Officials of Expo Africa Limited, an international event organisers of trade and investment exhibitions have stated that the Government of Ghana has never made any financial contribution to the organization of the exhibitions organised in London and Atlanta in the US.
What the government did rather was to endorse the events in line with its own policy of supporting the private sector. The events on the other hand have provided a higher platform for Ghana to market its trade and investment opportunities to the rest of the world.
These were contained in a statement issued by the organisation made available to stakeholders worldwide. The statement was in apparent response to front-page article in the Monday, August 29th 2005 edition of the Ghanaian Chronicle.
In the said article, a Ghanaian deportee from the US, Mr. Paul Nimako, levelled “scurrilous and libellous” accusations against the management of Expo Africa for using the organisation in visa racketeering among other issues.
The management in the statement released in Accra, London and Atlanta simultaneously, noted that stakeholders who share Expo Africa's vision of stronger trade ties between Africa and the rest of the world have consistently supported the company's efforts with logistics because of its track record of outstanding performance in the pursuit of the stated objectives.
“This is evidenced in part by the collaboration between the organizers and the United States Embassy and the West Africa Trade Hub. Indeed senior officers of the Commercial Section, The Consular Section and Non – Immigrant Section of the US Embassy addressed potential and registered participants for Expo Africa 2005 on how to procure visas and fully exploit the commercial opportunities available in the United States of America at the main auditorium of the Ghana Trade Fair Company Limited on 5th July 2005.” It added.
The statement stated categorically, that “The said 'whistle blower', is not a registered participant and has indeed never registered for any of the previous fairs” and that he has his own dubious intentions in going public with such false and malicious plan.
The statement further said that the, the Director of Expo Africa Limited Mr. Kwame Owusu Afriyie does not hold a diplomatic passport, as the paper wants the public to believe.
The Management denied charging exorbitant fees of 5,000 dollars for over 300 participants adding that “the only fees charged by the organizers are a registration fee of US$200; 10” x 10” Exhibition booth stand at US$2,300 and; US$500 for 7 days hotel accommodation in the Four - Star Omni Hotel located at the CNN Centre in Atlanta.”
The statement recalled “a total of 510 companies were registered for Ghana Expo 2004 last year, but only 125 companies were given visas to participate. Expo Africa Limited is still counting its losses as a result.”
It assured all prospective participants, sponsors and the general public that Expo Africa 2005 is on course and will even be bigger and better than last year's event which itself was the biggest and most successful trade exhibition held in the United States by any African country to date.
The management of Expo Africa noted that indeed the events are pluses for Ghana.
This year, companies from fifteen other African countries have registered to participate in Expo Africa 2005 because of the successes Ghana has enjoyed in the previous fairs.
It therefore described the Chronicle publication as a naked attempt to undermine one of the emerging players in the private sector and called on the people of Ghana and Africa as a whole to shun it.