CEOs CONNECT 2023 | 3RD EDITION
The 3rd edition of the annual signature event of the Canada Ghana Chamber of Commerce (CANCHAM) on the theme “Financing and Growing Businesses” took place on Friday, 25th August, 2023 at the plush Kempinski Hotel, Accra.
CEO’s Connect was born out of the desire to bring the Heads of SMEs and large corporate companies together to brainstorm, share experiences, network and discuss the way forward after the effects of the pandemic in 2021.
The objective of the event was also to provide an opportunity for participants to meet with Government agencies, representatives and industry players, to share strategies, and get authentic business information to assist in business decision-making.
The Guest of Honour for the event was Honourable Nana Ama Dokua Asiamah-Adjei, Deputy Minister for International Trade at the Ministry of Trade and Industry. She was supported with brief remarks by the Special Guests, Her Excellency Martine Moreau, the Canadian High Commissioner to Ghana and Gilberto Antonio, Senior Advisor to H.E the Secretary General, Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat.
It is noteworthy to mention that the 3rd edition of CEO’s Connect has gone international. Three Canadian companies namely; Reality Capital Management, Svetlana Osman Real Estate and Vita Tree Nutraceuticals were present at this years’ event.
In her keynote address, Hon. Dokua Asiamah-Adjei highlighted that Ghana has recently joined several international trade agreements, such as the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, the World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement, and the interim Economic Partnership Agreement. She emphasized that these treaties offer opportunities for “made-in-Ghana” products to penetrate global markets. Hon. Asiamah-Adjei urged Ghanaian enterprises to leverage these opportunities to grow their businesses.
The Canadian High Commissioner, Martine Moreau in her remarks mentioned that Canada is committed to helping Ghana and Africa achieve the aims of the Africa Continental free Trade Agreement.
Gilberto Antonio, Senior Advisor, at AfCFTA, in his brief remarks reiterated that the agreement has come to help boost Africa’s competitiveness on the Regional, Continental and Global market. He highlighted that all members of AfCFTA will receive preferential treatment of non-payment of import and export taxes on goods and services traded within these countries.
This edition of CEO’s Connect included an insightful panel discussion. Discussing the theme “Financing and Growing Businesses” were captains of industries and government representatives in the persons of;
Dr. Fareed Arthur, the National Co-ordinator of the National Afcfta Co-ordination Office
Mr. Yofi Grant, CEO, Ghana Investment Promotion Centre,
Ms. Abena Amoah, Managing Director of Ghana Stock Exchange,
Dr. Afua Asabea Asare, CEO Ghana Export Promotion Authority,
Nana Dwemoh Benneh, Managing Director, UMB Bank Ghana Limited,
Mr. Frederick Amo Atakorah, Head of Value Chain, Ecobank Ghana Limited,
Nii Odoi Yemoh, Executive Director, Reality Capital Management and the President of the Ghanaian Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Ontario, Canada.
Sharing their thought on the theme, panelists from Ecobank and UMB, (representing commercial banks) said that they presently struggle to provide medium to long-term loans because customers do not invest long term with the banks due to the current economic conditions. To address this, they are partnering with entities such as the Ghana Stock Exchange and the Development Bank of Ghana (DBG) to facilitate the provision of medium to long-term loans for business sustainability.
The Ghana Stock Exchange on the other hand briefed the audience that they have been able to raise about Ghc20 billion; Ghc7billion from equity and Ghc13billion from Pension Fund. These funds have been directly invested into businesses that meet the standards of the exchange. Moving forward, GSE is looking to increasing this amount to support more businesses in Ghana.
GEPA listed some government interventions that have been put in place to support Ghanaian businesses in the export industry. Notable among them are, subsidizing good seedlings for the Agriculture sector, tax subside on freight for exporters, and helping exporters acquire booths for exhibitions at trade missions. Dr. Afua Asabea Asare also shared with the audience how their export school is giving free training for exporters to acquire adequate knowledge and skills in branding and packaging of products to be exported.
Looking at getting investors to partner with businesses to help them expand and grow, the GIPC informed participants that they facilitate investments by elevating the Ghana brand to the world and give information on opportunities for investment in Ghana. They also take the private sector companies with them to investment summits and trade missions to help them create partnerships.
Responding to the question on AfCFTAs’ provision to enhance investment in Ghana in line with Agenda 2063, Dr. Fareed Arthur explained that his office is coordinating with all stakeholders such as the Ghana Standard Authority (GSA), GEPA, GIPC, Custom division, and Banks to help boost penetration into the African market.
Mr. Odoi Yemoh, the Executive Director of Reality Management Capital, emphasized that one of the key things Ghanaian businesses can do to penetrate the Canadian market is through E-commence and aggressive digital marketing. He also encouraged Ghanaian companies to put the right policies in place and adhere to good corporate governance so they attract foreign investors.
In summary, the panelists agreed that helping businesses with funding is the catalyst for restoring Ghana’s economy.