UNDP facilitates SDG Impact Investment with Japan for Ghana

August 6, 2021



On Tuesday July 13, 2021, UNDP organized an online seminar titled "Ghana—Japan Investment Seminar: Business Opportunities and SDG Impact Areas" jointly with Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) and UNIDO's Investment and Technology Promotion Office, Tokyo (UNIDO ITPO Tokyo).

This seminar highlighted the attractiveness of Ghana as an investment destination, a country that has relatively stable political and security situations as well as well-developed basic infrastructures. Mr. YASUNAGA Yuko, Head, UNIDO ITPO Tokyo gave opening remarks, which was followed by welcome remarks by H.E. Mr. HIMENO Tsutomu, Ambassador of Japan to Ghana and H. E. Mr. Frank OKYERE, Ambassador of Ghana to Japan.

Ambassador HIMENO opened the seminar by stressing that it was a very important convening to encourage Japanese companies to invest and do business in Ghana, which is an attractive investment destination. Ambassador HIMENO urged the participants to make use of the SDG Investor Map issued by UNDP. He also emphasized the Japanese Government's focal points for support in Ghana, comprised of the Embassy, JETRO, and JICA, explaining that Japanese companies can always contact for support.

During the presentation by public sector entities in the Session I, Dr. Angela LUSIGI, Resident Representative of UNDP Ghana presented efforts to accelerate SDGs achievement by identifying Investment Opportunity Areas using the SDG Investor Map (in English and Japanese) as a tool providing knowledge, data and impact measurement intelligence to investors inside and outside the country. She stated that the SDG Investor Map for Ghana identifies Agriculture, Infrastructure, Healthcare, ICT, and Manufacturing as areas with potential for multiplier investment effects, consistent with the national development priorities set out in the National Medium Term Development Framework of Ghana. Her presentation delved into the specific sub-sectors and Investment Opportunity Areas of the SDG Investor Map for Ghana. She concluded on the note that the SDG Investor Map provides practical and disaggregated analysis on the Investment Opportunity Areas and associated market information, which have a potential to achieve both SDGs impact and investment returns.

Mr. Yofi GRANT, Chief Executive Officer of GIPC, cited Ghana's three "Os,"  (Opportunities, Openness and Optimism) as the attractive points of the country as an investment destination. He said that, in addition to the fact that investment opportunities were available in Ghana, the nation is gifted with a wealth of resources and is shifting to industrialization which presents many Opportunities. He also noted that the country’s market was open to investors in and outside it due to its political stability and investor protection regulation which shows the Openness of the country and also the fact that the economy of Ghana was expected to grow steadily in the years ahead on the back of its rapid economic growth and advanced support programmes for private-sector entities amidst the COVID-19 pandemic gives that hope and Optimism for the country to recover from the COVID-19 Pandemic and build forward better.

The Session II provided an avenue for Private Businesses to showcase their interest areas and strike partnerships. The companies featured were the Ajinomoto Foundation, a public interest incorporated foundation, Degas Ghana Ltd., IT Consortium, Esoko and Glofert Lt. 

KOKO Plus Foundation (The Ajinomoto Foundation, a public interest incorporated foundation

Mr. Yusuke TAKAHASHI, Country Director of Koko Plus Foundation made a presentation on the Nutrition Improvement Project of KOKO Plus Foundation. He noted that Sub-Saharan Africa is beset with childhood malnutrition which impedes body and brain growth. To remedy this challenge, the foundation in collaboration with universities, enterprises and international agencies in Ghana developed KOKO Plus, a nutritional supplement powder that improves the nutritional balance of baby foods. The product has undergone nutritional improvement effect checks in regions with a social business model being developed to solve issues in a sustained manner. Mr. Takahashi expressed intentions to boost the foundation's efforts further towards achieving Universal “Nutrition” and Health Coverage.

Degas Ltd.

Mr. Doga MAKIURA, CEO of Degas Ltd. highlighted the firm's agricultural business. He noted that there are still many people trapped in poverty, although poverty has declined rapidly in the world over the last three decades, and such is the case in Sub-Saharan Africa. He submitted that Ghana is faced with an issue of low productivity in Agric with farmers accounting for some 70% of its population. Degas Ltd. developed a business model  which creates a network of individual farmers and connects harvested agricultural products to consumers while providing seeds, fertilisers and expertise of high quality to deliver an improved productivity. As a future goal, Mr. MAKIURA expressed an intention to use data gathered with digital technologies and move further to lower costs and raise productivity, thereby building a social infrastructure through agriculture.

IT Consortium

Mr. Romeo BUGYEI, Managing Director of IT Consortium highlighted
digitization opportunities in Ghana. He affirmed that IT Consortium provides a platform which connects local and global economic activities by delivering digital infrastructure as a FinTech provider. In addition to highlighting great market opportunities in the digital domain of Ghana, Mr. BUGYEI expressed an intention to work on easy to use services for finance especially for start-ups using mobile devices, PC and mobile phone in cooperation with Japanese companies and to establish digital skill development institutions in Ghana.


