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02.09.2005 Business & Finance

EXPO aims at creating value


Accra, Sept. 2, GNA - EXPO Africa Limited, organisers of the forthcoming EXPO 2005 in Atlanta, Georgia, USA on Friday said it was committed to raising high, the flag of Ghana while ensuring that businesses got value on their investments.

Briefing the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Accra on the forthcoming event and matters arising concerning the 2005 EXPO, Mr Kwame Owusu Afriyie, Chairman of EXPO Africa Limited, said the company would ensure that all companies that qualified to exhibit or attend the EXPO in Atlanta were not left behind.

"We are making sure that all prospective participants endeavour to abide by the laid down procedures in their applications." Mr Afriyie was positive about the preparations made so far towards the event, adding, "companies from 15 African countries have signed on to participate in the four-day event at the Georgia World Congress Centre. But we are expecting a total of 500 companies in all. "They are The Gambia; Botswana; Liberia; Sierra Leone; Senegal; Kenya; Uganda; Tanzania; Burkina Faso; Ghana; Nigeria; South Africa; Sudan; Mali and USA."

EXPO 2005 slated to run from September 29 to October 2, 2005 would have 30 hours of workshops and seminars at which business leaders and industry participants would make a strong showing.

Mr Afriyie said 300 Ghanaian manufacturers and businesses had registered and were currently going through visa interviewing processes. He told the GNA that several Ministers of State, business executives and captains of industry would address the event, which for the first time would feature a Youth Forum, an African fashion show and food bazaar.

"The high point of the event will be the presence of His Majesty Kgosi Leruo Molotlegi, King of the Royal Bafokeng Kingdom of South Africa at the African cultural night which would culminate the event," Mr Afriyie said.

He noted that participating countries would be given the platform to make presentations, saying: "Ghana would be represented by the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre, Ghana Export Promotion Council, Ghana Immigration Service, Customs Excise and Preventive Service, Ministry of Trade and Industry, The Free Zones Board and the GCNET." He indicated that inroads were being made to stage a major EXPO in Europe next year while others would be staged in South Africa, Sierra Leone and Dubai.

Asked to comment on the recent publication, which sought to say that EXPO organisers were engaged in visa racketeering, Mr Afriyie said the matter had been referred to a Lawyer for the necessary action. Describing the publication as "scurrilous and libellous," Mr Afriyie told the GNA there was no truth in the entire publication, adding that, EXPO Africa was a private company dedicated to providing a solid platform to showcase African competences in various sectors of business, trade and investment, which if properly harnessed could bring Africa out of poverty.

"Our objective has also been, and will remain, providing a trade and investment opportunity to create a sustainable business environment for industry."