Mr. Michael Oquaye Jnr (2nd left), CEO of GFZA with Mr. Kojo Oppong Nkrumah (left), Minister of Information and other dignitaries at the event.
Companies operating in the country’s free zone enclave exported goods valued at US $ 1.096 billion in the first half of this year.
Capital investments made by enterprises in the free zone amounted to US $ 173.84 million and a total of 30,189 jobs were created, mainly in the manufacturing sector.
The Director General (CEO) of the Ghana Free Zones Authority (GFZA), Mr. Michael Oquaye Jnr, who made it known at the sixth annual meeting of the Organization of African Economic Zones (AEZO) in Accra on November 25, observed that the development was an indication of the contribution of the enterprises of the free zone to the economy of the country.
âIt is refreshing to report that the Ghana Free Zones Authority remains the anchor of industrial parks and special economic zones (SEZs) of the Government of Ghana and continues to achieve positive results.
“For the first half of the year 2021, enterprises in free zones generated total export revenues of $ 1.096 billion,” he said.
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The meeting, which was themed “Connecting African Special Economic Zones to Global Value Chains in the Age of the African Free Trade Area“, brought together AEZO members from over 40 African countries.
The event of the day saw the participation of the Honorary President of AEZO, Mr. Fouad Brini, Secretary General of the AfCFTA Secretariat, Mr. Wamkele Mene, Minister of Information, Mr. Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, Minister of Investment Promotion, Gabon, Ms. Carmen Ndaot, and Secretary-General of AEZO, Mr. Ahmed Bennis.
The CEO observed that job creation will continue to be a critical success factor for the authority and its partners, and was therefore happy to report that more than thirty thousand jobs have been created to date.
Regarding the development of a policy framework governing Ghana’s special economic zones, he said the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MoTI) continues to work with key partners and stakeholders to ensure its completion. ‘by the end of 2022.
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GFZA, MoTI partnership
Mr. Oquaye Jnr said that GFZA and MoTI were developing the Grand Kumasi Industrial City and Special Economic Zone project in Ashanti region, which was linked to Boakra Inner Port.
He said the authority was taking strong action to develop around 4,000 acres of land in Shama and Sekondi in the western region.
âIn addition, an environmental and social impact assessment has been launched on these lands as part of Ghana’s economic transformation. In addition, MoTI is developing a policy framework and regulatory institutional mechanisms for SEZs.
âWe hope that when the policy is developed by 2022, it will help guide our path to a successful SEZ in Ghana,â he said.
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The Minister of Information, Mr. Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, said that the Special Economic Zones were the catalyst for the realization of Africa’s industrialization agenda as envisioned in the implementation of AfCFTA.
He said it was therefore essential for AfCFTA member states to advocate for appropriate policy frameworks to promote the development of SEZs in these countries.
He said the link between SEZs, AfCFTA and global value chains is important to harness the benefits of AfCFTA.
âThis meeting is therefore held at an opportune time to deliberate on critical thematic areas of SEZs and AfCFTA, in particular how SEZs can leverage the operationalization of AfCFTA to boost Africa’s industrialization agenda. .
âThere is no doubt that SEZs play a major role in the economies of African states. Most African countries use SEZs or export processing zones (EPZs) as tools for economic development.
âOver the past 25 years, Ghana has reaped the benefits of implementing an EPZ program by attracting significant foreign direct investment, creating jobs, adding value to our natural resources and our exports, âhe said.