Ghana, the host country to the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and Barbados, the single market to the Caribbean, have initiated steps to leverage on their age long ties to increase trade and investment in their respect countries.
The move is aimed at harnessing the opportunities and commercial advantages in each country for mutual economic gains.
To this end, the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) on Monday, March 7, hosted the Barbados Prime Minister and her entourage in Accra to a business forum.
Dubbed, “Ghana-Barbados Roundtable,” the forum, presented the entourage, the opportunity to interact with some private sector players on ways it could help the Island community tap into the trade and investment opportunities in Ghana.
Areas that both countries are seeking to explore include agriculture, tourism, music, finance, health biotechnology, renewable energy,sports, Information and Communication Technology (ICT), and digital technology, life sciences, aviation, and logistics.
Ghanaian private sector businesses that participated in the forum are Goldstar, represented by Group Chief Executive Officer, Eric Bannerman, Air, CAL Bank, MEST, IT Consortium, Hubtel, ExpressPay, Tobinco Pharmaceutical Limited (TPL), Ernest Chemists Limited (ECL), McDan Shipping, LMI Holdings, Ghana Tourism Authority, ERA Group, Association of Ghana industries, Alisa Hotel, SIC Life, Phoenix Capital Group and Obsidian Archenar.
Speaking at the forum, the Prime Minister of Barbados, Ms Mia Amor Mottley,said enormous opportunities abound for her country to benefit on the African continent, particularly, Ghana, through the AfCFTA.
On the other hand, she said Ghana and other African countries could also use Barbados as the pivot to reach Caribbean countries for economic gains.
“I genuinely believe that there are several investment opportunities for both countries, opportunities to trade are great given the diversity of the businesses (private sector) I see sitting around this table,” she said.
Ms Mottley, noted that currently, Africa had a youth population and labour force, which could propel economic growth that no other continent in the world had.
The Ambassador of Barbados to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Mr David Commissiong, emphasised that there were trade and commercial opportunities which could be capitalised on to deepen trade relations between the two countries.
He said Barbados would establish stronger ties with Ghana to engender business development and commerce, and said, the establishment of their Embassy and a Commercial Attaché in the country was an evidence of the new trade direction.
For his part, the Deputy Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the GIPC, Mr Yaw AmoatengAfriyie, reiterated that the AfCFTA Secretariat in Ghana would serve as a point of entry for Barbadian businesses to enter the markets of other African Countries.
He said: “We should not lose sight of the fact that Ghana is home to the AfCFTA Secretariat, which provides excellent commercial springboard for Barbadian, Caribbean and other companies into a market of about 1.3 billion people.”
The Greater Accra Regional Chairman of the Ghana Association of Industries (AGI), MrTsonam Cleanse Akpeloo, said through the partnership between Ghana and Barbados, the two countries would help in the facilitation of trade in Africa and the Caribbean.