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Our World Thursday, September 20, 2012


Beacon of democracy This supplement to USA TODAY was produced by United World Ltd., Suite 179, 34 Buckingham Palace Road, London SW1W 0RH – Tel: +44 20 7409 3106 – –

Ghana is the region’s example of political stability and economic growth, focusing on attracting foreign investors and creating sustainability through diversification long the western coast of the African continent, the nation of Ghana has been exemplar y to other countries in the region, by boasting an effective and stable democracy, recent recordbreaking economic growth, and thriving industries such as energy, agriculture and mining.


As a result of such prosperity, Ghana has attracted foreign investors from all over the world including the United States – which plans on investing $1.2 billion – and China, helping the country achieve a 13.4% increase in GDP and expected sustained growth over the next five years. This influx of capital in Ghana pushes the once poor country into the realm of a middle-income economy, enjoying the resources to invest in a more modern infrastructure for industry and agriculture, finding renewable energy sources for sustainability, and providing better medicine and better quality of life for its citizens. “Ghana has succeeded due to the vision of the leadership of the country, who believe that we need to have a peaceful, stable society to create a stable foundation to support our sustainable development, to uplift the people from the quagmire of poverty and achieve a good lifestyle,” remarks Alhaji Muhammad Mumuni, Ghana’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, adding that since the promulgation of the Fourth Republican Constitution in 1992 the countr y has achieved transparency and good governance. This political stability has gone hand in hand with the country’s industry. After becoming the first Sub-Saharan African country to gain its independence in 1957, the groundwork was quickly and efficiently laid for the economic success the country is now achieving. “We had a visionary leader who put together a very robust infrastructure for the times, in terms of energy, ac-

John Dramani Mahama, who has served as a member of the Pan African Parliament, was sworn in as new President, following the death of John Atta Mills on July 24, 2012

cess to ports, and road infrastructure, and put us on this path very early on,” explains Joseph Samuel Annan, Deputy Minister for Trade and Industry in Ghana. He highlights this as a key factor for the country becoming the choice for many foreign direct investments (FDI). Further FDI was attracted to the country with the landmark discovery of the Jubilee Oil Field in 2007 in the Atlantic Ocean just 37 miles off Ghana’s west coast. Energy revenues accounted for 5-6% of the GDP growth in 2011, after large quantities of oil were extracted in 2010. Although the oil and gas industry has accounted for significant economic growth, the government is striving for a diversified economy, emphasizing renewable energy sources and using local materials to ensure longterm sustainability. Two of Ghana’s main energy com-

panies, Volta River Authority and GRIDCo, are leading the way in solar and wind power in line with the gov-

ernment’s initiative calling for 10% of the energy supply to be derived from renewable sources by 2020.

The mining sector also remains one of the most important industries in the country with Ghana being

The Independence Arch, located in Accra, commemorates the indepedence Ghana attained in 1957 from the United Kingdom

A UNITED WORLD SUPPLEMENT PRODUCED BY: Gimena Solari, Niall O’Maonaigh, Chantal Hesp, Michelle Sanchez and Gemma Gutierrez

the second-largest producer of gold oil in Africa and the seventh largest in the world. Whereas mining activities account for 42% of Ghana’s foreign exports they also bring in 28% of its internal revenue. Furthermore, agriculture is seen as a main driving economic force, employing 55% of the workforce. In 2011 Ghana produced over 1 million tons of cocoa for the first time ever, increasing its output by 50% over the previous year. “The cocoa industry is the lifeblood of the country. I keep telling people that oil will run out one day but cocoa trees can survive for 50 years or more,” says Sherry Ayittey, Minister of Environment, Science and Technology, noting the importance of maintaining a stable environment for agriculture, one of the key initiatives for her department. In addition to ensuring sustainable agriculture, the government is also implementing an initiative to use local building materials toward infrastructure and housing construction, which could save the country $200 million and provide employment for much of the local workforce. “I think that the opportunities within real estate and housing are immense. There is a housing deficit of 1.5 million,” says Enoch T. Mensah, Minister of Water, Resources, Works and Housing. Aside from closing the housing gap, Mr. Mensah also explains that his ministry is committed to expanding the water treatment facilities in the country, to keep up with the needs of a growing population, with a goal of reaching 10 million gallons of water per day. Ensuring clean, potable water for the entire population is one component of the government’s investment in the health of the citizens as well as continuing to reduce the rate of HIV, malaria and tuberculosis. Ghana is also currently attracting both medical tourism to the country, and investors in its pharmaceutical industry. Ghana has seen vast improvements in almost every sector, greatly improving the lives of its citizens and positioning it at the forefront of international business and investments.

