Togbe Afede XIV, the Executive Chairman of the World Trade Centre, Accra says strategic global partnerships are necessary to ensure that African businesses reap the full benefits of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). He said during the 53rd World Trade Centre Association's (WTCA) Annual General Assembly 2023, “We will offer opportunities for these partnerships, first between companies across Africa and then between African enterprises and the world.”
Togbe Afede XIV made these remarks at the media launch of the WTCA Annual General Assembly in Accra. The event scheduled from April 23 to April 28, 2023, in Accra will be on the theme “Towards African Economic Integration and Enhanced Global Presence.” The Annual General Assembly of WTCA is the most prominent event on the organization's calendar, bringing together representatives and business delegations from the over 330 World Trade Centers (WTCs) around the world to a new city each year.
The 2018 General Assembly was held in Leeuwarden, Netherlands, and GA 2019 in Querétaro, Mexico and the event marked the return of large physical gatherings of the WTCA after three years of restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It will highlight the unique trade and economic opportunities presented by Africa, touted as the world's next economic frontier, especially considering AfCFTA.
He said by establishing the World Trade Centre, Accra, they were connecting Ghana to the thriving global ecosystem of trade and economic opportunities for local companies while creating a soft landing for foreign companies seeking to participate in the trade and economic activities in Ghana and Africa.
The Executive Chairman said the General Assembly of WTCA coming to Accra would be the first time the global event was being held in sub-Saharan Africa. “It is an encouraging moment for Ghanaian and African entrepreneurs and an invitation to global partnerships, beneficial trade ties and investment opportunities,” he added. He said rapid urbanization and a youthful population were creating new opportunities in Africa, while digital transformation was enabling industries to grow, everywhere in Africa, there were opportunities and potentials.
Madam Crystal Edn, Director of Member Services, WTCA, said the Association was a global network of more than 300 highly connected and mutually supporting businesses and organizations in nearly 100 countries worldwide with a goal to be the world's trusted global brand, facilitating international trade and business connections. She said diversity helped their members fill the needs of their local economic ecosystems in ways that, while slightly different from one another, create a global network of influencers that aid in the rise of cities as economic engines.
She said it was through their members that the WTCA stimulated trade and investment opportunities for commercial property developers, airports, free trade zones, economic development agencies and small-to-medium-size businesses looking to connect globally and prosper locally.
Madam Edn said as an apolitical organization, their Association was uniquely positioned to connect people and businesses in the face of fluid trade policy and international agreements and the Association served as a global connector to link their members and their local businesses and investors with international markets. She said this year's event would focus on business opportunities across the continent of Africa, bringing together new and expanded opportunities not only to and from Ghana but all nations.
The Director said the event would be a truly Pan-African conference with members from across the Association's network keen on finding mutually beneficial and strategic investments in agriculture and food processing, real estate, public infrastructure, and information technology. She said it was an opportunity to learn, to connect, to grow businesses and economies and to have some fun.
Key highlights of the event include exploring, understanding, and building opportunities presented by the AfCFTA, participating in customized B2B, and B2G engagements and discovering new markets, exploring investment opportunities and bankable projects in Africa and exploring, touring, and experiencing Africa and its rich cultural heritage and nature reserves.
Delegates from 80 countries around the world including Europe, Asia, North America, and Africa will be in attendance with delegates from 14 African countries confirming their participation. Key partners are AfCFTA and Africa Export-Import Bank ( Afreximbank ) with support from the Government of Namibia.