series of exchanges, study tours and delegation visits over the next decade, as those West African nations sought to learn from the T&T experience.

This dream materialized in 2022, six years after Manning’s death. State-owned National Gas Company (NGC) produced a critical piece of equipment, the Takoradi Distribution Station (TDS) in Ghana. It was the first time such a project was conceived and executed virtually, and it marked NGC’s first steps into selling technical services. The project started in December 2020, during the pandemic, when the country’s borders were closed.

Asked about the 15-year-delay and what assurances can be given to businessmen that there will not be a repeat, both men said the delay was a matter of politics. Le Hunte, who was part of the team to establish Republic Bank in Ghana, said the energy deal between West African states and T&T was government to government dealings while this venture relies on the private sector taking charge.

Le Hunte said Republic Bank’s venture into the Ghanaian market was the largest investment into the country of any entity from the diaspora. He said after the bank visited the country in 2010 and did its research, within two years the bank was up and running. That two-year period, he said, was testament to the ease at which business can be done in the country, all that is needed is for entrepreneurial exploration.





Transport limitation

In 2010, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley visited Ghana on an invitation by Ghanaian President Nana Addo Dankwa Afufo-Addo for the country’s 63rd independence anniversary. During that meeting he sought to strengthen ties for trade in agriculture and energy. One of the agricultural trade agreements involved growing Ghanaian white yam in T&T. Le Hunte said the project began and with the pandemic, there were some hiccups. He said the sample roots grew well in the tested areas and officials are now looking to expand commercial production. The main hiccup both men agreed was transportation.

After his 2020 visit, Rowley said he hoped Ghana Airways would return and provide direct flights to Port-of-Spain and the Caribbean from Ghana. Grant said he spent close to 15 hours getting to T&T, while a direct flight, which is possible, would have taken six hours. He said a direct flight is key to the connection and the time has come for the matter to go beyond discussions to reality. “On the first day (of the visit), we had a business seminar where we had Caribbean Airlines represented, and we spoke about the possibilities and the need to move further with that beyond the talk. Africa presents a very interesting opportunity for the Caribbean,” he said.

Le Hunte interjected, calling for the private sector to step up and facilitate direct flights rather than rely on governments. He said Ghana is the second largest producer of cocoa and is rich in minerals and agriculture, so transportation between the region and Ghana is essential. “Right now, there are limitations because of transportation. And admittedly that is so but that is what makes the market even more attractive for people because of the potential. What I am encouraging Trinidadian businessmen, is actually because of the huge potential. It might be a little bit of an inconvenience, but it is worth the inconvenience because of the size of the market,” he said. He wondered why the focus remained on the current market when there is a whole new frontier in Africa.

He said for direct transport between the two countries, there needs to be traffic and called on the private sector to lead that and not the government. He added that it will happen as businesses happen. As in physics, Le Hunte said, momentum builds when there is movement, and it was time for manufacturers to look outside the region. The market is there to take advantage of, he said, adding he will make himself available to help anyone who wants to enter the Ghanaian economy.

Grant said it is time to reattach the umbilical cord that was cut some 400 years ago. He identified the diaspora and the European Union as the sixth region of Africa. “Let us take advantage of this opportunity. History has denied us a very significant part in our mutual progress. And I think it’s about time that we mitigate against that happening again. The opportunities are there, the linkages are there. We come here with a lot of optimism, and we believe that we will bridge that gap and it will be to our mutual benefit.”


By Jensen La Vende

Senior Reporter

Ghana and Trinidad & Tobago work on partnership

While physically, Ghana and Trinidad and Tobago are more than 6,500 kilometres away, the reality is that we are actually much closer than we think.

This is what Dr Afua Asabea Asare, chief executive officer of the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) said she found most striking during her time in this country as part of a Ghanaian trade and investment delegation. ‘We are closer than we think we are. We (in Ghana) think you (in T&T) are so far away from Ghana and you think we are so far away from you but we are closer than you think. For me, it surprises me that we don’t even know how close we really are as a family,’ she said.

Asare made the comments during a sitdown interview with Express Business at the Hilton Trinidad and Conference Centre. ‘We should not even think about distance, we should think about how close we are in everything that we do. The weather is just like home. When we drove through town it reminded me of some parts of Accra (the capital of Ghana) so for me we should not even think about the distance we should think about how we could bridge this gap in the minds that we have,’ she said. ‘We see ourselves in everyone that we meet,’ Asare said.

This sentiment was reiterated by Reginald Yofi Grant, CEO of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC). gh and trinidad & tobago partnership

‘In fact, you look like a good friend of mine. I will have to show you a picture of him,’ Grant said as he swiped through his phone.

Executive director of the Inter-American Development Bank Robert Le Hunte, who led Republic Bank in Ghana said it is something that he too experienced during his time in the West African country.

Opportunities are there for us when Republic Bank chose to invest in Africa, driving the decision in spite of the distance was the massive potential, and more than a decade later Le Hunte, who was the major driver of the decision still holds that Africa is a good place to invest in.

