Accra, July 6, GNA - REVERAK Travel and Tours Limited, organizers of international apparel; textile; footwear and machinery trade exhibition in Cape Town, South Africa on Tuesday launched the programme at a colourful ceremony in Accra.
The exhibition is scheduled for November 2 to November 4, 2004. Dubbed 'Ghana/South Africa EXPO 2004', the event aims to highlight the vast untapped trade and investment opportunities that abounded in Ghana and South Africa and to increase intra-African trade. The event seeks to promote Ghana as a rich and reliable source of raw materials, finished products, quality and affordable labour especially in the textile industry.
Launching the exhibition in Accra, Mr Ishmael Ashitey, Minister of State of the Ministry of Trade Industry and President's Special Initiative (PSI), commended South African investors for exhibiting confidence in the Ghanaian economy.
He said since 1995 over 35 multinational and small-scale companies from South Africa had injected 36 million dollars into the country. The service industry especially telecommunication has received more than 21 million dollar worth of investment while general trade had five million dollars, with the manufacturing and tourism industries receiving three and four million dollars, respectively.
Mr Ashitey, whose speech was read on his behalf, said South African investment in the mining sector also accounted for over 60 per cent of the total direct investment from the Southern Sector.
Although trade between Ghana and South Africa started about nine years ago, the Minister said, the Post-Apartheid Political Ideology and Pan-Africanist Development were now being manifested in economic revivalism.
"South Africa is now our main trading partner in the Sub-Saharan Africa possibly as a result of the bond between the two countries, which was forged during the struggle for independence in the late 1950s," he said.
Mr Emmanuel Owusu-Sekyere, Chief Executive Officer of REVERAK Travel and Tours, told the Ghana News Agency that the stage was set for a trade and investment exhibition and conference that promised to be bigger and better.
He said the exhibition would run concurrently with sessions of seminars to be addressed by Government delegates and business executives from Ghana, South Africa and other Multinational business and trade executives.
Mr Owusu-Sekyere said the textile and apparel industry ranked third in value after tourism and information industry in the world economy, while the consumption of textiles had increased from five kilograms per capita in the 1950s to over 10 kilograms in 2000.
He said the world statistics also indicated that the world production in textile fibre, which was eight million tons in 1950s, had also increased to 44 million tons in 2000.
Moreover, the current global value of trade in the sector stood at approximately 342 billion dollars or six per cent of global merchandise trade from 96 billion dollars in 1980.
Mr Owusu-Sekyere said the growth in the textile industries had transformed into one of the major battlegrounds within and between the industrialised countries and developing countries.
He urged participants to register early in order to ensure that their goods for the exhibition were not delayed.
Mr William Scalco, a Director of Leaders in Trade Expo, co-sponsors of the exhibition, said South Africans had competitive products that met the needs of the emerging Ghanaian market, compared with products and services from the Western hemisphere.
He said Ghanaian entrepreneurs, who have been exhibiting their products South African markets had expressed positive indications about business prospects.
Indeed, South Africa, according to Mr Scalco is Ghana's largest single trading partner in Sub-Saharan Africa both for exports and imports as well as the biggest source of investment in terms of mining. He called on exhibitors to add value to their products to make them not only attractive but also acceptable wherever they were found.