In memory of H.E. Prof. John Evans Atta Mills The late Ghanaian President, and former Vice President, H.E. Prof. John Atta Mills passed away in July during his first term as the head of the state, leaving behind a stronger, flourishing nation

President of Ghana H.E. Prof John Atta Mills, known for helping his country flourish economically thanks to the oil reserves found two years before he took office in 2009, passed away on the 24th of July. Elected to office with a margin of less than 1%, Mills defeated his opponent, Nana

Akufo-Addo, making him the third president of the 4th Republic of Ghana, instituted in 1992. Vice President John Dramani Mahama was sworn in as the new president of Ghana and will face reelection in December of this year, which Mills sought before his death. He is the only

head of state in the country to ever pass away during his term. Mills had an impressive academic and professional career studying at the London School of Economics and Political Science and later earning a PhD in law at the University of London. This led to a teaching placement in law at the University of Ghana, later serving as a visiting professor at Temple Law School in Philadelphia and Leiden University in Holland. During his academic ca-

reer he wrote in various publications about taxation. In 1997 Mills became Vice President of Ghana, alongside former President Jerry Rawlings, where he served until 2001 before deciding to make a bid for the presidency himself. Mills presided over Ghana during a time of unprecedented economic growth and political stability. Under his leadership, the country’s GDP grew by 13.4% in 2011 and is projected to continue growing

in the upcoming years. His administration was known for transparency and political stability. In July 2009, H.E. Prof. President Mills welcomed U.S. President Obama to Ghana on the first stop of an Africa tour. The Obama administration worked closely with the Mills’ administration, promising an investment of $1.2 billion geared towards further development of the economy and social infrastructure.

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MILLISON NARH, Second Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana

FELIX NYARKO-PONG, CEO of uniBank Ghana Ltd.

KWABENA DUFFUOR, Minister of Finance

The second fastest-growing economy in the world in 2011 Ghana experienced record-breaking growth, while attracting foreign direct investments, principally from the United States

Although much of the financial world is struggling to recover in the aftermath of an international economic recession, the Sub-Saharan African country of Ghana’s GDP grew by a record-breaking 13.4% last year, making it the one of the fastest growing economies in the world in 2011. With the monetary policies of the Bank of Ghana significantly contributing to this growth and stability the country has reached a single digit inflation rate of only 8.5% and has attracted a great deal of foreign direct investment (FDI). “The stability, democratic potential and policy frameworks that we have been able to implement have led to increasing confidence on a daily basis in Ghana as a destination for FDI,” says Deputy Minister of Trade, Dr. Joseph Samuel Annan, adding that Ghana has been a role model for other countries in the region being the first to gain independence as well as put a modern infrastructure in place. “The overall investment climate is such that FDI has increased exponentially. Last year it increased by approximately 500%.” Much of the FDI originally

came as a result of the Jubilee Oil Field discovery, especially from the United States, the top investor in the oil sector in Ghana, investing $407.2 million alone in the first quarter of this year. “We are building partnerships between the United States and Ghana,” says Alhaji Muhammad Mumuni, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, who recently visited Washington DC striking a deal of more than $1.2 billion dollars of future investments from the American government in Ghana. “That partnership should reflect an increase in the volume, quality and balance of trade and in FDI, to build a strong and resilient economy capable of producing sustainable jobs for the people of Ghana.” Although much of these investments have gone to the energy sector, Ghanaian officials continually seek diversification to ensure a sustainable economy. Although 5-6% of the economic growth of the nearly 14% was due to the oil and gas sector, the remainder can be attributed to other integral components of the economy, such as agriculture. “The Jubilee discovery has

of impact on the economy to register. We want to assist in building their capacity and formalize the way they do things,” explains Mr. Doni-Kwame, citing help with bookkeeping or benefits from the government among some of the incentives to get involved with the GCCI’s program.


