27 June 2019: A 19-member business delegation from Ghana arrived in East London today for its first-ever trade and investment mission to the Eastern Cape.
The trade and investment mission aims to strengthen trade and investment relations with the Eastern Cape. The delegation which moves to Port Elizabeth tomorrow held business to business discussions with 35 companies from the Buffalo City Metro with a view to explore trade and investment opportunities between Ghana and the province.
The delegation, which is led by the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC), the South African High Commission in Ghana and the Ghana South Africa Business Chamber is being hosted by the Eastern Cape Development Corporation (ECDC).
“The South Africa High Commission, GIPC and the Ghana-South Africa Business Chamber have not held a trade mission to the Eastern Cape before and a need was recognised for an inward mission to the Eastern Cape. The ECDC has taken local SMMEs to trade missions to Ghana in the previous financial years, which have resulted in the establishment of a working relationship between businesses in Ghana and the Eastern Cape.
“It is anticipated that each Ghanaian company will have meetings with a minimum of four companies from the Eastern Cape. The match-making exercise for business meetings is based upon the requests for meetings submitted by the Ghanaian companies,” says ECDC Head of Trade and Investment Thabo Shenxane.
GIPC director for investor services Edward Ashong Lartey says this is the first time a Ghana delegation has led an official trade and investment mission to the Eastern Cape.
“We have brought with us private sector companies from Ghana that operate in the trade, oil and gas and legal consulting sectors in order to foster relations with their Eastern Cape counterparts. The Eastern Cape has a unique potential which we hope we can collectively harness to benefit the province and business in Ghana.
“Ghana has a strong focus on agriculture and agribusiness, manufacturing, infrastructure, tourism and tourism. These are the sectors we are looking to exploit for significant trade and investment with South African companies in general. Ghana is regarded by the World Bank as the best place to do business in West Africa and South Africa is a top source of foreign direct investment for Ghana. We strongly believe that this co-operation should result in an improvement of trade and investment activity between African countries,” says Lartey.
ECDC trade initiatives with Ghana are already bearing fruit. The ECDC undertook a trade mission to Ghana in 2018, in partnership with WESGRO, with six local companies. This was not the first mission to Ghana. In 2016 a trade mission was organised to Ghana working with the Department of Trade and Industry Trade & Invest Africa desk and Wesgro.
“One of the local Eastern Cape companies, Mend-A-Bath International, was linked to a distributor for their products during the 2016 mission to Ghana. Last year the company formed part of the follow-up mission with the ECDC and they have been actively working with the distributor in Ghana. Through ECDC support they have realised export orders for their products to Ghana.
“In addition, Lathitha Wines through the ECDC trade mission to Ghana last year managed to secure an order for their wines and they are finalising their registration for the exports of wines into Ghana. The Ghanaian market has been very receptive to Eastern Cape products with companies in the water and sanitation sector that participated in the 2018 mission having gained valuable leads which they are working on,” Shenxane says.
Shenxane says the hosting of inward trade missions forms part of the greater Eastern Cape Export Promotion Strategy. The ECDC has recognised that hosting business missions into the province is crucial in promoting intra-trade between Eastern Cape business and business from other countries.
“Markets exist in other countries, especially in the continent, and the Eastern Cape has tradable products. The province has the infrastructure and logistics capacity to move goods to other parts of the continent.
“Through these missions, ECDC intends to introduce Eastern Cape companies to the West African market using Ghana as the gateway. The aim is to link Eastern Cape companies with companies in Ghana, and introduce the Eastern Cape as a viable trading and investment destination,” explains Shenxane.
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