Dr. Daniel ASARE-KYEI, CEO, Esoko highlighted the digital technologies-based agricultural reform efforts by the firm. Farmers account for 70% of the total population of Ghana, but it is faced with an issue of low productivity resulting from limited access to markets, inputs, and credit. Mr. ASARE-KYEI said digitizing agricultural supply chains with various IT technologies such as those provided by Esoko would induce more efficiency in the agricultural sector and raise the value of the nation's agricultural output. He demonstrated that massive opportunities that exists for Ghanaian AgriTech and Fintech companies to collaborate with Japanese investors to unlock the huge potential of Ghana’s agricultural sector, which currently is operating at 20% capacity. Specific areas for investment, according to Dr. Asare-Kyei include an end-to end digitization of agricultural value chains, credit disbursement using digital solutions, value addition and processing as well as in untapped opportunities in warehousing, post-harvest storage, transportation, cold chain and associated logistics.

Glofert Limited

Mr. Foster Mawuli BENSON, CEO of Glofert Limited, presented his firms’ fertilizer manufacturing business. He stated that African countries including Ghana are expected to invest in agribusiness projects due to the rising risk of food security as the continent is experiencing rapid urbanization and population growth. To support this effort, Glofert manufactures optimal fertilisers on a custom-made basis in accordance with the conditions of individual agricultural products and land tracts. Mr. BENSON expressed an eagerness to increase the harvest volume for agricultural products and improve agricultural productivity in the big market for Ghana's agricultural value chain through investment in collaboration with Japanese companies. 

The panel discussion in the Session III moderated by Mr. Emmanuel FORSON, Principal Investment Promotion Officer at GIPC, panelist deliberated success cases and challenges related to Japanese firms' business and investment promotion in Ghana.

Mr. Yusuke TAKAHASHI of KOKO Plus Foundation recounting his experience expanding his business to Ghana noted that the biggest challenge was that he could not locate a local partner with the same interest as his firm to forge partnership. He described the importance of building partnership with trustworthy local companies and organizations by obtaining support from international institutions and donors. On his part, Mr. MAKIURA of Degas Ltd. noted that his decision to choose Ghana as a business destination was largely due to the relative political stability and peace in the country. He said that in June 2021, Ghana had been removed from the money laundering "grey list," targeted for upgraded surveillance, due to having been praised for its counter measures led by the Financial Action Task Force, an international organization of the financial authority. He stressed that Ghana is drawing a lot of attention from investors in and outside the country as an attractive investment destination.

The panel discussion also emphasized the impact of COVID-19 on the agricultural sector. While noting that support had been given to the sector by the national government and international institutions, they pointed out the need to upgrade such supports in the months ahead. Mr. NANA OSEI BONSU, Chief Executive Officer, Private Enterprise Federation (PEF) highlighted its efforts to build, through dialogues with the government, an environment and regulatory framework in which private-sector companies find it easy to engage in business. He stressed the importance of foreign companies expanding their businesses while building a good partnership with local firms given that, in the pandemic, many companies had no option but to do activities remotely. Mr. Louis AMO, Chief Economics Officer & Head of Asia Unit, Ministry of Finance, Ghana, featured the Ghana CARES (Ghana Covid-19 Alleviation and Revitalization of Enterprises Support) Obaatanpa Program envisioned by the government towards post-COVID-19 era resuscitation of the economy in the medium term. He noted that the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic partially crowded out Government’s infrastructure spending to meeting emergency health needs of the country while noting that tax revenue for 2020 would have increased beyond what was realized at the end of the year, had the pandemic not strongly impacted the business sector adversely. He noted further that the intention of Government for the approximately US$17.5 billion Ghana CARES Obaatanpa Programme is to have 30 percent of the financing requirement contributed by Government while the remaining 70 percent is taken up by the private sector. He intimated that the Ghana CARES Obaatanpa Programme, thus, presents very important investment opportunities for the business community to explore and exploit and entreated the Japanese Community to take full advantage of it.  

Lastly, opinions were exchanged on the SDG Investor Map, which Mr. BONSU said was an optimal platform for identifying Ghana's competency and capacity and discovering investment opportunities. Mr. AMO said that the SDGs have been well incorporated in the Government’s development agenda and the Ghana CARES Obaatanpa Programme. He stressed that the SDG Investor Map dovetails into these development agenda and programmes of Government. He added that the SDG Investment Platform would be able to deliver useful local investment information on Government’s priority programmes to people in and outside of the country and is envisaged to deliver the desired investment results for the country. He, therefore, lauded the GIPC and the UNIDP for their collective efforts in that regard.  

In her closing remarks, Ms. Afua Ntiriwa TEKYI-MILLS, Head, Corporate Affairs of GIPC thanked all the partners who collaborated to organize the Investment Seminar especially for providing translation support to Japanese companies that are considering expanding their business to the country. She noted that this is in line with, the Ghana government priorities to work together with private-sector companies and international institutions to promote investments in Ghana.

UNDP has co-hosted the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) for a quarter of a century. UNDP will continue to hold similar business seminars in preparation for TICAD 8 in 2022 to accelerate its support to promote business partnerships and investment between Japan and Africa.