With 66% of Ghanaian adults still unbanked, Ghana’s retail banking sector represents a huge untapped market

had a much wider impact on the economy at large, and that also attracts investments to other sectors,” explains the CEO of the Ghana Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), Emmanuel Doni-Kwame, noting that investors are attracted

Public Private Partnership Engagements for a Healthier and Better Ghana

to Ghana in part because the return on investment is quite high. “With this kind of stability, once you invest money, it is really safe to do business here.” On a local level, 92% of businesses in Ghana are small and medium-sized enterprises

(SMEs). The GCCI has just released a five-year plan to enable SMEs grow by using modern entrepreneurial principles and strategies. “We want to encourage as many SMEs who are making revenue and having some kind

Along with this initiative to help SMEs grow, the industry has been modernizing greatly with a 10% increase in mobile banking. Ghanian Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Kwabena Duffuor states: “Mobile banking is everywhere. Farmers use cell phones, so the penetration becomes easier. That is why you are seeing the banking industry experiencing a boom.”

UniBank is a driving force for Ghana’s SMEs Small and medium size enterprises, especially those in the energy sector, thrive with the support from this privately owned bank

At Ghana’s Ministry of Health (MOH), we know that you cannot achieve real national development without a healthy population. That’s why we are passionate about the wellbeing of the Ghanaian people - our greatest resource as a nation! In order to actualize this vision, we have over the years carefully crafted a harmonious working partnership with the private sector in areas such as hospital infrastructure, equipment and human resources development. We very warmly welcome private sector players to partner with us as we grow and improve Ghana’s health sector.

Ghana’s banking sector has been the driving force behind the recent financial stability and economic growth in the country. The privately owned uniBank in particular has made significant strides in lending to small and mediumsize enterprises (SMEs), which account for 92% of the locally owned businesses in Ghana. As well as working with companies on an international level, it is putting a significant portion of its revenues to improve the community. Although the banking sector in Ghana is relatively crowded with 28 banks, uniBank has a reputation as the top lender for SMEs, providing not only financial support but also advice. “We are able to provide credit without insisting on significant collateral, which is one of the key obstacles in this area,” says Felix Nyarko-Pong, CEO of uniBank Ghana Limited, who elaborates that while the policies for helping SMEs to flourish are already in place, people still need easier access to credit. “With a better understanding of these SME businesses, we have made it very profitable for both the businesses and ourselves and have

provided the capacity development required in this area.” UniBank also offers free consultancy aimed at the growth and development of SMEs. Last year, the bank won an award for exemplary advisory services. In particular, uniBank provides exemplary services for SMEs in the oil industry.


“We have established an energy desk to focus on the oil industry as a whole and the participation of SMEs within the oil industry,” explains Mr. Nyarko-Pong, noting that although Ghana is now a middle-income economy, further development will be driven by the SMEs,

creating further opportunities within the nation. UniBank is also striving to modernize the banking sector by implementing its own mobile banking program, Unimobile. Mr. Nyarko-Pong points out that considering almost every adult has a cell phone the product allows Ghanaians to use banking services without having to be physically present. After launching a campaign to create awareness for the Uni-mobile product, more than 500 people signed only two days. UniBank’s modern products and easy access to loans contribute to the Ghanaian economy, but the company is also committed to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). “For us in uniBank, CSR is not a project, but rather a caring and supportive community partnering activity,” says Mr. Nyarko-Pong, highlighting health and education as the principal issues tackled by uniBank. One of its biggest health initiatives organizes medical missions where uniBank pays for doctors and medicines and provided for areas of the country where the citizens do not have access to proper medical care.

uniBank opened its doors to customers in January, 2001

Building healthy partnerships for a better Ghana Contact: +233 302 684 222,, Our World Insert is produced by United World. USA TODAY did not participate in its preparation and is not responsible for its content





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Thursday, September 20, 2012


Ministry of Health strives to improve medical care for all Foreign investment and rise in GDP has allowed Ghana to invest in quality and affordable medical services as well as proactive preventative initiatives

