Ghana says business with Guyana is without exploitation but bias seen as early hindrance


By Kurt Campbell

With a binding cooperation agreement between Ghana and Guyana in place and the recent establishment of a joint business chamber, commerce relations between the two states have ramped up in the first half of 2023.

In fact, several representatives from Ghanaian businesses and institutions in the oil and gas sector are in Guyana this week for a two-day local content conference where there will be the sharing of knowledge and information and the possibility for the establishment of joint strategic partnerships.

Ghanaian private sector reps in Georgetown have highlighted that its business philosophy is one without exploitation.

Notwithstanding, prejudgment on doing business with African investors has reportedly posed early hindrances to advancing what is projected to be a most fruitful business relationship.

The News Room recently sat down with the Chairman of the Ghana Chamber of Commerce Guyana, Gabby Asare Otechere-Darko, who noted that Ghanaian businesses confronted and overcame many of the challenges Guyanese now face during start-up oil production.

“These are entities that have gone through the hard way and learned the secrets of the trade, the skills needed.

“Our philosophy is not to get Ghanaian companies to come here, benefit and go back but we want them to come here and partner with local companies to grow together,” he explained.

“The idea is how we can get partnerships, the idea is how we can get Guyanese companies to see how we learnt the hard way,” Otechere-Darko added.

Ghana Chamber of Commerce Guyana Chairman Gabby Asare Otechere-Darko

To make his point, the Chairman said several companies and organisations in Ghana have offered space for Guyanese engineers to work and gain experience.

These include six spots on a new oil refinery, another six in civil works and spots in the Ghana National Gas Company and the Petroleum Commission.

“It is just knowledge sharing as well, there may not be any collaboration but you can share knowledge and expertise and some of these companies can offer advisory services as well.

“For us, for Ghana and Guyana, we want a relationship that is without exploitation, we want a relationship where both sides can benefit. Where we have an advantage, which may be experience or investment, we can bring it on board but in partnership and we can both benefit,” Otechere-Darko said in amplification of the standing philosophy.

He said while Ghanaians seek to use the shared history and geography with Guyana for mutual benefit, there is some pushback.

“The first pushback is prejudicial.

“When people hear you are from Africa, because they expect investors from Europe or the USA or sometimes the East, there is a prejudicial mindset that you have to tackle,” he noted while pointing out the gentility and resource richness of the Ghanaian people.

Private Sector and government officials from Guyana and Guyana during the launch of the Ghana Chamber of Commerce Guyana

He said too that with Guyana set to become a big producer of oil, locals tend to look at people who come in with cynicism or skepticism.

“…as if we are here to exploit and go.

“We have a philosophy, we come in not to exploit, but with the mindset of partnership that we bring value… and we hope Guyanese people will appreciate and offer a perhaps warmer reception,” Otechere-Darko concluded.

Diplomatic relations between Guyana and Ghana were officially established on May 14, 1979. Both countries share a number of economic and cultural similarities.

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