Officials Of Ghana Tourism Day Dreaming At The World Travel Market in Cape Town in April 2018. Photo Credits: Voyage Afriq Media
Just the other day, I read via a friend’s wall that the museum board was laying off workers because they couldn’t make payroll. Then the other day, I visited the tourist board’s twitter account and was appalled by the lack of creativity and innovation. There is no content and the news reported there is nothing a tourist visiting Ghana would be interested in reading.
I had reached out to the ministry of tourism to share ideas that had the potential of improving the industry, but I guess no one is ready or too busy to listen and then I read even more disturbing news. But I am very concerned about the leadership and always maintaining the status quo.
On many occasions, Ghana’s leaders travel outside of the country to attend different stakeholder meetings and come back with no outcomes. Its disappointing that they do not offer younger people with vision and drive the opportunity, as its obvious what most of them go there to do.
They attend these meetings so they can take fat per diems. We must change this status quo, but I realize that nothing will happen if we don’t go ahead and create the change we seek. Just out of curiosity, what value did the CEO of the tourism authority bring back home after attending the WTM in Cape Town when he was found sleeping in an all important meeting together with his officials?
Photo Credits: Voyage Afriq Media
My interest in tourism is primarily because I am a lover of sights and sounds and been a globe trotter, I have seen on first hand how other countries have tapped into the tourism potentials of their countries and developed it. Unfortunately, the people managing tourism in Ghana, are really having a field day.
In my conversation with the organizer of the ChaleWote arts festival, with my good friend Nii Mantse, a festival that is able to attract over 10,000 people from all over the world; I asked him what relationship he had with the tourism board of Ghana and if they had acknowledged his efforts and invited him to be part of any special committee promoting tourism in Ghana. His response however, wasn’t shocking to me because on many occasions, we haven’t celebrated good effort.
“Has the tourism authority considered you as a tourism ambassador in Ghana?” , I asked. His response was simply “ It doesn’t work like that in Ghana bro”
You see, my curiosity is in the fact that the tourism authority fail to see the potential that this festival brings to Ghana every year. I am yet to see any event in Ghana that attracts such crowd like the ChaleWote Festival, yet all it gets from the tourism authority sometimes is police protection.
So I read just a while ago that the deputy CEO of the Ghana Tourism Development Company resigned because of same observations that I had made earlier. Why won’t she resign when there is a system set out to frustrate and impede your creativity and ability to thrive and make things happen?
When I read about this https://www.myjoyonline.com/business/2018/may-8th/gtdc-launch-world-invitational-golf-tournament.php I asked a few questions and it was mainly regarding innovation. I am concerned about the impact this golf tournament has on promoting our tourism when we have several golfing events every year in the country. Key to which is the World Corporate Golf Challenge organized by the ICC Ghana which has the potential of impacting more. Anyway, I think that we are not using Ghana, the center of the world phrase very well, there are a lot that can be done with this to attract a lot of tourism into this country.
You see, this thing about tourism management is simple, there are competent young people that can transform and make the tourism industry in Ghana so attractive if given the opportunity. It’s important to phase out old blood and inject new energies that can do a better job.
My trip to the United States is a blend of pleasure and business, but knowing me, It becomes more business than pleasure. Prior to my departure from my home country Ghana, I had sent emails to the Ghana mission in New York and Washington announcing my presence in the country and asking for the possibility of meeting the team in the embassy to discuss relevant things. Little did I know that I would be faced with the biggest challenge ever of having access to what is supposed to be my country’s high commission. Do I need any special protocol to access my states people? I am very concerned because if something as common as answering the phone becomes another bureaucratic process, I wonder where we are heading to.
From meetings in New York and getting on the phone to talk to the Ghana mission in New York and Washington, I concluded that the government of Ghana either made very wrong decisions selecting the team that works at the embassies or they have ill trained personnels working there. How do we even begin to talk about trade or tourism promotion when the first point of call, the gate way to the country isn’t responsive?
One of the key purpose of the establishment of missions, I believe is to look out for the interest of citizens, but I doubt if this is the case of Ghana as I have heard most Ghanaians living here complain bitterly about how inefficient the system is and how they have had to go through many challenges to access simple services as passport renewals.
I read on the Ghana New York website a few reasons for relocating to Ghana and it included:
A stable political environment, with established democratic institutions and systems to ensure good governance.
Abundant, adaptable, easily trainable and cost-effective labour force.