As the African nation of Ghana grows in GDP, with an increase of 13.4% last year, it is taking its place as a middle income country which allows the government to continually improve the health of the citizens and promote policies that boost the quality of life. “Health is the number one priority of every individual in every society,” says Alban S.K. Bagbin, Minister of Health in the Republic of Ghana, adding that the $1.2 billion that the United States has just invested in the country will be crucial for vast improvements to the health sector. “The first critical area is saving lives that are threatened by HIV/ AIDS. Secondly, we should look at human resource development, which is education.” However, Mr. Bagbin notes that the HIV rate is amongst the lowest in the region at 1.8%, down from its peak of 4%. It still remains one of the government’s key health initiatives, along with sexually transmitted diseases, malaria – which accounts for 33% of the deaths in Ghana – tuberculosis, reproductive and child health, immunizations and emergency care. The Ministry of Health has announced its commitment to promoting proactive policies, provisions of universal access to basic health service and the provision of quality and affordable health care. It has also already made significant strides in emergency care, investing €10 million ($12.5 million) in 161 Mercedes Benz ambulances with plans to purchase 200 more next year.

“The target is to get just over 1,000 in the system. We want each district to have no less than three ambulances operating and each municipality to have no less than four,” says Mr. Bagbin, elaborating the dire need for emer-


gency service vehicles with the high rate of automobile accidents in the country. “We are also further equipping hospitals with equipment from the United States worth $267 million to seam-

lessly work with the ambulance service.” Because of this high level of care being established in Ghana, the country is experiencing an influx of medical tourism. The Minister says the country will focus on attracting more foreigners, medically supporting those from African countries in their region and even from abroad. Although the modernization and growth of the medical industry in Ghana is allowing the country to provide better services to its citizens, currently only 30-35% of the prescription drugs in Ghana are produced locally, leaving a huge deficit for potential foreign investors. “We definitely import a lot more of our drug requirements, despite the fact that we have a number of pharmaceutical companies,” says Mr. Bagbin referring to the nearly 24 local enterprises producing prescription drugs. “They are definitely looking for partners to try and expand and improve the quality, efficacy, and usefulness of their products.” Whereas foreign investment will be an essential component to the growth of the Ghanaian medical industry, so will the return of many native health workers to their country from abroad. “I can assure you that currently in Ghana health worker migration, ‘brain drain’ is going out of fashion. We are enjoying a lot of ‘brain gain’ now because we are getting the right things done,” remarks Mr. Bagbin. In fact, many professionals, even those practicing medi-

Ghana’s Ministry of Health is investing in drastically lowering maternal and child mortality by 2015

cine in the U.S. are returning to their homeland to set up private health practices. For example, a renowned Ghanaian specialist in orthopedics, who previously practiced in the United States, was commissioned to set up a new hospital in the nation’s capital. With more highly educated professionals in the country, the Ministry of Health can use these national resources to improve health education initiatives to disseminate critical information to the population ranging from hygiene and sanitation to maternity. “Health is the number one priority,” affirms Mr. Bagbin. “I believe the time to invest in the sector is now and many of our people are getting to know and appreciate what is happening in Ghana.”

Women’s medicine and mortality rates One of the key initiatives with the continuing improvement of medical care in Ghana under the Ministry of Health is reproductive and child health. In Sub-Saharan Africa the maternal mortality rate has decreased by 26% since 1990 throughout the region, although women have a one in 31 chance of dying during pregnancy or childbirth, and this totals 570 deaths a day. Ghana’s Minister of Health Alban S.K. Bagbin explains that this is an area that the country is investing in to significantly lower this number by 2015, ideally as low as 185 deaths for every 100,000 births. “We need to make sure we eliminate these totally needless deaths,” says Mr. Bagbin, pointing to education as a key preventative measure. “We can just do a few critical interventions in the health sector to make sure that we radically reduce the rates that we currently have.” The Minister highlights using modern technology, such as online learning disseminated throughout the country, to help the local community better understand their own sexual health. Earlier this year, government officials, advocates and researchers from the African countries in the Sub-Saharan region met in Uganda to discuss reproductive health and family planning.

