May 20, 2022

When GEPA brought the “world” to Accra…#WTPO2022

Once upon a time in October 2018, Ghana represented by the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Export Promotion Authority attended the 12th World Trade Promotion Organisation. At the conference, Ghana competed against Turkey, Kenya and Egypt in bidding for the 13th WTPO conference to be held in their respective countries.

The campaign was fiercely remarkable with an unforgettable message from Dr. Afua Asabea Asare – “Ghana is at the centre of the world and delegates will experience the very best of sunshine, food, ambience, people and fun if we should host WTPO2020”.

This event marked a noteworthy “first” as this is the first time the conference was being pulled to sub-Saharan Africa.

Initially billed to happen in October 2020, the 13th WTPO event had to be rescheduled a number of times to ensure delegates could converge and deliberate when it was safe to do so. With the removal of travel restrictions and easing of COVID protocols, delegates from 57 countries all over the world, represented by CEOs and Business Leaders joined their peers to hold meaningful dialogues in practically empowering MSMEs to build back better in a post pandemic period.

Owing to the prominence of the conference and its significance for Ghana, the Honourable Minister for Trade and Industry, Hon. Alan Kyerematen represented H.E. the President of the Republic, to officially open the conference. Addressing the conference, Hon. Kyerematen lauded the efforts of smaller businesses supported by Trade Promotion Organisations, who innovated in times of adversity to remain relevant and keep the economy going. He pledged his Ministry’s support in ensuring that Ghana’s industrialisation agenda had relevance.

Welcoming delegates to the Conference, Dr. Afua Asabea Asare, Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Export Promotion Authority, encouraged MSMEs to take advantage of innovative initiatives provided by Trade Promotion Organisations such as GEPA, to scale up the capacity of exporters – especially during a period of adversity when it was increasingly difficult for individual businesses to record gains.

In her words; the WTPO conference provides “a platform for peers to learn from each other’s diverse backgrounds and markets, drawing on solutions that have practically worked to strengthen trade and what has not”.

Secretary General of the AfCFTA, H.E. Wamkele Mene and Executive Director of the International Trade Centre, Ms. Pamela Coke-Hamilton used the opportunity of the opening ceremony to sign an MOU that seeks to formalize the working relations between both parties and support the empowerment of the private sector to help particularly MSMEs, women and youth entrepreneurs improve their export competitiveness and access new business opportunities offered by the Agreement.

The line-up of panelists and speakers for the 2-day conference included:

  • Dr. Afua Asare, Chief Executive Officer, Ghana Export Promotion Authority,
  • Hon. Herbert Krapa, Deputy Minister at the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ghana
  • Ms. Pamela Coke-Hamilton, Executive Director, International Trade Centre,
  • Mr. Yofi Grant, Chief Executive Officer, Ghana Investment Promotion Centre,
  • Mr. Youngsang Kim, Director General, Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency
  • Mr. Allan T. Majuru, Chief Executive Officer, ZimTrade, Zimbabwe
  • Mr. Mikheil Khidureli, Chief Executive Officer, Enterprise Georgia
  • Mr. Mark Hill, Chief Executive Officer, Export Barbados
  • Mr. Benno Keller, Head of Corporate Development and Business Foresight, Switzerland Global Enterprise
  • Ms. Sunita Daniel, Chief Executive Officer, Export Saint Lucia
  • Mr. Ryan Alfouzan, General Manager of Export Environment, Saudi Export Development Authority
  • Mr. Peter Green, Chief Executive Officer, Humanizing Work

Some key topics that featured in panel discussions and plenary included:

  • embracing risks for strategic advantage
  • building boldly with AfCFTA
  • sustainable solutions for adaptation and growth
  • exploring new linkages between trade and investment promotion organizations
  • organizational culture for resilience and impact
  • data TPOs require to be bold and inclusive in an uncertain world

A much anticipated highlight of the Conference was the Awards Night where three countries out of a keenly contested shortlist of twenty, were recognised for pursuing results-driven initiatives in partnerships, sustainable trade and information technology. In 2018, GEPA was the proud recipient of this award by featuring the GEPA market hub – the official website for exporters information.

Jamaica Promotions Organization (JAMPRO) won the award for Best use of a Partnership, while Zimtrade from Zimbabwe won the Best Initiative for Inclusive and Sustainable Trade. Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade) won the award for Best use of Information Technology.

As part of wrapping up the conference, delegates’ votes placed Qatar as the next destination for the 14th WTPO conference and awards which happens to coincide with the 60th anniversary of the ITC. They beat Italy and Peru to emerge as next conference host.

To bring the curtains down on WTPO2022, delegates were treated to a riveting dance theatrical performance called Wo Gbe Gyeke.  Guests were taken on a journey through Ghana’s history from ancient to modern times through an enthralling evening of music, dance, drama and poetry – and on that thrilling note, we look forward to meeting in 2024 in Qatar.

Let’s keep the conversation going #Sustainability

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