As West Africa's largest markets, Ghana and Nigeria also stand in pole position to influence markets on the continent and lead many innovations around the world, Ms Nadia Takyiwaa-Mensah, Executive Secretary of the Ghana Nigeria Business Council, GNBC tells MARTIN-LUTHER C. KING in Accra.
She says 2022 promises to be a big year for the GNBC and urges both countries to work together, through increased trade in each other's resources, to their mutual benefits from the nascent AfCFTA regime.
Q: Briefly tell us what the Ghana-Nigeria Business Council is all about?
A: The Ghana Nigeria Business Council is a not-for-profit, non-partisan organisation which seeks to promote investment and trade between Ghana and Nigeria. Our organisation exists to ensure businesses are compliant with local laws and they are best poised to take advantage of what each country has to offer.
Q: Kindly assess GNBC's performance this year? Were you able to meet your goals for the year?
A: We were able to meet our goals for 2021; so we are celebrating key milestones. This year we have successfully registered over 30 individual and corporate members to our council, increased our database by over 400%, executed a series of in-person and virtual events, deepened our relationship with the Nigerian High Commission, in Accra and other government partners, plus established an executive steering committee.
Q: How do you assess the response of Nigerian investors to investment opportunities in Ghana this year?
A: To be honest, there is a lot of work to do! Investment has slowed down from Nigeria into Ghana due to negative media on the relationship between Ghana and Nigeria. However, we are working on dispelling some myths and 'fake news', ensuring we refresh our longstanding trading, business and family relationship with Nigeria.
Q: Moves to give new impetus to Ghana-Nigeria trade relations through legislative diplomacy appear to have stalled. What advice do you have for both countries?
A: When it comes to international relations, diplomacy is vital. However, it is accomplished through negotiations or bargaining. Of course, each group would want to ask for more than they can get. That is where compromise comes in. Both countries would have to come to agree to give up some of what they want to be able to move forward into a mutually beneficial business relationship...I would advise that they set the negotiation ball rolling in this direction... we have been doing a lot together and can do more!
Q: What would you say are the GNBC's major achievements so far?
A: Our major achievements include being strategically positioned and recognised by our Government partners and generating membership for our council where people, can see and appreciate our value.
Q: In a few weeks, the year 2021 will wind to a close, and a new year, 2022 will be ushered in. What words of encouragement and advice do you have for the investing public in Ghana and Nigeria?
A: Ghana and Nigeria are the largest markets in West Africa, we are the top two influential markets on the continent and lead many innovations around the world. You do not know Ghana without knowing Nigeria and vice versa. We are stronger together and we complement each other in many ways. What Ghanaian's do not have Nigerian's can provide and vice versa. We are 45 minutes away by plane and each market provides a diverse consumer base.
2022 is going to be big year! We will be hosting a visit to Nigeria for a CEO forum and also hosting a trade and investment conference in Ghana, in April 2022. We are excited about the development of each nation both individually and together.
Q: Do you have any final words?
A: Historically Ghana and Nigeria are two nations in Ghana which have grown together, we have a deep understanding of each other and have the ability to further propel the continent and influence the world beyond entertainment. Locally we need to rely on each other's resources and take advantage of ECOWAS and AfCFTA to further propel our nations. Ghanaian entrepreneurs equally need to gain confidence to think big and enter into the Nigerian market to take advantage of their burgeoning population and opportunities which exist. There is a lot of work to be done, which we are committed to, as a council, ensuring we see development of investment and trade between the two nations.