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The Volta River Authority operates the Akosombo Dam, which was built with the help of U.S. investors

VRA leads in multimodal electrification The Volta River Authority provides Ghana’s industrial, commercial and domestic power while looking to harness solar power

With increasing modernization throughout the West African nation of Ghana, the Volta River Authority (VRA) – one of the nation’s most significant electricity enterprises – is quickly developing projects to meet these growing demands for industrial, commercial and domestic power, while continually focusing on becoming a leader in clean energy development. With 67% of Ghanaians now having access to electricity, up from 15% in 1990, the VRA – in close collaboration with the other major companies in its field, the Electricity Company of Ghana and Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCo) – will join the government in focusing on raising that number, as well as putting in place the necessary infrastructure needed to produce increased electricity for the nation and in the future, neighboring countries. This will also contribute greatly to the nation’s overall wealth, and has accounted for 5-6% of the rise in GDP of the 13.4% total.

Ghana currently produces 2,000 megawatts of electricity, with the goal of reaching 5,000 megawatts within the next three years. The VRA will play a significant role in achieving this number. “Today the VRA has plans in motion to put in about 500 megawatts in the next three years. We also have feasibility studies and plans under way to develop another 900 megawatts in five to seven years,” outlines Kweku Andoh Awotwi, CEO of the VRA since 2009 and previously the President of Ghana Chamber of Mines as well as the former Managing Director of the Ashanti Goldfields. Mr. Awotwi highlights the projects that will allow the VRA to achieve its goal of 900 megawatts: first by using Ghana gas from the Jubilee Oil Fields and second, by taking part as a major player in a West African Power Pool (WAPP)-sponsored project, which will not only bring power to Ghana but also to other WAPP member countries. Aside from the VRA’s commitment to enhancing the electricity supply within Ghana, it has also relentlessly advocated the need for renewable en-


ergy. The VRA primarily uses hydro and electric power, but Mr. Awotwi sees tremendous potential for further development of solar energy as a renewable source, drawing attention to ongoing projects to add both wind and solar energy. “If you look at solar radiation maps, West Africa receives twice as much sunlight and radiation as Europe on an annual basis,” explains Mr. Awotwi, mentioning that although solar has always been an expensive source of energy, the recent proliferation within the market has caused a drop of almost 50% in the cost. “The VRA has acquired

four land sites to build a minimum 10 MW of power. The potential is clear and is real.” These measures are in line with the Ghanaian government’s recent legislation, the Renewable Energy Act, which calls for 10% of the country’s

energy supply to be from green sources by 2020. Much of the investments for these renewable sources will come from foreign investments such as the United States and China. Moreover, last year, the U.S. overtook China as the biggest investor in renewable energy in the West African nation with plans to invest $1.2 billion in the energy sector. According to Mr. Awotwi, who himself has spent a considerable amount of time in the States during his university studies at both Stanford and Yale University, American companies have been involved with the energy sector in Ghana since the Akosombo Dam and later went on to help build the first thermal plant using General Electric machines. “The United States wants to collaborate and partner with

Ghana in order to really unleash that potential,” says Mr. Awotwi. “Number one, the United States understands the issues; secondly, the companies that have worked with us in Ghana come from the United States; and thirdly, that collaboration wants to continue.” Having this foreign direct investment is important for the continued infrastructure development in the country, but the VRA also sees the tremendous importance of corporate social responsibility within its home country. The company has developed schools, hospitals and social intervention activities. Mr. Awotwi himself is also the Chairman of the nonprofit PlaySoccer organization, using sports to encourage the development of underprivileged children.

Ghana has chosen the path of low carbon growth and a green economy

Environmental sustainability is key initiative Heavily reliant on agriculture, the country’s Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology ventures to address climate-related issues and develop innovative solutions

