Your Excellency Kwesi Amissah-Arthur, Vice President of the Republic of Ghana,
Your Honorable Dr. Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, Minister for Trade and Industry,
My Compatriots and Friends,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It gives me great pleasure to be part of the Ghana-China Investment Forum co-hosted by the Ministry of Trade and Industry and Chinese Embassy in Ghana. This Forum marks another important meeting in the area of economy and trade after the China-Ghana Economic and Trade Cooperation Forum which was held last June. Let me begin by extending my warm congratulations to the opening of this Forum. I also wish to express our warm welcome to the arrival of all the distinguished guests, especially H.E. Vice President, and hearty appreciation to the Ministry of Trade and Industry for the tremendous preparations it has made for this Forum.
Ghana is a traditional friend and an important development partner of China. The comprehensive, multiform, far-ranging and high-level economic and trade cooperation has become a striking characteristic of our friendly relations. China is the largest trading nation of Ghana. In 2015, China-Ghana trade volume registered 6.6 billion US dollars, up 18.2 percent on year-on-year basis and ranked 6th in that of Africa. China’s non-financial direct investment inflows into Ghana hit 174 million US dollars, raising the investment stock of China in Ghana to 1.3 billion US dollars, thus ranking 4th in that of Africa. The value of China’s newly-signed contracts in Ghana reached around 1.3 billion US dollars and ranked 14th in that of Africa.
Since the beginning of this year, our economic and trade cooperation has maintained the sound momentum of development. In the first four months, China-Ghana trade volume reached 1.8 billion US dollars, remaining the 6th place in that of Africa. Therein, Ghana’s export volume was around 400 million US dollars, up 10.62 percent. China’s non-financial direct investment inflows into Ghana hit 44.43 million US dollars, ranking 5th in that of Africa and NO.1 in that of West and Central Africa.
The figures I listed may make you feel bored. But behind these figures is the spectacular scroll of China-Ghana cooperation. I believe that through these figures, many Ghanaian friends, just as I do, could see the magnificent Atuabo Gas Processing Plant situated by the sea, the splashing water at the Bui Dam flanked by mountains, hear the scream of football fans in the Cape Coast Sports Stadium, the roar of planes of the Africa World Airlines, and feel the joy of getting access to the water processed by Kpong Water Supply Expansion Project and the electricity generated from the Sunon Asogli Power Plant.
When you take an overall view of the global economic landscape, you can better understand the weight of these figures. Currently, the recovery of the world economy is sluggish; global trade and investment are lackluster; commodities and financial markets have experienced volatility from time to time; growth prospects of developed and emerging economies are diverging; and geopolitical risks and destabilizing factors are both on the rise. The World Bank and IMF has, for several times, cut the 2016 global growth forecast to the tune of 2.4 percent and 3.1 percent respectively. The growth of global trade has fallen below 3 percent for 5 consecutive years, the worst performance in the past 3 decades. This year, the global FDI flows is likely to withdraw by 10 to 20 percent. Moreover, the rising trade protectionism, isolationism, populism and waves of anti-liberalization and anti-globalization is setting extra obstacles for the recovery of world economy. Being affected by various factors, China-Africa trade volume shrank in these two years.
Against the backdrop of the gloomy world economy, the developing countries, while suffering economic slowdown, are also grappling with problems such as tightening fiscal situation, surging albatross of debts and currency devaluation. China’s economy has stepped into a new normal, facing a myriad of thorny problems. However, the Chinese government puts development as its top priority, outlines the guidelines of five development concepts of innovation, coordination, green growth, opening up and sharing, deepens structural reforms especially the supply-side reform, and concentrate its efforts on cultivating new drivers of growth while upgrading traditional ones to expand effective supply and pursue a more balanced, inclusive and sustainable development. As a result, we have maintained steady economic development, ranking among top of the world’s major economies in terms of growth speed, and made positive progress in structural adjustment. Statistics show that in the first half of 2016, China’s GDP grew by 6.7 percent. The service sector accounted for 54.1 percent of GDP. Consumption contributed to 73.4 percent of the economic growth. Development of the new economy is on a good track. On the whole, despite challenges, China’s economy is better structured; its quality is improving and a stronger momentum is being gathered. China is still a major powerhouse for global development.