Excellent sea and air connections with Europe and the USA
A strategic and central location within the West Africa sub-region providing access to a total market of around 250 million people. A dynamic private sector willing to collaborate with foreign partners. A high degree of personal safety.
While most of these remain true, I am not too sure about how investors can be convinced to invest in Ghana when the first point of contact which usually is the missions are not ready to engage. While these observations are from my personal view and experiences, I know that many others have experienced same and agree that to attract investments, we must be ready.
Unfortunately, I don’t feel this readiness especially with our missions abroad, its almost like people forget where they are, why they are there and the agenda they are supposed to be promoting.
Must it be the case always that we must call in favors to access our own embassies to access information? and even in the cases for some of us that can call in favors, it takes a very long time to even get responses so I wonder what the missions are busy doing and not having dedicated people to come to the phone.
You see, I realized earlier that the challenge is not where Ghanaians are, but its the mindset that needs to change. If you visit the Ghana mission’s website in New York, there is a link to access relevant ministries in Ghana, key to which includes https://ghanaconsulatenewyork.org/useful_links.php but guess what when you contact the email addresses there? you are lucky if you receive a response. Is it that we are not e-commerce savvy as well, especially in a fast technologically paced global space?
On this same website, one of the very important part of any economy trade, has the website link http://www.moti.gov.gh/home/ not working so I am wondering where visitors should go to to access relevant trade information
Developing countries usually require foreign direct investments and increased market access for their goods and services to help grow their economies, and embassies play key roles in bringing these into the country. We need to have effective leadership in all our diplomatic missions. I am beginning to question the role Ghana’s missions play abroad. So let’s consider a simple scenario of a foreign investor who has heard so much about Ghana, excited about the prospects there and wanting to do some business, calls the contacts online and sends several emails and receives no response. What do you think is going to happen? Your guess is as good as mine.
Information must be readily available and accessible, we must remove all barriers that affects and limits trade in our country and foster ways of creating investor friendly relations. The typical lackadaisical Ghanaian attitude that we import abroad must stop, we must quickly adopt a global mindset of approaching business and development and endeavor as much as possible to be good stewards and ambassadors of our country. We must be meticulous with information we put out there and ensure that people are responsive. I love Ghana, committed to Ghana and will continue to work on my efforts to promote the center of the world. We must all get involved to build something great and beautiful
The agreement will according to Afreximbank president Benedict Oramah “address some of the key bottlenecks faced by African agricultural exporters, particularly small and medium-scale enterprises operating in agro-processing and light manufacturing sub-sectors, in effectively competing in international trade and increasing their participation in regional and global agricultural value chains”.
ETC is an agricultural supply chain manager specialising in African commodities. By financing ETC’s activities, the idea is to help African farmers access new regional and international markets.
Oramah describes the firm as “a catalyst for the growth of intra-African trade”, noting that it is creating “strong and reliable agricultural value chains across Africa” by bringing agricultural produce from the farm gate to processing facilities and processed and manufactured goods to the market.
Specifically, the facility will fund the sourcing, processing and transportation of soft commodities of African origin, and support procurement of key agricultural inputs, such as fertiliser, seeds and other chemicals, which would be supplied across the continent.
The facility is provided as part of Afreximbank’s intra-African trade strategy, in which the bank commits to support the emergence and expansion of export trading companies as a quick way of accelerating the growth of intra-African trade.
After a few years of great partnerships of the SheTrades initiative in third world and developing economies around the globe and over many years since the establishment of the International Trade Center, its building every day and growing its numbers especially as it relates to women in trade. While the SheTrades portal offers a great opportunity for women entrepreneurs to connect verified buyers and sellers, it’s also gradually growing to be the movement it was cut out for i.e. a community of women developing new friendships and partnerships in business across the globe.
Ethel Cofie, CEO of Edel Technology Consulting
There has been a lot of talk about the initiative and many campaigns held and in several countries, awareness has been created in the quest to connect one million women to market by 2020, an ambition that is been worked on with such alacrity and great speed. West Africa in the month of November 2017 had a taste of it with the initiative traveling to Ghana and Nigeria. With Anna Mori and Loly Gaitan been great officers of the ITC working with passion and drive to support women in business.
Loly Gaitan of the ITC in action; explains the SheTrades initiative to Japhet Duga, a business leader.
In this picture is Mr. Doni Kwame, MD of the World Trade Center( immediate left) Loly Gaitan (ITC,Geneva) and Paa Kwesi Inkumsah (TradeBridge Ghana Ltd)
Seeing approximately 95 women all in one space in a meeting that had targeted a maximum of 60 people was overwhelming , we had to close the doors to prevent the excessive numbers that kept trooping in.
