"We are very pleased with the message we have been delivering to the domestic business and international business community: that we have a development agenda and we have specific areas which are priorities in terms of development. The Manufacturing sector for instance -- which registered 41 new investment projects in 2015 -- has been one of the major areas of focus. And so we took a decision as an investment promotion centre: that in order to support the broader agenda of creating jobs we need to encourage the business community to look at partnerships with Ghanaians and to look at the opportunities in the manufacturing sectors -- which explains the increases that we have had in investment into that space.
"The reality is also that the Ghanaian business community is more and more being showcased, so people will know that there are credible Ghanaian companies that you can actually partner with. You don't need to step into our space alone," she said.
Mrs. Trebarh said this after being adjudged and presented with the Best Investment Promotion Agency in West and Central Africa award at the Annual Investment Meeting (AIM) in Dubai on Monday.
The AIM Investment Awards, which are organised under the patronage of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai, recognises Investment Promotion Agencies (IPA) for their outstanding work in successfully attracting sizable and beneficial foreign direct investment projects which contribute to the economic growth and development of their countries.
She said recognition of the Centre’s efforts in attracting impactful overseas investments in front of thousands of foreign investors is an affirmation of the strong credentials the country has built in the international community’s eyes.
Last year, the total number of registered investment projects recorded by the GIPC was 170 -- down from 185 in 2014 -- which were valued at US$2.68billion, with job-creation prospects of about 14,978.
The value of the projects’ Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) component was US$2.3billion, which is less than the US$3.4billion recorded in 2014.
But the investment project registered last year that won the Centre its prestigious award was the showcasing of its support and facilitation for the Wangkang Ghana Ceramic Limited project.
The project, registered by the Centre in 2015 with a value of US$93.6million, is a Sekondi-Takoradi-based ceramic manufacturing plant owned by Wangkang Ghana, a member of the Wangkang Holding Group of China.
Mrs. Trebarh noted: "It is not just about the quantity of the investment, or how much is coming into your country. It is about the socio-economic impact; the kind of technology transfer that will take place, the sustainability of the project and community linkages which will be enhanced as a result of this particular investment.
"Since 2013, one of the most significant strategies we have been deploying is the focus on strategic investors -- i.e. those people in the business community who have a certain level of financial capability, but more importantly also appreciate that we are entering into a partnership with the various countries they are looking at in Africa.
"I think their ability to understand Ghana's positioning in the West and Central Africa geographic zones, and the fact that we present the strongest case for access into the rest of the sub-region and continent, will have been reinforced by being recognised in their presence. We want to continue sustaining excellence in promoting investments in Ghana and leverage our position as one of the best places to do business in Africa."
According to the GIPC figures, the manufacturing and services sector recorded most newly-registered projects at 41 and 55 respectively of the total 170 projects in 2015.
The dominance of the services sector in attracting FDIs has been criticised by some economists, who believe this sector is not the avenue to expand employment opportunities and facilitate economic growth.
Mrs. Trebarh however explained that the services sector’s allure to foreign investors is a result of a strategic decision taken by the country's policymakers.
"In many respects, I think the services sector will continue to make significant contributions; but we often say the kind of investments that we see coming into the country are also a function of the strategic decisions and directions which have been given to us -- not just by the president but also the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), because they are the ones who prioritise the focus areas for development. That then factors into our plan.
"So, the services sector will continue to make a contribution significantly; no two ways about it -- but we have also targetted agriculture and ago-processing. We are also very particular about the tourism industry where there are opportunities to invest, and manufacturing as well. All these tie into the services sector, because the services will support some of these key industries. So it is an integrated view of promoting investment," she added.