Just as an Akan proverb says, “Many strings can catch a leopard”. As long as the global community makes joint efforts to tackle challenges, strengthen confidence, foster a stable international environment and find solutions to address root causes of the problems we face, we can tame the economic crisis and reactivate economic recovery. As a major responsible country, China is obliged to play its role. China now is fully preparing for the G20 Hangzhou Summit slated for this September. We choose“Toward an Innovative, Invigorated, Interconnected and Inclusive World Economy”as the theme of the Hangzhou Summit, listing “breaking a new path for growth”, “more effective and efficient global economic and financial governance”, “robust international trade and investment” and “inclusive and interconnected development” as the key priorities, and is working with all sides to deliver ten major outcomes including “work out a blue print for innovative-driven growth”, “adopt a global trade strategy”, “lay out the guiding principles for global investment policies” and “initiate cooperation to support industrialization of Africa and least developed countries in the world”to build a fair, just and open global economic system. All these fully demonstrate the sense of responsibility of a major power.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
At present, all the developing countries are facing a more pressing mission of developing economy and improving people’s lives. We ought to deepen cooperation, look to one another for comfort, come to each other’s aid in times of difficulty, to realize common development and contribute to balanced growth of the world. Both China and Ghana should take the opportunity of implementing the follow-up actions of the Johannesburg Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) and the consensus reached by our two leaders at the Summit, and further promote the transformation and upgrading of China-Ghana cooperation and enhance its quality and efficiency.
First, we should strengthen exchanges of ideas. After years of exploration and practice, China has found a development path that conforms to its national conditions. While creating world-renowned development miracle, China has also formed and accumulated abundant advanced ideas on development. China is ready to enhance exchanges of experiences on governance with Ghana to learn from each other, jointly build up our capacity, and pave the way for the alignment of our policies and development strategies.
Second, we should enhance institution-building. We should make full use of the existing mechanisms for dialogue and cooperation between our two countries. Moreover, we need to strengthen policy coordination and technological standardization cooperation, simplify trade procedures, improve management and service, enhance the transparency of policies, and further promote the trade and investment facilitation. We hope that Ghana will roll out more preferential policies, create a more congenial environment for business activities to attract more investors, including those from China. The Sherpa Meeting on Implementing Outcomes of the Forum of China Africa Cooperation Johannesburg Summit is to be held in Beijng at the end of this month. Hon. Minister of Finance of Ghana will attend the meeting. He will also meet with Chinese government officials and leading members of Chinese financial institutions. We hope that his trip to China will yield fruitful results so as to set up more platforms for our cooperation.
Third, we should promote the transformation and upgrading of our cooperation. Ghana is striving for industrialization and agricultural modernization to transform the economy and add value to its products. The international production capacity and equipment manufacturing cooperation promoted by the Chinese side has provided an unprecedented opportunity for Africa’s industrialization and agricultural modernization. Our cooperation on production capacity in the area of automobile manufacturing, environmental sanitation and shipbuilding has yielded early harvest. China is willing to, under the framework of FOCAC, focus more on the requirements of Ghana, explore multiple ways of cooperation, make full use of the tool of investment, vigorously participate in Ghana’s industrialization, agricultural modernization and overall regional development, implement more projects in Ghana and enhance Ghana’s capacity for sustainable self-development.
Fourth, we should properly handle the problems in our cooperation. As our cooperation goes wider and deeper, some problems will arise inevitably. Just as a proverb goes, “The teeth sometimes bite the tongue”. In dealing with these problems emerging in the course of progress, we should abide by the spirit of mutual respect and win-win cooperation, and solve them through friendly negotiation. Just as Chinese President H.E. Mr. Xi Jinping said during his visit to Tanzania in 2013, “There will always be more opportunities than challenges and more solutions than difficulties.” As long as our two countries make concerted efforts, we can resolve any problem we meet and do anything we want.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
This Forum has set up a new platform for exploring investment cooperation for both sides. I hope that all of you can take full advantage of the platform, strengthen communication and seek common development. Once again I’d like to express my gratitude to H.E. Vice President Amissah-Arthur, Hon. Minister Spio-Garbrah and the Ministry of Trade and Industry for your efforts for the successful opening of this Forum.
To conclude, I wish this Forum a great success!