Dr Agnes Adu (left), CEO, Ghana Trade Fair Company, together with some dignitaries, officially launching the 24th Ghana International Trade Fair 2020.
The Ghana International Trade Fair (GITF) will this year be held in Tamale, the Northern Regional capital, from February 27 to March 8, 2020.
It will be the second time the region will host the trade fair, after the initial one in 2016.
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Over 600 indigenous and foreign companies are expected to participate in the event, scheduled for the Aliu Mahama Sports Stadium.
The fair will, among other things, expose the potential and opportunities that exist in the north to visitors and the outside world.
The 10-day fair will be held on the theme: “Value addition: Trading globally”.
At a press event in Accra yesterday to launch the fair, a Deputy Minister of Trade and Industries, Mr Carlos Ahenkorah, in a speech read on his behalf, said the theme for the event was anchored on the 10 pillars of the government’s industrial transformation agenda.
“For Ghanaian businesses to compete favourably with their international counterparts, it is vital that they consider adding value, which is an essential component of global trade. There Is the need for them to adopt value chain addition to achieve innovation in their quest for global acceptance,” he said.
Embedded in the value addition agenda, he said, were three of the industrial transformation goals — enhancing domestic retail infrastructure, developing small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and export.
He said the government and the Ministry of Trade were embarking on value addition initiatives to help small, medium and large-scale business outfits to position themselves to compete favourably with international competitors.
“We are happy the 24th GITF 2020 is leading in the value addition agenda,” he said, adding: “What this brings to the table is very enormous in economic importance.”
Mr Ahenkorah said fairs such as the 24th GITF provided the platform for businesses to position themselves to tap into long-range business prospects, revamp their fortunes and place themselves on the road to recovery, as well as improve their competitive vitality and launch into the huge potential that adding value to products held in the business world.
The deputy minister congratulated the board and the management of the Ghana Trade Fair Company Limited (GTFCL) on organising such an important annual economic activity targeted at industrialising the country.
Moreover, he said, the theme was in response to the President’s quest to position Ghana beyond aid.
He said the GTFCL’s core mandate to facilitate trade and industry through the organisation or exhibitions and fairs afforded it the opportunity to expose SMEs to the global world, pursuant to the government’s industrial transformation agenda.
“Making Ghanaian products and services internationally competitive requires business owners to be innovative in their approaches to achieving value addition.
“The ministry will try and assist in whatever way we can to make sure that products and services made in Ghana achieve the kind of value chain addition needed to make them competitive, both locally and internationally,” Mr Ahenkorah added.
For her part, the Chief Executive Officer of the GTFCL, Dr Agnes Adu, said this year’s fair would help expose “our agriculture, manufactured products and services to our local, regional and international partners”.
“It will also help us with ways to reduce our dependency on foreign goods and help us expose and improve on our goods for export,” she said.
The GTFCL, she said, would make sure that the value addition policy gained root to meet the expectations and values that accrued from trade.
“Taking this fair out of Accra to the Northern Region also gives us the opportunity to expand our wings to incorporate more sectors across the length and breadth of the country.
It is our belief that the Northern Region is a good location and will provide the opportunity to expose the potential in the north of the country,” she said.
The Director in charge of Exhibitions at the GTFCL, Mr Oscar Asamoah Baffour, said: “Tamale is becoming a cosmopolitan centre in the country.
It shares borders with Togo, Cote d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso. It is easy for people to cross the border from these countries to do business in Tamale.
Moreover, Tamale is opening up very fast in terms of hotels and other economic infrastructure.”
He said in the years to come, the GTFCL would ensure that trade fairs rotated round the regions as a means of exposing the business potential and other opportunities that abound in other parts of the country.