And the time to do so is now, he said. ‘Normally businesses go (into areas) then banks follow after so we have a unique advantage, the opportunity is therefore there for us,’ he said. Asare said she would like to see a Ghana Trade House established here so that people can see how similar our cultures and appearance are. ‘We are looking at establishing a Trade House here to bring the cultural aspect, the trade aspect and everything together in a space where people can come in and see what we offer as Ghanaians. So we can actually meet and understand each other and grow as a family,’ she said. And we cannot let the challenges stop that, she said.

‘If they were able to bring the people from Africa all the way here (during the Transatlantic slave trade) then it was not so far for them. Why can’t we work on getting even closer together now?’ she said. But apart from the people, Grant said the two economies seem to also have a lot in common. ‘There is a lot more that makes us alike, than makes us different and we should leverage on that,’ Grant said.

‘For us in Ghana, partnerships for linkages and trade are key because we do have significant raw material for which we want to add value and then export, and I believe that T&T is really the industrial powerhouse of the Caribbean so there is a lot to learn. But there is also a lot to trade not only in goods but services, particularly in the oil and gas sector where Trinidad and Tobago seems to have built some capacity and experience which they can leverage in Ghana,’ Grant said. Entry point into African markets on Thursday, Phoenix Park Gas Processors Ltd (PPGPL) signed a Technical Services Agreement with The Gas Gathering Limited (TGGL) of Ghana, a private consortium.

Under this agreement, PPGPL will be providing technical and commercial advisory services, drawing on its expertise in the fields of process and mechanical engineering, project management, process operations, and commercial.

Grant said Ghana can be seen as an entry point into the African markets. ‘I keep emphasising that the African market is probably the most important market in the world today with 1.4 billion people, 60 per cent of that under the age of 35 so that is just an emerging market waiting to happen,’ he said, ‘But not just an emerging market but it is also potentially the world’s next pool of talented labour,’ Grant said.

Le Hunte said when you go into the African market you get exposed because of the free trade agreements. He said by 2050 one in every four people in the world will be of African descent based on the population growth data. ‘Now like everything else, if something has potential you don’t wait until all the potential is found out or realised,’ he said. ‘So there is a lot of concern about transportation and connectivity and one hears that and those are what I consider challenges. And I agree air transport direct links would make it a lot easier, however, that is just one of the challenges but it is not insurmountable in light of the size of the market and the potential that you are going to realise,’ Le Hunte said.

Because there is no direct airbridge between Ghana and T&T travel between the two countries currently takes around 15 hours. Le Hunte said Ghana has tremendous potential in agriculture such as pineapples, mangoes, cocoa, and bananas. ‘And what we have is excellent potential in manufacturing and therefore what Ghana is looking for is a sort of partnership. Partnership where there is cultural ties and partnership where expertise can be brought together so to me this is a marriage made in heaven because they have a lot of raw materials and we have a lot of manufacturing potential,’ he said.

Asare lauded the discussions that the Ghanaian delegation was able to have in T&T. ‘We are always looking out for partnerships, especially for small businesses out there. You are advanced in industrialisation and there is where we want to be. Manufacturing is very important to us so we want to partner with industries here to grow ours in Ghana as well. It is all bout partnerships,’ she said.

Grant said both T&T and Ghana have been working on a bilateral investment treaty which should be finalised by the end of this year. ‘This would lay the ground rules on how we should operate and accordingly, we are also going to negotiate a double taxation avoidance treaty. Those are the things that need to be taken to give clarity and confidence on both sides,’ he said. ‘What is even more important is that we have been here so we are also expecting to see a trade delegation a cultural delegation coming over to Ghana,’ Asare said. The Trade Ministry announced the possibility of a cultural contingent participating in the ‘Taste of Ghana’ event in December, a major Ghanaian cultural event that features the products, music, art, fashion and culture of Ghana and the Diaspora.

MOU on trade and investment

The TTMA, together with exporTT, also committed to work towards a trade and investment mission to Ghana early next year.

‘Both parties expressed a commitment to accelerating the ongoing negotiations for a Reciprocal Protection and Promotion of Investments Agreement (RIPPA), with the aim of reaching an agreement by the end of 2023. To help foster future relations and ensure that such discussions led to tangible results, Minister Gopee-Scoon underscored the need for and her support of a Memorandum of Understanding on Trade and Investment between both countries, the Trade Ministry stated in a release earlier this week. Le Hunte said this country’s Trade Minister leading a mission to Ghana would be an important step for both countries.

‘In life, you want to build momentum but before you have momentum in physics you have to have movement and therefore the movement is the little things that we do along the way to build the momentum so I think those are the short-term goals that we could start to look at,’ he said. Trinidad and Tobago and Ghana established formal diplomatic relations in 1967. In 2022, Trinidad and Tobago exported approximately $30 million in both energy and non-energy products to Ghana.