TRALAC - Trade Law Centre

Ghana: Business call to action

Wednesday, 07 May 2008

Source: Accra Mail (Accra)

President John Kufuor on Monday joined UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown, the Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme, Kemal Dervis, and UK Secretary of State for International Development Douglas Alexander in calling on big business to help in the fight against global poverty.

More than 80 CEOs from the world's largest companies attended the Business Call to Action event in London at which new core business initiatives to help reduce poverty in the developing world will be showcased. The Business Call to Action event will highlight initiatives by more than a dozen global companies, including Citi Group, Coca-Cola, Diageo, Microsoft, Thomson Reuters, Sumitomo Chemical, and Vodafone - with a view to inspiring others to do the same.

Over the next five years, the initiatives are expected to create thousands of jobs and potentially benefit millions of poor people across Africa, Asia and Latin America. They are part of a concerted push to meet the Millennium Development Goals that will enable poor people to access up to the minute information, money and business expertise as well as creating new businesses and employment opportunities.

Cadbury also participated in the event, showcasing their cocoa partnership initiative which is taking place in Ghana and is expected to boost farmers' incomes by 30-40%.

Attending the Business Call to Action event, President John Kufuor said: "Ghana is making progress on the MDGs. We have already reduced poverty by half and, given the trend, might escape the poverty trap by 2015. Ghana is also likely to achieve hundred per cent enrolment at basic education within the target date.

"Over all however, there remain some challenges. Maternal and Child mortality is one such challenge, and is being given special attention. The other area of concern is Private Sector Development. Indeed, the economy as a whole is confronted with a paradox. The US has opened its market to Ghana through the grant of a visa status under AGOA to export 6,400 commodities both tariff and quota free. Similarly, through the Economic Partnership Agreement, Ghana can have access to European markets. But the question to ask is, where is the production capacity for delivery?

"We therefore expect substantial increase in Foreign Direct Investment inflows, especially on joint venture basis, to come by the capital and know-how to exploit these openings. Such a development will bring in its wake jobs for the teeming unemployed youth, underpin the spread of wealth and promote the general well-being of the society.

"The committed partners of Africa, like the United Kingdom and the United Nations, must therefore engage themselves with this challenge."

UK Secretary of State for International Development Douglas Alexander said:

"Although we are over halfway towards the MDG target date of 2015, we are not halfway to meeting the MDGs. It is time to take concerted action to save lives and business has a key role to play in the push against poverty. Long term economic growth is vital to the fight against global poverty and business investment is vital to building economic growth.

"Africa and other parts of the developing world offer a wealth of business opportunities that make real commercial sense. I am hopeful that after today's event businesses will be inspired to make concrete commitments and to speed up action they have already planned. These commitments could have a life changing impact on literally millions of poor people."

At the UN in July 2007, the Prime Minister made a Call to Action to governments, businesses, NGOs and faith groups to focus resources and effort on delivering the MDGs by 2015, recognising that without a collective effort these goals will not be met. Some of the world's leading companies signed up to the Call to Action, and this event is the next step in that process.

Kemal Dervis, UNDP Administrator said:

"In the race to achieve the MDGs, one of the greatest untapped resources is the private sector. Businesses are engines of growth and sustainable development. Innovative business leaders, both in the North and the South, are changing the way that many businesses operate. They are expanding beyond traditional business practices, to also focus on the needs of those locked out of the global market, bringing them in as partners in growth and wealth creation. Such creative approaches and partnerships are essential in catalysing vibrant new markets that can contribute to advancing inclusive growth and development.

"The Business Call to Action is not a one off event, but a commitment to speed up progress on the MDGs, to create a prosperous world for all. In that spirit, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, will convene, in September, a high-level meeting on the MDGs, bringing together world leaders, civil society and the private sector to help translate existing commitments into action and bolster the global partnership for development."

The Cadbury cocoa partnership initiative is part of a 10-year £44 million global investment programme which was announced in January 2008. The partnership will, in the first year, focus on 100 cocoa farming communities in Ghana, reaching 80,000 people, aiming to increase productivity by 20% in the first five years, rising to a 100% over 10 years.

When showcasing the initiative Cadbury CEO Todd Stitzer said:

"In response to the Business Call to Action Cadbury has set targets and accelerated its plans to implement the first stage of the Cocoa Partnership in Ghana. DFID and UNDP have been central to the direction of the Cocoa Partnership, bringing a focus on the MDGs which has ensured that the Partnership will meet both business and development needs."

The Business Call to Action is not about philanthropy. It challenges companies to use their core business - whether it be manufacturing, finance, telecommunications - in a way that contributes both to the MDGs and to their commercial success. It aims to inspire CEOs and companies to realise that reducing poverty also makes good business sense. By building a safer and more prosperous world, businesses are securing future commercial success.

It's been just over seven years since 189 world leaders endorsed the MDGs. The Goals represent a global partnership to promote poverty reduction, education, maternal health, gender equality, and aim at combating child mortality, AIDS and other diseases. More than halfway to the target year, the MDG track record is mixed. Considerable progress is being made, but many countries are falling behind, with sub-Saharan Africa most at risk. The region is not on track to meet a single MDG by 2015.

Plans are being put in place to monitor the commitments companies make. By learning lessons on what works well for both businesses and poor communities, this can be replicated globally.

The Business Call to Action is part of a major campaign called the Call to Action, which seeks to accelerate progress towards meeting the MDGs by 2015. During 2008 - a critical year for action on the MDGs - the campaign and its supporters aim to build momentum and galvanise initiatives from businesses, governments, NGOs, faith groups and civil society. A pivotal moment will be the UN Secretary General's high-level event on the MDGs in New York on 25 September.



“ Latest AGOA Trade Data currently available on AGOA.info


Click here to view a sector profile of Ghana’s bilateral trade with the United States, disaggregated by total exports and imports, AGOA exports and GSP exports.


Other regularly updated trade statistics on AGOA.info include: (click each link to view)

  • AGOA-Beneficiary Countries’ AGOA and GSP Trade Aggregates

  • AGOA Trade by Industry Sector

  • Apparel Trade under AGOA’s Wearing Apparel Provisions

  • Latest Apparel Quotas under AGOA

  • Bilateral Trade Data for all AGOA-eligible countries individually.