Standard Bank’s second inter-Africa trade and business conference opened in Accra yesterday with a call on investors to explore the large pool of opportunities in the West Africa sub-region.
Mr. Alhassan Andani, Chief Executive of Stanbic Bank Ghana, who made the call at the opening, said there were enormous potentials for investors seeking to expand their businesses to explore.
He said there were opportunities in sectors such as retail, infrastructure, agriculture, construction, manufacturing and information technology that investors could explore in the West Africa sub-region.
He said the bank was committed to supporting businesses that would consider investing the sub-region.
The conference which is running from October 3 – 5 is aimed at Stanbic Bank’s commercial banking clients from across sub-Saharan Africa who are interested in expanding their operations or partnering with businesses in the West Africa region.
An exciting line-up of policy makers and business leaders from West Africa and China are attending the Standard Bank West Africa Trans-regional Conference in Accra.
There are also delegates from Ghana, Nigeria, Angola, Côte d’Ivoire, China, South Africa as well as clients from southern and eastern Africa.
The West African conference builds on the success of the inaugural summit held in Kenya in April 2016, where Standard Bank hosted clients from Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Malawi, South Africa and Kenya, and participants were given an overview of East African economies and explored business opportunities and partnerships in the region.
Mr Vish Ashigbor, Senior Partner and Head of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Ghana, who presented a synopsis on the regulatory business and economic environment in the West Africa region said there were many unexploited areas for investment.
He said there were prospects in the banking and financial services sector, the telecom and the information and communication technology sector, the infrastructure and energy sectors as well as transport and logistics.
Mr. Ashiagbor said the agricultural sector remained one of the key pillars of the economy of most of the countries in the sub-region and have massive opportunities to be linked with the manufacturing sector for diversification, value addition and processing.
However, he said there was the need to accelerate institutional strengthening and regulatory framework to build the necessary confidence.
“There is also the need to provide the necessary support for the agriculture sector as the mainstay of the population and the linkage to the processing and value addition,” he said.
Mr. Ashiagbor also called for the development of the human capacity to develop the relevant skills to speed up development.
Mr. Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, the Minister of Trade and Industry, said Ghana was ready to embrace investors in the natural resources sector, especially agro-industry value addition, development of an integrated bauxite industry and for opportunities in the construction industry.
He said the conference presented a good opportunity for Ghana to share its potentials with the participants to enable them to make sound investment decisions.
He said there was the need for African countries to add value to their raw materials in order to rake in more revenue.
“The present situation where most of the continent’s raw materials are exported without any value addition does not auger well for the continent,” he said.
By David Adadevoh