The 2nd Western Business Investment Fair, 2014 has ended in Takoradi in the Western Region. The four-day event under the theme "PROMOTING TRADE AND INVESTMENT THROUGH EFFECTIVE BUSINESS NETWORK" provided a platform for exhibition of businesses in all sectors of the economy in a one stop shop event. The exhibition also attracted businesses from sectors such as trade, manufacturing, agricultural, and services from small and medium scale enterprises to large organizations in and outside the Region.
The fair created opportunities for businesses in the region and those planning to enter the region to form strategic partnerships. It also aimed at creating alliances and cooperation between potential investors and other stakeholders within the region.
The Minister for Trade and Industry, Hon. Ekow Spio-Garbrah lauded the Business and Financial Times for the Western Region Business Investment Fair (WEBIF) saying it had the potential for attracting investment into the Western Region to create wealth and provide jobs for the teeming unemployed youth. This "drive is consistent with the thinking and vision of government, which is that we must have balanced development across the ten regions of Ghana, with every part of the country attracting its fair share of both public and private investment", he said
He reiterated that, government was doing her part by making investment policies, building infrastructure and creating a stable macroeconomic framework, giving the private sector the right environment to find opportunities to invest and create businesses that will provide decent jobs and incomes for the people. He said, promoting investment and balanced regional development requires a partnership between government and the private sector, and was grateful for this private sector-driven initiative.
By organising this fair, he noted B&FT is playing a critical role in achieving balanced regional development through the promotion of business and investment activities. He said resources and opportunities outside Accra are not known to investors and companies, both local and foreign. There's therefore a certain information and knowledge gap, which must be closed to draw more people to invest in the regions.
He said, the Regional Business and Investment Fair is a tool to address this information and knowledge gap and that through these fairs, we are able to unearth the riches, talents and opportunities in a specific region of interest, which then arms the private sector with the information they need to make investment decisions.
He added that, the Western Region is very important to our country's economic development. "If Ghana is today known as the world's second-largest cocoa grower, it is due to the hardworking cocoa farmers of the Western Region, whose collective efforts contribute more than half of national cocoa production" he added.
In retrospect, the Minister noted that, since the discovery of oil here in 2007, this region has become even more important to the nation's economy. He said, government has taken due cognisance of this in its development vision for the country and is planning and undertaking various transformative infrastructure projects in the region, the biggest being the Atuabo gas infrastructure which will help to reduce the cost of electricity and improve the reliability of its supply.
He said, government also plans to expand the road infrastructure of the region to open it up for more investment. Many of these investments are being financed from the revenues from oil, showing that we are keen on ensuring that the people here benefit justifiably from the oil that is produced from their land.
He emphasized that, "as a government they were keen to support every effort to tap the vast potential of the region to grow the economy and create jobs. In this regard, they would strongly work with the chiefs and people of the region, as well as the local government leaderships to launch initiatives to stimulate and diversify the economy".
He encouraged the companies and investors to market not just their products and services, but also network and explore partnerships to expand their operations to the Western Region.
The Western Regional Minister, Hon. Evans Aidoo, reaffirmed his commitment to providing the congenial atmosphere for the private sector to thrive.
Hon. Capt. (Rtd) Anthony Richard Cudjoe, Municipal Chief Executive, also reaffirmed his commitment as key partners to the 2nd Western Business and investment Fair 2014 to ensure tangible results for both the city and investors.
Over thirty (30) companies made up of manufacturing, industrial, financial, communication, business organisations, and other organisation such as the PURC, participated in the fair.
Source: ISD (MICHAEL S. OCLOO)