A 32-member trade delegation from Ghana, West Africa arrived in Montego Bay on Thursday to forge business links with local firms, particularly in the area of tourism.
Mayor of Kumasi, Maxwell Kofi Jumah, is leading the delegation that includes royal representatives, government officials and businessmen from across the West African nation.
The trip to Jamaica was initiated by the London Small Business Growth Initiative Limited and is being coordinated by the Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO). During their two-week long stay on the island, the delegation members will, among other things, seek to:
. establish business linkages with entrepreneurs in agriculture, art and craft, tourism, fashion and textile products;
. establish regular cultural group exchanges between Jamaica and Kumasi, while exploring the possibility of placement/training programmes for hotel and hospitality staff in Ghana;
. establish joint venture tourism opportunities while working towards the formal establishment of a sister city relationship between Kumasi and Montego Bay; and
. hold discussions with Jamaican artistes with a view to having them perform in the "Destination Kumasi 2005" programme.
The delegation members are also expected to meet with members of the recently re-launched Small Business Association (SBA) of Montego Bay. Convenor of the group, Doris Parchment, said they are looking forward to this.
"We are looking forward to having them, because we hope to achieve some definite business linkages and networking, especially for our entrepreneurs in tourism, art and craft and fashion and texture," Parchment, a vice-president of the Jamaica Association of Villas and Apartments (JAVA), told the Observer on Wednesday.
The SBA, Montego Bay, was re-launched late last month following 10 years of dormancy. Now, Parchment said, they have plans to:
. identify low-cost funding and grants from international agencies;
. assist members with the writing of business plans;
. buy commodities in bulk for members; and
. establish partnerships and joint venture businesses.
She added that scores of businessmen and women in the western city had welcomed the decision to revive the association and had pledged their "full support".