China Trade Week brings 2nd largest economy to Ghana

The 3rd edition of China Trade Week in Ghana is the most ambitious yet and indeed will be the largest ever event dedicated at forging trade and investment links between the two countries. TOMA IMIRHE previews the event and assesses its potentials for bringing Chinese and Ghanaian businesses together.

From June 19-21, the Accra International Conference Centre will play host to the largest ever trade and investment event specifically aimed at forging business relationships between China and Ghana. This is the 3rd edition of the annual China Trade Week in Ghana which has provided a platform for a trade exhibition each year, but is now raising the level of interface between businesses from both countries by adding on a series of conferences and networking forums this year.

Altogether close to 700 enterprises and institutions from both countries are expected to converge in Accra for the event which will host about 6,000 visitors.

China Trade Week is organized by the MIE Group which specializes in promoting and facilitating trade and investment relationships between China and businesses and enterprises in Africa and the Middle East. For Ghana’s version, Geo Vision is serving as the local partners for the event.

To be sure, China Trade Week is an excellent opportunity for businesses seeking to lock in to one of the fastest growing and potentially most lucrative bilateral trade and investment relationships in the world. In 2017, bilateral trade flows between the two countries reached US$6.67 billion, up 11.7 percent on the previous year. Although Ghana still has a large trade deficit against China it still managed US$1.85 billion in exports during that year. Indeed, China is now Ghana’s largest trading partner, having usurped the latter’s traditional leading partners in Europe, North America and Asia.

Chinese investments in Ghana are rising rapidly too, reaching US$123 million spread across 27 projects registered with the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre in 2017. The quantum of investments are growing even faster than the volume of bilateral trade, with China leading foreign investment into Ghana’s flagship one district one factory initiative and Sinohydro Corporation putting up US$2 billion in infrastructure in exchange for access to the country’s bauxite which will be exploited under an ambitious integrated bauxite development and processing initiative.

Astute business service companies are moving aggressively to exploit the rapidly expanding relationship. For instance Africa World Airlines, a partnership between Chinese and Ghanaian investors, will from this month begin an operational collaboration with Dubai’s Emirates Airline – which flies daily to China’s major cities – to give passengers of both airlines greater connectivity between the two countries

Little wonder then that both the public and private sector’s in Ghana are enthusiastically throwing their weight behind the impending 3rd China Trade Week. Apart from GIPC itself, the Ministry of Business Development, the Ghana Export Promotion Authority, the Ghana Tourism Authority and the Ghana Tourism Development Corporation are all partners for the event. The Ghana National Chamber for Commerce and Industry is leading the private sector partners.

“The China Trade Week is a Business to Business trade show featuring Chinese producers and manufacturing firms that are keen on connecting with local and regional sourcing, buying and professional businesses and professionals from Ghana” explains Kweku Hammond CEO of Geo Vision, local partners of the organizers. “This makes it an excellent opportunity for Ghana’s local business community to develop direct trading links with high end Chinese producers and solution providers.”

Participants from many industry sectors have already booked exhibition space. These include: printing materials and packaging; service equipment; foods; daily necessities; home electrical and electronic products; chemicals; infant products; manufacturing and construction; materials and machinery; and clothing and textiles.

“As a business event, CTW Ghana seeks more to engage the professional buyers in retail, wholesale distribution and import/export as well as entrepreneurs who have been thinking about starting trade relations with China,” enthuses Zahoor Ahmed, MIEE Events’ International Events Director. “For visitors who do not have any experience working with China before and do not know where to start, a conference has been developed to give visitors background information about China and how to effectively trade with China.”

To be sure MIE has lots of experience in doing this. The company organizes CTW in the United Arab Emirate, Kenya, Iran, Morocco, Ethiopia and South Africa as well as in Ghana.