Reawakening Gambian Culture Through Trade – and Vice Versa

Ghana to host Third Green Financing for Sustainable Development Conference

(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.

Ghana

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.

For registrations, click here.

About the African Guarantee Fund

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.

SheTrades Workshop To Be Hosted In Ghana By The International Trade Center On November 22nd 2017

A GOAL: Connect 1 million women to market by 2020

Women’s economic empowerment is not a matter for government policy, the private sector, or civil society alone. All have critical roles to play. This is why the International Trade Centre (ITC) has launched the SheTrades initiative, which seeks to connect one million women entrepreneurs to market by 2020.

Having more women in the marketplace has a positive impact businesses in all sectors and the women themselves who benefit from a larger workforce, more competition, and as a result more choices between better products.  In fact, the McKinsey Global Institute estimates that advancing women’s equality could add US $28 trillion to global GDP by 2025, enabling economies to unlock their full potential –and SheTrades is the key.

A BLUEPRINT: Seven global actions to ensure success

While women’s economic empowerment has been on the global development agenda for almost two decades, knowledge about female entrepreneurship has been fragmentary, and the business and economic cases have not been fully articulated. Our months’ long consultations in 2015 with thought leaders around the world sought to ramp up the trajectory towards eradicating extreme poverty by 2030. These consultations revealed that a key challenge is the persisting silos between the various actors working in this area, as well as the substantive components of women’s enterprise development including research, policy, finance, access to markets and capacity building.

Stakeholders ranging from financial institutions to research and multilateral organisations are called upon to collaborate with ITC to expand opportunities for women entrepreneurs by making specific, actionable pledges.

SheTrades Workshop In Accra

SheTrades Workshop in Ghana 22 November 2017 Is a workshop designed to build up the knowledge of women entrepreneurs on sourcing opportunities for funding such as Green Finance and to raise awareness on the ITC (International Trade Center) SheTrades Initiative as a solution to expand their networks, access finance and connect to global value chains (i.e. with potential buyers and investors). The opportunity is opened to women entrepreneurs who are export ready. Contact events@trbridge.com for participation information.

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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

http://www.intracen.org/news/WEDF-2017-opening-remarks/

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

http://www.intracen.org/AgroCenta-of-Ghana-announced-winner-of-WEDF-Young-Entrepreneurs-Competition/

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.

If You Can’t Honor Your Word, Don’t Make A Commitment

Some people take so many things for granted when it comes to business. First of all,  if any one decided to do business with you, its because they have built some level of trust, confidence and to some extent relationship with you. Honoring your word is a key test of a person’s reputation or commitment.

When you say yes, it means you have verbally accepted a proposal to honor your word with the delivery of a service or product. It’s important that before you say yes, you think through the request hard and long so that you don’t end up messing up your hard earned reputation.

Scenario 1:

David, a young man in the print industry is an example I would like to to share today. Our first meet up was via the computer. I had googled print companies in Ghana and chanced by his company  www.customandprint.com

I thought that his concept was interesting and for a minute didn’t think that it was a company in Ghana as people around here are still getting used to doing things online. But his business model was awesome, I loved it  because it offered convenience and no time wasting and so I tried my first order.

David personally delivered my first t-shirts when the courier company failed to pick up my order from his office. Showing up at my residence and he had worn my trust. He said he would deliver and he had honored his word. David assured me that if I had any challenge with the order, he would personally pick it up and replace it at no charge to me. Well, a few days later, I noticed a challenge, gave him a call, showed him the evidence and in no time, he drove personally to pick up the product for a replacement like he said he would.

What this had done for me as a client is strengthen my trust for him and his company and increased his reputation as a service provider. It has harnessed our relationship and its what will make me a loyal customer.

Scenario 2

Jeremy and I have known  each other for some years, although not perfect, had delivered on most occasions until now. Complacency is something that we have to be mindful of if we are running a business. We must be even more mindful when our customer base increases. This is a good reason to be more creative and find new ways of delivering on our word. Many customers means, you have to stop thinking as a sole proprietor and seek partnerships or joint venture else, you end up taking on too much and destroying your hard earned reputation.

Jeremy is overwhelmed, he has taken on too much that he can handle and this is affecting his delivery. He has began making excuses.

Excuses, can be a way of  reducing our reputation. Customers like people that always find a way to solve a challenge instead of giving reasons why something can’t be done or having a narrow approach to solving a challenge.

I had given Jeremy an opportunity to earn, he had said yes, began the delivery process but jumped ship when he hit a road block. Instead of looking at how to deal with this challenge, he decided to find the easy way out without thinking of the long term effects.

