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Welcome Remarks of Danish Ambassador Tove Degnbol at IMANI- BUSAC event on Local Content

• Hon. Samuel Atta Akyea MP, Minister for Works & Housing
• Hon. Dr. Mohammed Amin Anta, Deputy Minister of Energy
• Mr. Sulemanu Konney, Chief Executive Officer, Ghana Chamber of Mines
• Mrs. Pauline Anaman, Head, Policy Unit, Africa Centre for Energy Policy
• Prof. Godfred Bokpin, Economist, University of Ghana
• Franklin Codjoe, Imani
• Nicolas Gebara and Madame Villars, BUSAC
• Representatives of business organisations
• International Development partners
• Representatives of the media
• Ladies and Gentlement

– We in the Embassy of Denmark together with our partners, USAID and the European Union, appreciate the value of dialogue and informed exchanges; this is a key reason why we are jointly supporting, BUSAC, the Business Advocacy Challenge Fund, to inspire discussion and consensus building on issues that are of importance to both the Private and the Public Sectors.

– We are very happy that the BUSAC Fund has commissioned IMANI to undertake and launch a detailed report that seeks to learn from the successes and challenges of other countries in the implementation of their local content policies. The need to learn from the mistakes of others, while improving upon their successes, has often proven to be the best approach to find good solutions.

– I think we all acknowledge that local content policies are pertinent in ensuring alignment between the structure of a country’s economy, its productive sectors and the country’s need for wealth creation and employment generation. Others have done it successfully; Ghana can, and should, do the same.

– We believe in the improvement of the local content of Ghana, and the President’s vision of “Ghana beyond Aid” makes this even more important. Denmark is phasing out of our development cooperation with Ghana at the end of 2020, while we will be continuing with trade and investments activities. We see improved local content as an important condition for improving the ability of Ghana to engage in trade and investments with its international partners. We appreciate the need to improve skills of the Ghanaian workforce, and over the past 6 years, our Skills

Development Fund has been improving the skill sets of Ghanaian businesses to enhance their productivity and profitability. We will continue to support the Skills Development Fund until 2020 and we are looking for other partners, including the Government of Ghana, who can continue the efforts after our funding stops.

– We also believe in the importance of creating as many Ghanaian jobs as possible. The largest Danish company in Ghana, Maersk, has about 2,000 employees, of whom 98% are Ghanaian.
– Developing supply chains, so Ghanaian companies are entering into partnerships with international companies, are also very important, and one of the tasks that keep our trade team in the Embassy of Denmark very busy is to support such partnerships.
– Local content is important, and it is understandable and appreciated that the Government of Ghana is doing its utmost to ensure jobs, skills development, and economic prosperity for Ghanaian companies;
– Local content is not a simple concept, however, and I am sure that the discussions here today will reflect also the “HOW NOT TO IMPLEMENT LOCAL CONTENT POLICIES with examples from Botswana, Zambia, Brazil, Nigeria, India, Zimbabwe and south Africa”

– HOW to go about the local content agenda is crucial to the success. We and other international partners see the following principles as very important to all actors involved:

Local content should be applied in a transparent and predictable way; it should be a policy that is unambiguous. Easy to understand and easy to interpret. It should not mean different things at different times, depending on the lips speaking it, nor the ears hearing it, and definitely not depending on which minister or ministry is talking;
Local content should be consulted with all relevant stakeholders (Ghanaian business organisations, foreign investors, think tanks, and others) to ensure that decisions are taken on a complete and enlightened basis. We have had good experience in some sectors of thoroughly talking through the implications of requesting majority Ghanaian ownership in a short-term perspective with the relevant authorities. Sometimes this is possible.

Sometimes it is completely unrealistic and will require a range of exceptions, which makes the implementation of the policy non-transparent and incoherent.

And finally; policies of local content should not have retroactive implications, so companies which have already invested, are suddenly seeing there signed agreements undermined by new legislation. This creates uncertainty and fear among investors and financing institutions and will make it very difficult – if not impossible – to obtain international loans for investments in the country.

I look forward to the discussion today and to the continued collaboration on the issue. Thank you!


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