It was a beautiful day under heat of the West African sun as cultural troupes performed and several people gathered for the opening ceremony of the 5th Volta Trade and Investment Fair at the Ho Sports Stadium. Members of the Diplomatic Corps, President of the Volta Regional House of Chiefs, The clergy, Vice Chancellors of Universities, Development partners, Municipality Executives, Traditional leaders, government officials, Brand Ambassadors and local students were among those in attendance.
The theme of this year’s event is ‘Promoting Sustainable Trade and Investment’. Volta Regional Minister, Dr. Archibald Letsa delivered a keynote address. “This event provides us with an opportunity to bring together a vital cross section of people and organizations committed to make significant contributions to the sustainable development of the Volta Region.” He said that this was the time to share the investment potential in the region. Impressed with the registrations of micro, small and medium scale businesses that registered for this year’s fair, Dr. Letsa answered the question of why he is so concerned about trade and investment in the region. “It is a well-known fact that trade and investment are drivers of local economic development and growth,” he said.
Special guest speaker for the ceremony was President of the ECOWAS Bank, Dr. George Agyekum Donkor. He congratulated the organizers of the event and spoke on how agri-business could be a driving force for creation of jobs in the region. “Agribusiness refers to all activities related to the production, processing and marketing of agricultural products.” He said the industry could make a difference in the economy because it makes a positive impact for the industry and services. “Agribusiness is a source for driving development.”
African Ambassadors showed their support for the potential of investment in the Volta Region and to observe the possibilities of trade with their respective home countries. Those in attendance included H.E Aboubacar S. Barry (Senegal), H.E. Abdoul Kader Toure (Mali), H.E. Eliphas M. Barine (Kenya), H.E. Awoki Panassa (Togo), H.E. Grace Jeanet Mason (South Africa), H.E. Selma Ashipala-Masavyi (Namibia), and H.E. Ibok Eke Ibas (Nigeria). It was unprecidented that this many African Ambassadors travelled to the Volta Region for an event in which the president and vice president were not there. It was an example of the unity and support that is possible for the African continent.
H.E. Mason, South African Ambassador to Ghana, spoke with high regard of the country and promised to support Ghana in its endeavors. “We stand by, to commit to promoting sustainable investment to the Volta Region and the people of Ghana and in particular in this region, we will continue to support in the areas that South Africa has been supporting in the energy sectors ensuring renewable energies. We will also continue to support the tourism sector.”
The Kenyan High Commissioner, H.E. Eliphas M. Barine said that Ghana has a friend in Kenya. “This is my fourth visit to Volta and therefore I will come again.” he noted. “This country is a fountain from which all of us breathe the spirit of Pan-Africanism,” he continued. He implored us to stand together and hold each other’s hands in order to move forward and progress as a continent.
The Volta Region has greatly benefited from the publicity of the Volta Fair this year having appointed Brand Ambassadors for the fair. Media Personalities have taken on the role of using their platforms to give exposure to the beauty of the region. Kafui Dey (GTV), Bernard Avle (CitiFM/CitiNews), Dzifa Bampoe (JoyNews), Emefa Apawu (TV3) and Ivy Prosper (Ghana Tourism Authority/Beyond the Return) have all participated in touring the region and showcasing highlights of the region. Bampoe and Prosper were both at the opening ceremony each delivering a heartfelt speech while sharing their connection with the region.
It was also announced that Passion Air would begin operating commercial flights from Accra to Ho and Kumasi to Ho by the second week of December. This would be a great boost for the tourism potential in the region.
The fair continues until 28th November and there are several activities planned in the coming days including musical performances, business seminars, a pitch competition, sports activities and so much more. Exhibitors from across the region and beyond are also participating through selling their products, services, and networking.