The World Trade Centre (WTC) Accra in collaboration with the Zimbabwe High Commission in Ghana, held a meeting with members of the African Diplomatic Corps in Ghana to discuss intra-Africa trade and investment and continental integration.
The purpose of the meeting was to stress the importance of diplomatic involvement in promoting regional trade and to discuss how embassies can work directly with trade promotion agencies, such as the World Trade Center Accra, to increase trade and investment between their host and home countries.
The meeting was on the theme: “The Role of Diplomacy in Promoting Intra-Africa Trade.”
Togbe Afede XIV, the Executive Chairman of the WTC, Accra in his welcome address stressed the importance of population size.
He compared Africa’s size in terms of population and market, to that of Brazil, Russia, India, and China (BRIC) and emphasized on how Africa can learn from other trading blocs such as the European Union.
Togbe Afede XIV who is also a Board Member of World Trade Centres Association (WTCA), stressed that Africa can leverage on its size to generate significant economic benefits for the entire continent.
Madam Pavelyn Tendai Musaka, the Zimbabwe High Commissioner to Ghana, in her opening remarks said: “The private sector has led the way when it comes to trade and investment, but ask what the role of the Ambassador and the embassy?”
She described the Zimbabwe High Commission’s relationship with WTC Accra, as encouraging and her role in working with the Centre to organize and take part in two trade and investment missions to Zimbabwe in May and June this year.
Madam Musuka expressed the hope that the trade and investment visits to her country would generate investment in Zimbabwe’s agriculture, power, mining, banking and finance sectors, and also lead to the establishment of WTC Harare.
Dr. Alhousseini Ousmane, Niger Ambassador to Ghana, commended WTC Accra for the initiative and expressed their support for WTC’s expansion in Africa, and the continued collaboration amongst members of the African Diplomatic Corps to promote regional integration.
Mr Edward Ashong-Lartey, Director of Investment Services at the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre, corroborated Madam Musaka’s message, stating that, “We all know that trade & investment go together. First, we must produce, and then, we must trade. Now with the signing of the Continental Free Trade Agreement, government and the private sector must work together to promote trade and investment in Africa.”
The group agreed to re-convene again in September this year to discuss specific actions and plan quarterly meetings that would ensure regular dialogue.
In attendance were members of the African Diplomatic Corps, representatives from various Ministries and Trade Agencies, including the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre, Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, the Ghana Free Zones Board, and the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA).