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17.06.2005 Business & Finance

Seminar held for exhibitors


Accra, June 17, GNA - Serious local factors have contributed to the generally agreed axiom that Africa is the poorest continent in the world, Mr Bernard Otabil, Director of Communications and Public Affairs of Anglo African Business Trade Exhibition (AABTE), said on Friday. He said lack of capacity building initiatives to boost trade had resulted in the production of sub-standard products, which had failed to meet international standard and, therefore, had failed to secure the right markets.

Mr Otabil was speaking at a day's seminar organised for exhibitors of this year's AABTE slated for London from July 28 to July 30. It was under the theme: "Africa, Untapped Reserve for Trade and Investment Opportunities." The seminar was to enable exhibitors voice out their concerns and to educate them on the fair.

Mr Otabil said the three-day fair was to create a forum for English and African businesses to link up for future opportunities and to highlight various investment opportunities in Africa to the United Kingdom (UK) market. He noted that trade services had been ignored largely and Africans had failed to convert brain drain into brain-gain thereby harnessing its investment in the people.

According to him, lack of knowledge on patent rights and intellectual property rights were other issues for most developing countries. "With more awareness on trade opportunities, contracts, regulations, standards, contacts and developments in our countries; Africa would be able to leapfrog the development hurdles that faced them to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by the year 2015," he said.

Mr David Eshun Yawson, a Business Development Specialist, who delivered a paper on: "Maximising Your Return From Fairs and Exhibition" said exhibitors should do thorough research work to enable them to be sure of the product and how to package and present them uniquely in the African way to attract foreigners. He urged the exhibitors to be innovative in all their dealings, especially in the mounting of their stands, interpersonal relationships and product specification among other things.

Mr Yawson said knowledge of competitors' current direction, size, strengths and weaknesses of the market they were dealing with were most important.

Mr Jones Applerh, Chief Executive Officer of AABTE, said Uganda, Kenya, South Africa, Nigeria, and other West African countries, would be joining about 40 exhibitors from Ghana for the fair, scheduled to take place at Excel Exhibition Centre in London. He noted that UK businesses would have one-on-one meetings on partnerships with Ghanaians. He said a pre-screening committee would be set up to screen exhibitors to guarantee that the right calibre of people were granted visas and also to ensure that the image of the country and organisers were not tarnished.