Private companies in the United States of America say they will partner with local counterparts in Ghana to make important contributions to the energy and power sector in the country.
The companies, which were part of a US-Africa Trade Mission to explore opportunities in the energy and power sector, said they saw a lot of opportunities in the infrastructural sector of the country in general and energy in particular.
The US Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of African Affairs, Mr William Fitzgerald, said at the end of a two-day power trade mission to Ghana that �we came with an interesting variety of companies, some of which had been in the African continent for a long time, such as Chevron, Caterpillar and General Electric. We also have some SMEs that have never been to Africa, such as Energy International which is interested in expanding into Africa.�
He said specifically for Ghana, the delegation�s discussions with the authorities were centred on identifying the critical areas of power that Ghana would need the intervention of the US.
They met with a cross-section of the government as well as the private sector and Mr Fitzgerald said they had been well received in the countries that they had so far visited.
Before coming to Ghana, the delegation visited Mozambique, Tanzania, Kenya and Nigeria, where like in Ghana, they met with ministers of energy and trade and top government officials as well as captains of industry and private sector players.
The US government is already working with the Ghanaian authorities to identify how to intervene in energy and power to increase generation and make transmission and distribution more efficient to help companies to be more efficient and competitive.
�We have sat down with Ghana to identify some of the constraints to accelerated growth and on top of that list is energy and power; thus having power available on a regular basis at a reasonable cost,� the US Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Donald Teitelbaum, told a section of the media in Accra.
He explained that the embassy was aware of the challenges businesses faced in the country due to inefficient and unreliable power supply that needed to be resolved to enable them to be competitive.
The ambassador cited the textile industry in Ghana as an example of an industry over which Ghana had lost its competitive advantage for which only a reasonable priced and highly reliable power would help salvage.
�So it�s about generation, transmission and distribution as well as rendering very efficient solutions that work and among this delegation are some of the companies that have the capacity to contribute in many good ways to get electricity to where it needs to go in Ghana,� Mr Teitelbaum stated.
The delegation also observed that generating more efficient power supplies and increasing employment in Ghana went hand in hand. The mission comes in at a time when the US government has supported Ghana to complete a first MCC compact to contribute in removing bottlenecks in the agricultural value chain.
The US funding contributed meaningfully to Ghana�s gross domestic product and helped generally towards the stopping of bottlenecks from doing business in the economy.
As the US prepares to partner Ghana for another compact in the energy sector, US companies are leaving no stones unturned to play a major role in the country�s energy sector, although the compact would not be directly tied to the services of US companies.
But the First Vice President and Chair of the Ex-Im Bank, Ms Wanda Felton, said �Ghana�s next compact with the United States is likely to be in the power generation sector and the companies, together with the US-Exim Bank, are not going to waste any more time to tap into the sector.�
�We want to also leverage the MCC compact to bring in more of the private sector to develop energy projects across the country. You will be building up the main grid but other areas, such as in the mines, which would be off-grid, there would be the need for special interventions to supply power there,� the Vice President for International Programmes at the Corporate Council on Africa (CCA), Mr Robert C. Perry, added.
The CCA is made up of 180 companies doing business in Africa. These companies have seen an opportunity in the power sector, specifically in areas such as gas, and gas pipelines, hydro and biomass.
Mr Perry reiterated that the MCC framework could be an entry vehicle for American companies into a market and thereafter go ahead to take advantage of other opportunities.
He said there was a company among the delegation that was collecting data from the countries that were visiting, including Ghana, on public-private partnership (PPP) law and regulations, what the goals were in the power sector, so they could make the information available to investors to enable them make informed investment decisions.
The US Export Import Bank is ready to support the incursion and expansion of the American private sector companies into Africa and Ghana for that matter.
�What we want to do as an Exim Bank is to encourage American companies to come into Africa. They can be small or large companies,� the Vice President, Ms Wanda Felton said.
Source: Daily Graphic
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