Sometimes we all do this, we allow our emotions to have  the best part of us  especially while engaged in the delivery process as service providers. What happened to the customer is right all the time? Whilst some people would argue this, I think that the statement helps service provider to always give off their best. So let’s just say that you as a service provider is right and the customer is wrong.

How do you communicate this information in a way that is a win win. I have observed that hearing the customers complaints or challenge is a way of improving our own skill sets and strengthening our brand. If a customer makes an observation, its because its a challenge.

So after agreeing on delivering the service and only honoring his word for a few days instead of what was intended, Jeremy refuses to answer his phone or return my calls after several attempts. I got very frustrated, angry and disappointed for this kind of treatment. I felt that he had disrespected me. Instead of going on to fix the challenge, he was very adamant and kept on defending his own position and why he did what he did.

Who amongst these two would you continue to do business with?

Your Name Is Your Identity

I am blessed as an African to have an identity, but this identity was ridiculed and threatened by my own. While I loved my name and what it meant, I had questioned it a few times based on how my peers made me feel.

It was a difficult thing trying to decipher why they would laugh at the mention of my name  since we all grew up in the same country, until I grew up. I felt sad but at that age, I wanted to change my name  real bad and have one like theirs.

A few of them would ask “how come your name is so local?” I smiled each time and told them because I was local.
That was so they stopped bothering me, but my mother would always have it when I got home that day from school.
“Mum, why don’t I have a name like yours?” I would ask almost angry that I was given this name.


She would smile and say, “son, no one gets confused when their eyes are closed and they hear your name, they immediately know you are African, but I think that they would get confusedif they heard mine because they would be inclined to think that I was European, your name is powerful, your ancestors have blessed you and so anytime you go to school and they bother you,tell them that” She would say.


I felt better and the next day with my chest out, proud and bold, I would tell them how important my name was.
It’s been many years since grade school and now, I see most of my colleagues change their names to assume their local identity.
Love your name and by all means, don’t settle for any compromises.

The Depth of the Ga Language in Ghana

My country Ghana has over 46 dialects spoken all across the country and perhaps a few more that are not documented yet. In a recent conversation with a friend on social media I was inclined to give my response to an observation he made by writing in his local dialect, Ga.

Instead of saying thank you in English, I wrote in Ga “Oyiwaladon” while thank you in my language means “medaasi” the same response is rather in-depth in the Ga language. The delivery of the response is a bestowment  of blessings.

It talks about life, and the extension of it. The statement is an invocation of a certain exoteric order. I am trying to understand why the Ga’s respond in this manner which is different from many other  tribes in Ghana.

Ga is classified as Kwa languages, often specified as New Kwa, are a proposed but as yet undemonstrated family of languages spoken in the south eastern part of Ivory coast, across Southern Ghana, and in central Togo.

The name was introduced in 1895 by Gottlob Krause and derives from the word for ‘people’ (Kwa) in many of these languages, as illustrated by Akan names.

It’s interesting to note that the Ga language is a western representative of the western Kwa subfamily of languages within the Niger-Congo family. It has a closer relationship to Yoruba in its tonality and cognates than to the immediately neighboring sub family of Akan languages and an even closer relationship to its eastern neighbor, Ewe. It’s understandable why it’s similar to Yoruba. I think part of this history is due to the fact that the Ga’s had migrated from Ketu in Nigeria and settled in Ghana. For me, what remains interesting is the composition of the words.

I  have also noticed how the Ga’s refer to the divine presence of God. Ataa Naa Nyumo which translates to represents both male and female. Ataa which means father, elderly and Naa referring to queen. So again, my analysis is why they chose to use the male figure to represent the elderly, father and refer to the female as queen in the God head? Many other tribes refer to God as a male and quite intriguing that the Ga’s see both. Permit me to conclude, that the Ga’s don’t discriminate when it comes to having the best representation of the divine head.

 

Tell Me About Your Accommodation In Ghana?

 

 

Amazing experience, a hustle free rental process

The importance of accommodation can not be over emphasized and the current housing deficit in Ghana presents an opportunity and a challenge at once. While the real estate industry could be the next gold mine in the country, its non enforceable rent control regulations has made the cost of living very expensive and not encouraging a lot of savings.

Not  long ago MoveHub, an international relocation company  rated Ghana as the most expensive country to live in on the African continent. While this is arguable, the research findings was based on a few factors and  assessment on a range of costs, such as the price of groceries, transport, bills, restaurants and rents.

It was easy for me to find accommodation and  arrange a monthly pay plan any where else but Ghana.

The challenge of a rent advance almost impossible for most people, could also be due to a few factors. In my opinion, I think that the lack of credit worthiness of some or most Ghanaians push landlords to charge at least 24 months rent advance. They don’t have to worry about collecting their money until after two years and they can use the bulk sum to solve immediate challenges. This too is understandable.