In the West African country of Ghana, 55% of its economy is dependent on agriculture, with the cocoa industry considered to be a key driving force. With the recent worldwide droughts – from which Ghana has not been immune – the Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology has shown vision and commitment to ensure solutions to climate-related issues, not only in agriculture, but also in housing, water and infrastructure. Additionally, the Ministry is advocating for the use of local building materials as well as corporate responsibility within local communities. “The government is now

renewable energy initiative to have 10% of its energy consumption provided by green sources by 2020, her department is dedicated to R&D to support sustainability in the agricultural sector, trying to develop measures such as droughtresistant crops and innovative irrigation measures to ensure sustainability and food stability for Ghanaians. This economic stability is further enhanced by the ministry’s initiative to use more local building materials for government infrastructure projects and housing. With a current housing deficit of 1.5 to 2.5 million units, the subsequent building will not


bringing all of the policymakers together to see how best we can come up with policies oriented to support our national climate change policies, and develop a green economy with a low carbon footprint,” explains Sherry Ayittey, Ghana’s Minister of Environment, Science and Technology. She adds that along with the government’s

only provide employment for the local workforce but also save the country $200 million annually in importing materials. According to Ms. Ayittey, Ghana has three clay depositories that can last for 3,000 years and are an integral part of brick production. The country is also rich in minerals and relies heavily on mining. Ms. Ayittey indicates that the government monitors mining companies to ensure they are positively contributing to their communities. “We want people to know that when a mining company enters a community, the community must benefit directly.”

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GRIDCo thrives in present, ensures successful future

Thursday, September 20, 2012



The African energy company is integral in equipping Ghana with quality electricity while preparing the infrastructure for an ever-modernizing country

The Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCo), a public sector energy enterprise incorporated in 2006, especially prides itself on two things: being the “backbone” to power delivery in Ghana and becoming the “company of the future” within the sector. With unprecedented economic growth in the GDP of 13.4% last year, making Ghana the second fastest growing economy in the world, GRIDCo, along with other dominant companies in the energy sector, is considered a substantial factor in the economic growth of the nation. “Any energy sector in the world is always the pinnacle and the backbone of the economy. Ghana’s energy sector plays the same role,” says GRIDCo’s CEO Charles Darku, who worked at Volta River Authority (VRA) for more than 27 years after studying at Harvard University. “We have a power sector that is undoubtedly one of the best in Africa. The role of the power sector is to ensure that there is enough electricity – both in quality and quantity – to drive business.” Currently in Ghana about 68% of people have access to reliable electricity, with the aim to have full coverage by 2020. According to Mr. Darku, people are using

ing over $407 million so far this year. Mr. Darku also points out that the Ghanaian energy sector was modeled after the American system, specifically the Tennessee Valley Authority hydro system. Because of the similarities with the technologies

used in the systems, American engineers would be able to easily assimilate to a work environment in Ghana. With an ever-growing number of foreign investors and a modernizing culture, Ghana relies on its energy sector.

“Society has become even more dependent on electricity, to the point where we simply cannot fail to emphasize its importance,” says Mr. Darku. “The economy is held together by the quality of the energy sector.”

$103 million European deal A recent loan agreement between the African energy company Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCo) and the large European bank Societe Generale, based in Paris, France, for €82.2 million ($103 million) will significantly help finance the development of the energy sector in Ghana. While about €40 million will be used to modernize the old substations built in the 1960’s that are currently showing signs of deterioration, the other half of the financing will go toward completing a line in northern Ghana. “The northern lines were first built to serve the needs we had 20 years ago, but there has been so much growth that this is no longer feasible,” explains GRIDCO’s CEO Charles Darku, referring to the Tumu-Han-Wa transmission project. “This new line will ensure that the quality of supply in the north is just as good as in the south.” Societe Generale indicated the bank’s enthusiasm for helping the Ghanaian government achieve their goal of reaching 5,000 megawatts.


Allies in the energy sector

higher levels of electricity to conduct more activities than five to 10 years ago. He adds, “This is a good sign that the economy is moving forward and the power available to drive Ghana in the right direction is doing exactly what it is supposed to do.” Although GRIDCo has done significant work toward providing the country with quality electricity, the company emphasizes its efforts being put into preparing for the energy industry a decade from now. Much of their work is going into both strengthening and expanding the power grid in Ghana. In a recent €82.2 million ($103 million) loan deal with the European bank Societe Generale, GRIDCo will allocate the money to both modernizing substations and expanding the northern lines of the energy grid. “The energy sector has to be ahead of the game in the sense that it should be ahead of demand. There is a growing interest in Ghana, which can be seen in the increasing levels of investment and development,” explains Mr. Darku. “With oil and gas coming on stream there is going to be additional investment, so we have to be ahead in terms of infrastructure and the supply.” The U.S. is the top investor in the energy sector, invest-

