In April 2023, the World Trade Center Savannah team led a delegation to participate in the World Trade Centers Association General Assembly in Accra, Ghana to build valuable connections with the African market and explore trade and investment opportunities in the Sub-Saharan African region. The mission also offered opportunities to connect delegates consisting of leaders from business, government, academia, and international organizations with the World Trade Center Association’s global network that reaches nearly 100 countries.
Among the key networking receptions, themes included climate change mitigation and sustainable development, power and mining, and real estate and public infrastructure. H.E. Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, Vice President of the Republic of Ghana, emphasized how Ghana is at the forefront to promote Africa’s potential to attract foreign investment, the Global Legal Entity Identification for businesses in Ghana, and the need for Africa to invest in innovative technology to advance its competitiveness in the global market. H.E. Wamkele Mene, Secretary-General of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) Secretariat, spoke about the steps Africa has taken towards economic integration including through the establishment of the Pan-African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS), which ensures seamless trade between African countries using a digital payment system.
In addition, panel discussions were hosted with the World Bank and African Development Bank. Business meetings and company visits helped to facilitate direct connections between businesses located in Ghana and those located in Georgia’s southeast region. “With the outlook of demographic growth to double in the next 25 years, the opportunities are there in Africa. As the WTCA, we want to support this growth through our business network and positively affect wealth and prosperity to enhance peace and harmony on the Continent,” said John E. Drew, Chair, Board of Directors of the WTCA. “With 15 World Trade Center licenses established across Africa — including a new location set to open in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia — the WTCA is committed to promoting investment and trade opportunities throughout the Continent. There is a real desire for our network to do business there.”
Participants had opportunities to learn more about the local economy by visiting the Tema oil refinery, the Asogli Power Plant Ekumfi (pineapple plantation and processing factory), and the Dawhenya greenhouse and irrigation project. Finally, three different tours were offered, giving attendees the opportunity to travel through Accra City, the Aburi Mountains, Safari Valley, Cape Coast, Elmina, and the Volta Region.
The connections fostered during the trip spanned numerous sectors of industry, many of which are crucial to Georgia’s southeast region. Some of the primary target sectors were Agriculture & Fishing, Mining, Power & Energy, Water, while secondary sectors included Food Processing, Manufacturing, Building & Construction. Finally, tertiary target sectors were Banking & Finances, Retailing, Information & Communication Technology (ICT).
The trip was successful not only in offering business matchmaking opportunities, but also in strengthening global trade education across all regions involved. The connections made will be sure to strengthen international trade and investment as the global relationships in the Savannah region and the surrounding southeast region continue to multiply.