Ghana-Netherlands commences Bilateral Investment Treaty renegotiation

By Iddi Yire

Accra, April 06, GNA – Ghana and the Kingdom of Netherlands have commenced renegotiations of their Bilateral Treaty (BIT) in Accra.

The current BIT between Ghana and the Kingdom of Netherlands was signed in 1989, and entered into force on 1st July, 1991.

The Accra meeting was jointly opened by Mr Kwaku Ampratwum-Sarpong, a Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration and Madam Hanneke Schuiling, the Dutch Vice Minister for Foreign Economic Relations.

Mr Ampratwum-Sarpong said in the past 32 years of the BIT’s existence, the world had witnessed immense global changes which required a revision of some Agreements.

“Thus, taking steps to modernise the 1989 BIT to conform to current global economic dynamics is in order,” he said.

“It further buttresses Government’s commitment to seeking better and effective ways to boost cooperation between our two countries for our mutual benefits and to ensure that investments into our respective countries are secure and safe with provisions that cater to our mutual interests.”

He noted that the proposed new areas of the BIT would include knowledge sharing and supporting the professionalisation of the horticultural industry, the processing of cocoa in Ghana and promotion of sustainable development and corporate social responsibility.

These he said were areas that held significant to Ghana’s economic growth, which the President was passionate about.

Mr Ampratwum-Sarpong said it was a longstanding commitment by the Government of Ghana to maintain the confidence that investors had in Ghana by exploring opportunities to ensure a conducive and transparent investment climate, while creating an attractive environment for business to thrive and grow.

He said doing business in Ghana could not have come at a better time than now; adding that Ghana’s role as a gateway to Africa could not be overemphasized, especially as it hosts the Secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which had been established with the objective of boosting intra-Africa trade and Africa’s role in the global market.

This, combined with Ghana’s political and economic stability, peace, and security, had positioned Ghana as a preferred destination for investment and the headquarters for multinational companies who were doing business and had invested in the economy.

He commended the technical teams from both Ghana represented by the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC), and the Netherlands for the work done so far.

He expressed the hope that the outcome of the renegotiations and the new BIT that would be signed, would witness an increase in investment by both the Dutch and Ghanaian investors, in their respective two countries.

He said the Netherlands remained key in Ghana’s economic growth and that Dutch companies had invested in several sectors of Ghana’s economy including in agriculture, building and construction, manufacturing, services, and tourism, totaling in value to about $994.20 million.

He said taking into account the scope of Dutch investment in Ghana, Ghana valued its relations with the Netherlands; stating that, “it is in this light, that Ghana welcomes the renegotiations of the existing BIT.”

On her part, Madam Schuiling said the renegotiation of BIT was clearly of a mutual interest to both countries.

She said Ghana and the Netherlands had a long-standing relationship dating back to the early dates of the Dutch presence in West Africa; saying “today, the Netherlands is still one of Ghana’s most important trading partners with a strong focus on agriculture and sustainable development.

Mr Yaw Amoateng Afriyie, the Deputy Chief Executive Officer, GIPC, said the BIT would provide a more enhanced environment to promote, attract and retain Dutch investments in Ghana and for Ghanaian investors in the Netherlands.