Zimbabwe-Ghana business forum opens Mr Allan Majuru

Golden Sibanda in Accra, Ghana


THE Zimbabwe-Ghana business forum, designed to explore trade opportunities between the two friendly nations, opens today in the west African nation’s capital city, Accra, and runs until Wednesday this week.

Zimbabwean businesses are expected to reap significant benefits presented by the African Continental Free Trade Area, which the two countries are signatories to and came into force in January last year, when they engage potential business partners from the west African nation at the forum.

Organised by national trade development and promotion agency, ZimTrade, Zimbabwe’s premier trade promotion statutory body, several senior Ghanaian Government officials are expected to attend the event.

Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to Ghana Mr Kufa Edward Chinoza is also scheduled to deliver a presentation on the cordial relations between the two countries and the strategies mooted to transform cordial relations between the countries into fruitful and mutual business and economic opportunities for both countries.

The forum will start with a business conference on Monday, where senior Ghanaian and Zimbabwean Government officials as well as captains of industry are expected to make presentations followed by business to business meetings and interactions on Tuesday and Wednesday.

During the forum, Zimbabwean businesses will engage potential business partners in Ghana, including leading prospective buyers who are expected to take local products across that market and to neighbouring West-African countries.

The programme complements current efforts by President Mnangagwa to improve the business footprint of Zimbabwe on the continent, riding on the economic diplomacy agenda being implemented by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, together with business support institutions such as ZimTrade.

More than 200 private sector players in Ghana have confirmed attendance, drawn from sectors such as fast-moving consumer goods (FMCGs), leather and leather products, building and construction, and agriculture inputs and implements.

ZimTrade Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Allan Majuru, earlier this month said the programme had generated excitement from businesses in Ghana which are looking at several areas of trade, investment, and tourism in the southern African nation.

“We are working closely with partners in Ghana and the private sector in that country are anticipating positive returns from engagements with Zimbabwean businesses.

“What we are working on is ensuring that a sizable group of Zimbabwean businesses will match the large number of private sector players who have been mobilized in the country,” Mr Majuru said.

Mr Majuru added that the participating local companies were expected to forge strong linkages with companies in Ghana, which will be crucial in distributing Zimbabwean products across west Africa.

“Businesses in Ghana have established strong business networks with countries in the region such as Ivory Coast, Togo, Liberia, Benin, Burkina Faso, Mali, and Nigeria.

“So the end game for local companies is to establish networks in Ghana that will be used to distribute Zimbabwean products across the region.

“This way, we are confident that we will improve the visibility of Zimbabwean products in new markets in Africa,” said Mr. Majuru.

There are opportunities for Zimbabwean companies to supply products such as biscuits, sweets, cordials and cereals, dairy products through distributors or to establish warehouse facilities.

The business forum in Accra follows a market survey conducted by ZimTrade last year, where vast opportunities for Zimbabwean businesses were identified in sectors such as processed foods, agriculture inputs and implements, and leather and leather products.

Ghana is a country of 31 million people with a fast-growing, young, globally and digitally connected population. Beyond its traditional industries of agriculture, mining – and more recently, oil and gas production – Ghana’s digital, financial services, education, and franchising sectors are growing fast.

The West African country has established itself as a prime destination for tourism, manufacturing and agro-processing, and together with Nigeria, these markets constitute some of the leading economies in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

Ghana is a net importer of fast-moving consumer goods, consisting largely of processed food items. Currently, the market share in the retail sector in Ghana is 70 percent multinationals, and 30 percent local brands, as revealed by most retail businesses in Ghana.

At a glance, ZimTrade’s survey of the market showed that most of the products on the shelves are imported mainly from Europe, United Kingdom, United States, and Dubai.

Some of the African supplying markets include South Africa.

Considering Zimbabwe’s proximity to the market, there is room to increase the penetration of local products in the market, if companies come up with competitive logistics routes that will land products cheaper.

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