September 15, 2018

‘We’re looking at expanding our trade with Ghana’ – Slovenian Minister of State

Slovenia plans to expand trade and business relations with Ghana; the gateway to West Africa.

This was disclosed by Madam Bernarda Grandisnik, a Slovenian Minister of State in a meeting held on Thursday, September 14, 2018 with officials of the Ministry for Business Development (MoBD), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration (MFARI) and the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA).

The meeting, which was held at the premises of the Ministry for Business Development, was chaired by Mr Joe Tackie, Acting Chief Director of the Ministry with officials from the GEPA, the Ministry for Business Development and MFARI in attendance.

Both sides deliberated on issues of mutual interest including a briefing from Madam Grandisnik on an impending visit to Ghana by a Slovenian Business Delegation scheduled for November 2018. This impending visit follows a similar one undertaken by a business delegation from Ghana to Slovenia, led by the Ministry for Business Development last year.

In her remarks, Madam Khadija Iddrisu, a Director at MFARI who recently served in Ghana’s Embassy in Rome, Italy said the decision of the Slovenian Authorities was quite timely. She indicated that Slovenia is a well-organized country with a very efficient and technologically driven private sector whose expertise would be needed by Ghanaian businesses through joint venture arrangements. She said increasing trade levels between Ghana and Slovenia improve trade between the two countries for mutual benefit of both countries.

Madam Bernada Grandisnik on her part said she was very impressed with the hospitality of Ghanaians and the Ghanaian business environment.

She said her country identifies with Government’s “Ghana Beyond Aid” agenda and was determined to increase her trade with Ghana and therefore the decision to bring the business delegation on this reciprocal visit. She however bemoaned the fact that currently Slovenia-Ghana trade relations is skewed in favour her country and that this trend should be reversed.

She said her country’s companies were noted for their efficiency even though most of them are SMEs. In terms of the expected composition of the business delegation, she said three sectors were expected to be dominant. These were education,agriculture and the environment.

Madam Grandisnik assured the meeting that the recent elections in her country would not affect the planned visit, and that she was doing everything possible to make her Prime Minister to visit Ghana soon, and would be delighted if the President of Ghana would visit Slovenia in the near future.

In his remarks, Mr Joe Tackie, Acting Chief Director of the Ministry for Business Development indicated that his Minister would have loved to receive her personally, but an equally important engagement rendered his availability impossible. Nevertheless, he wished to assure Madam Grandisnik of his commitment to the development of the trade and economic relations between both countries. Mr. Joe Tackie said his Ministry is “looking at how to position Ghana as the business-friendly first point of call in Africa”.

He said the Government’s flagship programmes such as “Planting for Food and Jobs” and “One  District, One Dam” would contribute to achieving the “Ghana Beyond Aid” agenda. Hence, he said his Ministry is very ready to partner key stakeholders such as MFARI and GEPA to make the visit in November 2018 a very successful one.Mr Albert Kassim Diwura, deputy CEO of GEPA, who stood in for Madam Afua Asabea Asare, stated that GEPA’s focus on achieving maximum export revenue dictates that trade activities with existing trading partners and new ones such as Slovenia should be improved and increased.

To this end, Mr Diwura said Madam Afua Asare had already briefed the Minister of Trade and Industry about the programme and his CEO was fully committed to playing the expected roles to ensure the success of the programme in November 2018.

The Director for Marketing at GEPA, Mrs. Agnes Adjei-Sam stated that the GEPA had improved its services to the business community, both domestic and foreign through new initiatives such as the GEPA Market Hub which provide relevant market information to both foreign investors/buyers and local exporters.

She said trade data available at GEPA shows that both countries needed to do more in order for their export/import trade to improve significantly.

According to Mrs Adjei-Sam, Ghana’s total import from Slovenia amounted to $9.3 million in 2017, while non-traditional exports from Ghana to Slovenia amounted to only $645,000 in 2017.

Other Ghanaian officials at the meeting included Mrs. Henrietta Halm-Lutterrodt (Personal Assistant to the Minister for Business Development), Mr. Alexander Dadzawa (Director, Projects of GEPA), Mr .Abdallah Z.K Banda (Ag Director for Services, Manufacturing & Petrochemicals of GEPA), Mr. Bruce Bullu Liman (Web Content Administrator, GEPA) and Mr. Kofi Twum Boafo (Communication Specialist, MoBD).

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