Year of Return: African-American Business Summit to promote business linkages underway

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Conversations have begun on how the African Diaspora can leverage the many investment opportunities in Africa and especially in Ghana to do business in the country.

That has been the focus of discussions at the opening of the two-day African-American Summit which is being held as part of events marking the Jamestown to Jamestown initiative where about 300 African Americans are in Ghana in recognition of the Year of Return.

In his speech, CEO of Exim Bank Ghana, Lawrence Agyinsam said there are a lot of avenues for the diaspora to explore trading activities especially when it comes to exporting local commodities. As an institution that promotes and provides financial support for export trade, he said the bank is focused on enhancing government’s agenda of a “Ghana Beyond Aid” and initiatives such as the One District, One Factory, of which he said 81 factories have so far benefited from support from the bank.

CEO of Exim Bank Ghana, Lawrence Agyinsam

Agyinsam also said the bank has injected between $600-800 million to the Ghanaian economy and will continue to help it grow through trade funding interventions. He said the bank identifies 10 priority funding areas; pharmaceuticals, Shea butter, poultry and garments/textiles among others that the diaspora could explore to invest in.

He revealed that the bank currently finances a warehouse in New York to facilitate the distribution of made in Ghana goods worldwide.

Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Barbara Oteng-Gyasi underscoring the importance of the Summit averred that it comes at a time when Ghana’s economic opportunities and potentials are growing. She said the new mode of engagement with the diaspora made it imperative for government to create the necessary business environment so that all can benefit.

Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Barbara Oteng-Gyasi

“A country’s diaspora, and the diasporans it hosts, can be a huge asset for its development. As we welcome our brothers and sisters back to the homeland, we want to open up a new channel of dialogue and partnership with our African diaspora that will create win-win situations.”

“This summit underscores the point that we have made that the year of return is not just a journey, but a process of serious re-engagement with the global African family,” the Minister affirmed.

NAACP President, Derrick Johnson

The Summit, which is the first of many engagements and activities to be undertaken by the group on their week-long stay in Ghana was also addressed by a host of other speakers including, Akwasi Agyeman, CEO, Ghana Tourism Authority, Derrick Johnson, President of NAACP, Gail Nikoi, President of the African American Association of Ghana and Diallo Sumbry, CEO, Adinkra Group.

CEO of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre, Yofi Grant took the gathering through a comprehensive presentation on the business and investment prospects in Ghana, reiterating that the country is full of opportunities, open and with people who are very optimistic about growth and development.

Yofi Grant is the CEO of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre

By: Samuel Obeng Appah

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