While landlords argue that the cost of building and the investments they make developing the properties doesn’t not give them such flexibility to provide a short term rental service, prospective tenants complain about the long term tenancy agreements.

I have always considered ways of making accommodation affordable but almost always hit with some road block because it didn’t matter how hard I tried, the problem didn’t seem to go away.

During my monthly business light talks called Kasabiz, I was very happy to engage a patriot of the land who has also being concerned about this challenge and had taken proactive measures to ensure that this challenge be come a thing of the past. A true stalwart and an astute individual with a high sense of quality and attention to detail.

He had observed his living standards in his resident country Canada and over the years had tried to offer some level of comfort to Ghanaians by bridging the housing gap and offering an alternative solution in a secure environment with an awesome condominiums to assist Ghanaians.

Dr. George Obeng a well composed almost perfect even in his imperfect state as described his modest self in the very subtle of reaction, is a good example of the many Ghanaians doing amazing. For the first time that I know of, its very simple and easy to rent an estate. Register for a visit, fill up property details form, wait for a response and you are good as gold to have an amazing experience in any of the condos with an all inclusive pay plan.

So when next you are in Ghana with the family and for a longer stay, I recommend you check out www.summerhillestate.com

You may want to consider the options available to you if you live in Ghana and exploring a more flexible way to make rent.

 

Tourism Is A Serious Money Making Business, Let’s Pay More Attention To It

Ghana’s Stand At The World Travel Market

Every time there is the world travel market in London, I see Ghana’s participation, but can close my eyes and be sure that the setting will be the same because it would lack creativity. If its not the usual white tables decorated with the famous Kente cloth, a pride of Ghana, It would perhaps be another color and a few tour companies buying stands and exhibiting their brochures and flyers on the little table they paid for. It looks like petty trading in Ghana and we all know what petty trading is, its petty.

How does a country expect people to be attracted to invest in its  tourism industry if it isn’t projecting it right? So these are a few things that I think Ghana can do to be more attractive and visible.

There are amazing tourist attractions in the country with awesome history. Take for instance the Larabanga Mosque, the Kakum National Park, Cape Coast Castle and the Independence Arch to mention a few.

Ghana, Larabanga Mosque
“After restoration”
I am sure that if the tourist board had a robust team, creative and innovative enough, it will be able to attract funding that would enable the country to have miniature outer models of these attractions to be modeled as space setup during exhibitions,use traditional furniture like the native stools to showcase our furniture. Starting a conversation playing a game of Oware during the exhibition, is a good ice breaker and can tell a lot of stories and give a lot of value to visitors.

If you must take a miss tourism Ghana to showcase the country, please make sure that they are in full kente regalia and not showcasing a contemporary style of the proper wearing of the cloth as this takes away the true value and appreciation of the cloth.

Paa Kwesi Inkumsah With Miss Ghana Tourism 2013 At World Travel Market

I had  a very good impression of Kenya with how they sold the country each time, by bringing real Masai warriors who only don’t wear their clothes just for the  exhibition but to showcase their pride and joy everywhere they went in London. That said a lot got people curious to know more. No wonder this country is a strong tourism haven on the coast of Africa.

My first experience with the Masai warrior was to request a photo opportunity to add to my collection of awesome traditional apparels and to show off that I met a real Masai warrior. During my photo moment with him, I held the spear of the warrior while the shot was taken. Note: The spear of the Masai is only held by him, so I was honored to have this privilege.

Masai Warrior at World Travel Market

My friend who wanted a photo moment too, wasn’t lucky as the warrior resisted and told him to visit Kenya and earn his stripes as a warrior. It would be the only way he would earn the right to hold a spear.

Holding the spear of the Masai is an honor as with that spear, he killed a lion.

I am happy to have had this opportunity.

Masai Warrior Spotted At London tube platform going for WTM

 

So the only way I had access to this information was first the attraction of the Masai in shape and form. Ghana’s Kente has a rich history that can be told to the world, our name “Gold Coast” has a lot of richness too and the display of gold ornaments as main accessories will go a long way to sell the rich resources of the land. Taking the very day plus size Ghanaian woman for these exhibitions depicts the true nature of our people as we are know by our curves and various contours.

Language is one thing we must learn to  use and having Akwaaba Ghana will be an ideal introduction. Depending on which day of the week we are exhibiting, we can have various themes created to present a unique, awesome experience. If I am right, I think Ghana is one of the few countries in the world that names her people depending on the day of week and this I think is clever and something that can be sold to the rest of the world.

I would love to engage any department in tourism regarding the destination of the various areas in the country.