Executive Secretary, Ghana Nigeria Business Council, Ms. Nadia Takyiwaa-Mensah, in this interview speaks about her organisation’s forthcoming programme. Obinna Chima provides the excerpts:
What has been the contributions of the Council towards improving trade relationship between Nigeria and Ghana?
Over the past seven years the Ghana Nigeria Business Council in partnership with the Nigeria Ghana Business Council in Lagos, has embarked on a series of mid-high level events providing key information on business procedures and opportunities within each country. As of this year, at the Ghana Nigeria Business we have upped our efforts in providing content, data and relevant information which will encourage more Nigerians to do business in Ghana. We will also be embarking on a trade mission with 10-15 SME’s from Ghana to Nigeria, to highlight opportunities and drive investment.
How would you describe the work your Council does and who are those that make up your membership?
The work we do as a non-partisan and not-for-profit organisation is to encourage, promote, inform and support businesses/ investors who are interested in entering into Ghana or Nigeria respectively. We see ourselves as a one-stop shop ensuring nobody falls through the cracks, gets mislead or is provided with the wrong information whilst embarking on their business/investment venture. We want to provide ease in setting up business or investing, for both Ghanaian’s and Nigerian’s and see business/trade between the two nations grow at an exponential rate, just because we were able to remove some hurdles and myths.
What has been the priorities of the Council since 2021?
Our priorities this year has been in delivering more relevant content via webinars and physical events whilst also concentrating on building our membership database. We presently have a network of over 3,000 people from Ghana, Nigeria, US and UK who are eager to know more about opportunities which are available and want to place their business in front of either Ghana/Nigeria’s business/ consumer markets. We also want to ensure we promote a positive message that Ghana and Nigeria are still in business, and celebrate our long-standing relationship with each other which exceeds half a century. Finally, we are working on being more visible and lead conversations on Ghana and Nigeria business, trade and investments.
Can you tell us about your forthcoming programme with your strategic partner, the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre?
Yes, we are excited that we are hosting our first physical event with our strategic partners the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC). The event is titled ‘Breakfast Series: Real Opportunities in Ghana’. There is actually an emphasis on real as we look at highlighting 2-3 low hanging business/investment opportunities available in Ghana.
Our guests will hear presentations and case studies from representatives of GIPC, Ghana Export Promotion Authority and Ghana Free Zones Board. We know there is a plethora of opportunities available, yet we understand people really want to know, what is viable, easier to access, protocols etc. The event is going to be jam packed with information and real nuggets for people to take away with more confidence than ever on what Ghana has to offer. For anybody who is looking at Ghana as their next market to invest, this event is a must-attend. We appreciate that everybody will not be able to attend in person, therefore we have a paid online access option available. The event is taking place on Tuesday 20th July 2021 at Alisa Hotel, Ridge, Accra.
Who are the expected guests and what would be the expected impact on both Nigeria and Ghana in terms of trade?
We are predominately expecting Nigerian business persons and investors who are presently in Ghana to be our core audience. We expect from this it will open up dialogue about ventures people want to embark on in Ghana. We expect the event to also reconcile previous misunderstandings of what it means to be a Nigerian doing business in Ghana and encourage more trade. We have businesses that have been longstanding in Ghana, especially from the Banking, Insurance and Real Estate sector – we want to continue to encourage this level of business to take place in Ghana.
What can other organisations and African countries learn from this partnership?
Ghana and Nigerian have always been known as big brother little sister, we ultimately have a fundamental respect for one another and our cultures are very similar. From football to jollof wars to Afrobeats our two nations are undeniably intertwined. With this, we are able to leverage from our long standing relationship and do more. At present Ghana is one of Nigeria’s top importers when it comes to finished chocolate products – we contribute, approximately 72 per cent of Nigeria’s chocolate imports. Other organisations and African countries can learn to establish strong ties and complement each other in trade and business. They can learn to open up trade channels between neighbouring countries in order to reduce foreign imports and thrive together. We still have a long way to go and by some standards we should have been further along our journey by now, however, with efforts from all levels we are optimistic that the future is bright, not only for Ghana and Nigeria but through trade via ECOWAS and AfCFTA.