This first pilot of the workshop in Ghana, proofs that there is the need for knowledge for women entrepreneurs to expand, grow and build. My first hand interaction with many of the women entrepreneurs revealed a few need areas key to which was access to finance for some,creating marketing for others as well as assistance with getting ready for the export market for others.
One key interest that immediately tested the relevance of the workshop was how both corporate and public sector leaders in Ghana pledged their support for women in export.
It was even more refreshing when a lady walked to me to say a big thanks for convincing her to stay and sharing with me the instant value she had been connected to a buyer for her oil palm business.
Chiedza Makonnen, SheTrades Beneficiary in Ghana and Lawrence Agyinsam, CEO of EximBank, Ghana
While many have good products, I realized with keen interest that there was also a challenge with packaging themselves to be more attractive and sort out for. The many examples shared by women leaders, breaking barriers in technology and other areas from Ghana and Kenya offered great value as motive actors to encourage women to keep on going.
While women have been more entrepreneurial especially in sub saharan Africa, they have been the most marginalized and its a new dawn for them to receive the support they need to keep shining their light in trade and export.
President of the Chartered Institute of Bankers, Mrs. Patricia Sappor supports the SheTrades Initiative.
Women were encouraged that sometimes they win and sometimes, they learn as the affable president of the chartered institute of bankers in Ghana, Mrs. Patricia Sappor threw more light on the need for financial discipline of women entrepreneurs, a point that was well received and buttressed by Mr. Lawrence Agyinsam, CEO of Exim Bank Ghana who pledged his support as much as possible to position Ghana as an export ready market.
To make the SheTrades initiative work requires the support of all, both male and female and its great to know that there are a lot of men supporting women in this effort. It was very touching to see a husband that came with his wife and took on the responsibility of baby sitting his child as well as nephew so both mothers, all business owners could focus on the business of the day. In many small ways, every one is making that contribution to ensure the success of this initiative.
The day long activity ended on a great note with women networking with each other, full of energy, hope and the ability to do more and win more.
Supporting The SheTrades Initiative with Amazing Women
(Geneva-Nairobi-Accra) – The International Trade Centre (ITC), the African Guarantee Fund (AGF) and the Nordic Development Fund (NDF) have announced that the Third Green Financing for Sustainable Development Conference will be held in Accra, Ghana, at the Mövenpick Ambassador Hotel on 21 November 2017.
The conference will be followed by a training workshop for selected staff from selected financial institutions on how to lever green finance and the AGF Green Guarantee Facility. The training workshop for financial institutions is by invitation only and will take place on 23-25 November at the Best Western Plus Accra Beach Hotel.
The conference and consecutive training workshops aim to expand access to climate-focused finance for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Africa and are in line with the Government of Ghana’s efforts to green the country’s economy.
The conference will provide an opportunity to review the current status of green finance in Ghana and the country’s efforts to green its economy. Ministers and representatives from the Ghanaian public sector will share their experience and lessons learnt from implementing the ‘Ghana Shared Growth and Development Agenda II’, and the ‘National Climate Change Policy’. Participants from other countries will explore the perspectives of regulators and finance providers and the changes required to spur the development of new products and services.
This conference and the workshops are part of a partnership between ITC, AGF and NDF to promote sustainable finance in Africa in four pilot countries. In addition to this third event in Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire will host a similar event for francophone countries in the first quarter of 2018. The first event was organised in Zambia in March 2017, and another was held in Kenya in June 2017.
Officially launched on 1 June 2012, the African Guarantee Fund is a pan-African non-bank financial institution owned by the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) and the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID). AGF’s primary mandate is to assist financial institutions in Africa to scale up their SME financing through the provision of partial loan guarantees and capacity development assistance.
About the Nordic Development Fund
Established by Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden in 1989, NDF is a joint Nordic finance institution focusing exclusively on climate change and development in low income countries. It supports public and private sector led climate finance operations across Africa, Asia and Latin America and became an AGF shareholder in 2016 with the launch of the green guarantee facility.
About the International Trade Centre
ITC is the joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations. ITC assists small and medium-sized enterprises in developing and transition economies to become more competitive in global markets, thereby contributing to sustainable economic development within the frameworks of the Aid-for-Trade agenda and the Global Goals for Sustainable Development.