The maiden edition of the Kenya Trade Expo in Ghana was held in Accra at the Labadi Beach Hotel, from 2nd -4th November, 2015 with the aim of promoting business and trade between Kenya and Ghana.
The three-day expo run under the theme: “The Role of Pan-African Investments in Ghana’s Growth” was aimed at creating a platform for Ghanaian and Kenyan businesses to explore partnership opportunities as well as an exertion to further the trade agreements signed in December 2014 by the Ghana President John Mahama and President Uhuru Kenyatta.
The expo brought together both Kenyan and Ghanaian businessmen and traders who exhibited their products with the aim of deepening the existing investment and trade ties between the two countries. It also sought to explore business opportunities for Ghana and Kenya with some focus on agriculture and agribusiness development; infrastructure investment; energy sector development; export strategy; role of banking and finance in enhancing trade; tourism development, land and real estate development among others.
Addressing the members during the opening, Kenya’s High Commissioner to West Africa, Amb. Tom Amolo said the expo offers exhibitors, visitors and all stakeholders the chance to actively promote their business, boost multilateral trade between the West and East African regions and to explore joint ventures through export licensing, counter trade, contract manufacturing and other foreign entry opportunities.
Ambassador Tom Amolo as well as the dignitaries from the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre, Kenya Private Sector Alliance, Kenyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, and the Ghana Export Promotion Council, called for the removal of trade barriers that inhibit freedom of movement and trade within Africa in order to make intra-regional business develop better and grow.
The expo was as a result of a renewed approach towards a more focused investment drive initiated by the centre to promote specific priority investment projects which makes it easy for investors to make the investment decision.
Mr Alex Twumasi, Senior Investment Officer of GIPC said the centre had also recorded 22 investment projects from Kenya with an investment value of $193 million from 1994 to June 2015. He said Ghana had witnessed several Pan-African investments, including flagship projects such as UBA, Zenith and GT banks from Nigeria. He further said Ghana’s UT Bank and First Atlantic Merchant Bank were all expanding into other African countries.
“Connecting Africa’s markets and investing in the entire value chain across sectors would be the key driver for the region in boosting intra-African trade since data from the Africa Competitiveness Report 2015, suggested that to date, only 11.3 per cent of trade in Africa was intra-regional”. Says Mr. Twumasi
He also said according to the report, total exports of African countries were heavily skewed towards the export of raw minerals and that Africa’s population of over one billion people represented a large emerging consumer market and labour force that provided significant growth opportunities.
Ties between Ghana and Kenya date back to the precolonial days when Ghana’s First President Kwame Nkrumah and Kenya’s first President Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, united in anti-colonial crusades.
The Kenyan High Commissioner for West Africa, Mr Thomas Amolo, said the expo presented another important opportunity for Ghana and Kenya to showcase their goods and services and the unlimited choices they offered consumers and investors.
Speaking during the event, KEPSA Vice chair Dr. Laila Macharia, reckoned that the private sector had a role to play in expending investments noting that Ghana like Kenya is one of the top five destinations for doing business in the Sub-Saharan Africa. She said the Ghana Expo presents an ideal opportunity for business-to-business networking and developing new relationships that will eventually pay off down the road.
The Co-Founder of the Kenyan Trade Expo Mrs Leah Nduati Lee said the event marked another step in establishing a long-lasting relationship between the gateway to East Africa and gateway to West Africa.
The expo was officially opened by President John Dramani Mahama and said that he looks forward to fostering a deeper relationship between Kenya and Ghana. He also said that he will host President Uhuru Kenyatta in Ghana early next year.