Ghana and the United States have always had an exceptionally strong relationship especially within the energy sector. American investments now surpass the Chinese with $407.2 million in the first quarter of 2012 and an expected $1.2 billion to be invested directly into energy development. “I think the relationship is mutually beneficial, which has grown by mutual interests, and I think it will develop further in that direction,” says Ghana Grid Corporation’s (GRIDCo) CEO Charles Darku, who explains that it is not only the investments but also the cultural ties that facilitate the two countries working together. “Many Ghanaians have family in America and have been educated or trained there. We have returned and brought American approaches and work ethic to our businesses.” Mr. Darku, who studied public administration at Harvard University, explains that with a small time difference, common approach to trade, and many similarities with the technologies and infrastructure used, Americans and Ghanaians can work easily together within their respective energy sectors.

GRIDCo develops renewable energies GRIDCo is focusing on further development of solar and wind power, aligning itself with the government’s initiative

With a vision toward the future of Ghana’s energy sector, Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCo) is especially focused on alternative energy sources as an integral part of its future development. “We are taking renewable energy very seriously,” explains the CEO of GRIDCo, Charles Darku, citing solar

energy as having high potential but not discarding wind as a viable alternative. “We think that renewables offer us an opportunity to get power into the hands of ordinary people in a whole new way, and make power more readily available.” The company’s vision parallels the Ghanaian gov-

ernment’s recent legislation called the Renewable Energies Act, which aims to have 10% of energy consumption provided by alternative energy sources by 2020. Ghana’s Minister for Environment, Science and Technology, Sherry Ayittey, notes that the bill guaran-

tees private investment and opens up opportunities for public-private partnerships. She highlights that this will guarantee various opportunities for harnessing possibilities in the country. “We know that we can get a lot of wind energy, converting waste into energy and also solar energy. In-

vestment in solar energy, compared to investment in fossil fuels and hydro, is more environmentally friendly,” Ms. Ayittey says. Apart from government legislation GRIDCo, a public sector company, is taking the initiative to explore renewable energies and see how to integrate them into

the national grids through organizing a workshop. “The discussion was led by a world renowned expert from General Electric,” explains Mr. Darku. “Integrating renewables into power grids has its own challenges, and that is what we are sensitizing to through this two-day workshop.”

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One of the top 10 places to visit in 2012

Labadi Beach Hotel, a gateway and getaway


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Ghana has already grabbed the attention of European, American, and African travellers thanks to its bountiful beauty

Despite recent setbacks in the global economy, businessmen and tourists alike are flying to the Ghanaian coast and landing at the Labadi Beach Hotel, voted the best hotel in all of West Africa two years running

In a country with endless sunshine, 335 miles of sandy coastline and rich cultural and historical sites, Ghana’s potential for a booming tourism industry is huge, especially during this moment of sustained political stability and economic boom. “In Ghana, we are blessed with a diversity of tourism products. If you talk about arts and culture, we have our very own festivals, music, dances, food and textiles,” says Ghanaian Minister of Tourism, Akua Dansua, praising the variety of types of tourism in the country including eco, educative and domestic. “The stability, the environment, the weather and the hospitable people are all significant selling points.” This appeal is not going unnoticed worldwide: Ghana was named among the top 10 places to visit in 2012 by Frommers, citing its history, beaches and culture as unique points of interest. A cultural site of particular note is the Nzulezu village, a candidate for nomination on the UNESCO’s World Heritage list, which is an entire settlement built on stilted houses over Lake Tadane in the western region of Ghana. Also of great historical importance is the city of Cape Coast, the departure point for the highest num-


ber of African slaves sent to the New World and one of the stops on President Barack Obama’s Africa tour in 2009. The country also enjoys numerous natural resources such as Mole Park , the largest national park in Ghana where visitors see herds of elephants grazing near a waterhole, antelopes running through the fields,

