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16.02.2006 Business & Finance

International Business Conference opens


Accra, Feb. 16 GNA - The Minister of Private Sector Development, Mr Kwamena Bartels on Thursday expressed the need for small and medium scale entrepreneurs to adopt strategies to lift up themselves to meet the demands in the global market.

He said the development of such a platform was necessary to enable them to take advantage of the vast export potential that existed in the markets of the United States of America (USA) and the European Union. He said this in a speech read for him at the opening of the fourth annual international business and investment conference and exhibition to create a platform for greater economic interaction between the African and US business communities.

The two-day event, which is being organised by African Connections (USA) and its Ghanaian sister company African Connections, is on the theme: "West Africa: A Region of Business, Investment and Development Opportunities."

It is aimed to promote networking and linkages as well as joint venture opportunities between West African businessmen and their United States counterparts.

During the conference delegates from across West Africa and the United States had the opportunities to participate in matchmaking to facilitate their efforts to find investment capital, joint venture partners and other opportunities to market their ideas and or products. Mr Bartels expressed the hope that through the conference the businessmen would be able to exploit the opportunities that the forum offered to increase their exports to the US markets.

Dr Ayesha S. Hakeem, Executive Director of African Connections, USA, said a special attraction of this year's conference was the focus on the economic potential of the Asutifi District of the Brong Ahafo Region, where African Connections and the Assembly were working to improve agricultural output and smallholder participation in export markets through the formation of Farmers' Associations.

Dr Hakeem, who is also the Managing Director of African Connections, Ghana, said Shore Bank International, the leading development bank in the United States, would also highlight the Bank's interests in investing and contributing to development efforts in West Africa, especially Ghana.