The Global Trade Community Gather At Budapest To Attend The 17th World Export Development Forum

Cross Section Of Conference Delegates

The 17th edition of the World Export Development Forum organized by the International Trade Center in partnership with the Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of the Government of Hungary; brought together stakeholders, academia and trade support institutions as well as export promotion councils and business leaders. More than  600 delegates, from 60 nationalities gathered at this year’s forum.

The three days high profile meeting, commenced with a B2B section on the 24th of October and  later preceded on the next day with the official opening of the forum by H.E. Mr. Viktor Orban, Prime Minister of the Government of Hungary, H.E. Mr. Peter Szijjarto, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of the Government of Hungary and Ms. Arancha Gonzalez, Executive Director of the International Trade Center.

Prime Minister of Hungary H.E. Mr. Viktor Orban

The forum attracted speakers from different disciplines with active participation of attendants engaging  in the various plenary sections. Ghana’s involvement on the panel of the 4th plenary, Moving From Agriculture to AgriBusiness had the inspirational story of Edward Poku of Niche Cocoa in Ghana on how challenges can be the motive actor to success. He challenged Africa to be do better in 2030 in improving on  value chain addition and not only be a raw material producer.

Edmund Poku, CEO of Niche Cocoa, Ghana

One of the highlights of the forum was the pitch your idea section that had four finalists of the Young Entrepreneurs Competition, two of whom were from Africa with Michael Ocansey of AgroCenta representing Ghana and  winning the prize money of 5,000euros.

AgroCenta of Ghana,Wins Prize Money of 5000Euros

The forum was used to engage the Executive Director of the International Trade Center on possible working relationships in Africa and strengthening the trade relations especially for women in business in Ghana and in championing the ITC’s SheTrades initiative.

In this photo is Arancha Gonzalez, Executive Director of International Trade Center and Paa Kwesi Inkumsah, Senior Associate of Tradebridge Ghana Ltd.

Also,an  attraction of the forum was how Tradebridge, a private trade support institute based in Ghana with affiliate in the United States, was able to use an innovative way of creating curiosity amongst delegates with it’s popular hot red letter K that created inclusiveness and indulged many delegates to be educated on the networking platform of the organization called Kasabiz, literally meaning let’s talk business.

In this photo is Susanne Pak, Associate Communications Officer of the International Trade Center having a moment with the K












Leadership Through My Eyes

Attendees At Lead2Lead Conference

I recall my time in Westminster Palace, in the House of Commons we discussed a few leadership issues.I had sponsored my self to the high profile meeting because prior to the meeting, even though I had informed the Ghana High Commission in London about the importance of the meeting, I didn’t see any representative there. Perhaps, it was not a priority to attract such investment.

I looked across the room to identify fellow Africans who had traveled to London on the tax payers money. I had listened to most of the conversations and asked myself, if the taxpayer would be happy about how their leaders represent them while away, if they knew some of them didn’t have their interest at heart.

So the issue of leadership in Africa has been challenging, its endemic and ingrained. So when I told my friend that I was attending a leadership event, he said “You know my views on this so called “Leadership Summits” He meant in so many ways that it would be another talk shop, one that would have people wear the best of clothes and come do a talk party, eat the choicest of meals and use their VIP tags to explore all the priveleges  and go back home talking about how great the food was or how they wished they had more drinks.

Well, I had same thoughts, and shared a tweet about it saying ” I hope to hear something that I haven’t heard before that would make a difference”

Well, I attended the Live2Lead event because of the reputation of the individual that invited me and the brand that she represented. I shared the content of the event with another friend who got a ticket and I had my fingers crossed that we weren’t going to be disappointed.

Over the years, John C. Maxwell’s books had inspired and caused a shift in my disposition so I attended the event, and oh, my friend did too and wasn’t disappointed she did.

One thing however got me thinking a lot, I realized during the role call of institutions present, there were a lot from the churches and a few from corporate Ghana and none from any politically affiliated group, so I asked why.

Why did we have a lot of leaders from the Christian faith attend the event in their numbers? someone passed a comment and said, “well, the church shapes our society, so perhaps, its a good thing they came in their numbers to get some knowledge so they can influence their followers positively.”  While I agree, I am also concerned about policy makers who do not invest in seminars and forums like this one.

So at least I heard something that was put differently from how I have received it in the past ” Follow a leader because of what they have seen of the future. Leaders see more than others see and they see before any one else.” John C. Maxwell.

Conference Panelist Mr. Ebo Whyte Sharing His Take On Leadership

This was the international highlight for me during this event.

A Ghanaian playwright, popularly known as Uncle Ebo Whyte, when asked to comment about leadership in Ghana, commented by giving an illustration. He stated that, if there was a ship that docked on the shores of Ghana asking Ghanaians to get aboard to be taken to America, the ship won’t sail because the volume of desperate people that want to leave the shores will sink it.

This was some food for thought, because the challenge of growth and development is a mindset. The playwright had challenged Ghanaians to see the need and take the lead.

If there are many challenges in the country, then perhaps, there are many opportunities to fix these challenge by getting thinkers to offer the solution needed for growth. Unfortunately, the challenge has been lack of thinkers  and people that see beyond obstacles.

I recall when history was told, when the Belgians in South Africa realized they couldn’t go back to their country and were stuck in South Africa, had to create memories of their home country in the new land they found themselves in by developing it to the standard they were used to,hence the development that is much admired today on the land.

The right attitude, coupled with a renewed mindset and a selfless persona that is inspired by servant leadership can build Africa. It’s important however that the cleaning up continues so there is the avoidance of stench which corrupts and becomes endemic to growth and development.