or monkeys swinging between the trees. Aside from other smaller national parks throughout the countr y, tourists can visit waterfalls, lakes and traditional villages. With so much natural richness, one of the Ministry of Tourism’s main objectives is to develop a rich tourism sector while protecting its environment. “The link between tourism and environment is crucial,” explains Ms. Dansua, highlighting the Collaborative Actions for Sustainable Tourism (COAST) project, which currently protects the Ada Sea region, which home to some rare species of turtles and mangrove farms. “Ecotourism is a strategy of promoting tourism while managing the environment.” The COAST project also strives to train locals as tour guides, providing them with job opportunities and helping the native population see the potential their living environment has for attracting tourists. Ms. Dansua additionally points to domestic tourism as a means for national unity and cohesion, highlighting the importance for Ghanaians to move beyond their immediate environment to understand the rest of the country. “At the end of the day as Ghanaians we need to understand our country bet-

ter before we can even invite somebody else to enjoy it with us,” she says, pointing to the Nzulezu village and Ankasa forest reserve as potential tourist destinations. Ghana has experienced a rise in domestic tourism in recent years and expects an increase of international visitors in the coming ones. Recognizing the vast possibility for attracting more tourists, the Ministr y of Tourism is working to further develop an environment conducive to handle a future influx, such as negotiating with airlines for more affordable flights to the country and facilitating the tourist visa process using online technolog y. Working with local businesses, the government is also prioritizing budget accommodation in close proximity to the main tourist sites, anticipating further growth. “Tourism plays a key role in most world economies,” says Adrian Landry, General Manager of Ghana’s Labadi Beach Hotel. “Every dollar spent by tourists in the country is not only going to the hotel directly, but it reaches the government and personnel who are being employed. We b elie ve that tour ism in Ghana will grow as infrastructure improves and become a major component of our GDP.”

The Labadi Beach Hotel is located very near the capital of Accra. As the center of a country with the second fastest growing economy of 2011 in terms of GDP, Accra is a burgeoning market ideal for investors and anyone else looking to do business in Ghana. It also offers ample opportunity to experience the region’s rich culture and diversity by visiting the National Museum, seeing a performance at the National Theater, spending the afternoon at the Makola Market, or going fishing at the port in Jamestown. Whatever their plans in Accra may be, General Manager Adrian Landry invites travelers to make themselves at home at the Labadi Beach Hotel, where he and his staff have managed to combine the quality and luxury of a world-class resort with their own Ghanaian history and culture in mind. More than feeling welcomed and at home in the hotel, Mr. Landry wants every guest to leave with a “positive feeling about Ghana”. He believes the hotel’s success has resulted from each employee “feeling proud of [his] heritage, traditions, and history”, and seeing himself as “an ambassador for Ghana”. This attitude is reflected in everything, from the decor to the exceptional service the staff provides. The Labadi Beach Hotel is designed to reflect the rich traditional culture and customs of Ghana. Mr. Landry says, “Each suite is named after one of the original landowners or chiefs from the area.” The traditional adinkra symbols from the Ghanaian Adinkrahene, which are also incorporated into the hotel design, take the authentic feel to a new level. In addition to impressive aesthetic designs, the hotel’s location has allowed for the creation of “a haven and oasis of peace away from the city.” The property contains numerous beautiful gardens, palm trees and natural growth, and is home to a variety of natural wildlife. The Labadi beach is private and con-

sidered the cleanest in the area. It is serviced by a wait staff, and free of hagglers for guests’ convenience. The hotel itself offers, among many other amenities, a fitness center, spa, and meeting facilities, which are soon to undergo renovation. The fitness center will be totally refurbished, the spa will gain international status, and the conference room will seat 400 attendees. The hotel’s policy of sustainability will be improved upon with the renovations. All of the furniture will continue to be imported and made of wood from renewable forests. According to Mr. Landry, at Labadi Beach Hotel they “strive to have the lowest possible impact


on the property and the environment.” This means they also make use of chemicals that are ISO accredited, recycle grey water, and work to conserve energy with heat pumps and LED lights that all help reduce their carbon footprint. In short, for those looking to Africa for a business venture or new experience, the Labadi Beach Hotel offers both a gateway and a getaway.

The hotel is set amidst tropical landscaped gardens and overlooks Labadi Beach

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Ghana: USA Today Feature  

8 page supplement of Ghana in USA Today

Ghana: USA Today Feature  

8 page supplement of Ghana in USA Today