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The move was to increase trade, particularly in the tourism sector, and position the two countries to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

Ghana and Rwanda to revitalise bilateral trade

Ghana and Rwanda have revitalised their bilateral cooperation to increase trade between the respective West and East African countries.

The move was also for the two countries to strategise and position themselves to take full advantage of the opportunities provided by the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

As part of this effort, the Rwandan High Commissioner to Ghana, Dr Aisa Kirabo Kacyira, led a 34-business delegation from her country into Ghana for a weeklong reciprocal tour.

The delegates on Monday, June 14, were treated with the “Ghana-Rwanda Business Breakfast meeting,” in Accra, which had business representatives from the Ghanaian and Rwandan business communities.

The meeting was held by the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC), in collaboration with the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA), Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) and the Ghana Tourism Federation (GHATOF).

Although the delegates were mainly from the tourism and hospitality sector, there were others from the agro-processing, horticulture, financial technology (fin-tech), and the mining sectors.

The visit was to enable the businesses in both countries to learn, understand, explore, and form strong partnerships to take advantage of opportunities in the respective countries.

The team, including government officials, investors from Rwanda, was also to encourage business-to-business (B2B) relations.

In an interview with the media, Dr Kacyira stated that the visit would provide a platform for the Rwandan business delegates to learn the business operations, the culture of Ghana and vice-versa.

“We want to be a family and explore what we have, and the first entry point is through tourism. This is to allow us to learn, contextualise and think bigger about what our partnership can bring on board,” she said.

Touching on the Africa Continental Free Trade Area, she indicated that, the opportune time had come for African countries to deepen regional trade on the continent through intra-regional investment.

The High Commissioner explained that the AfCFTA would enable business growth, enhance productivity, and improve the living standards of Africans.

She noted that there has been some level of division on the African continent for more than 60-years, a narrative ought to be changed.

“We don’t want to just keep that in history, but we want to see it change our current state and our future. We have a unity of purpose and a unity of engagement and everybody has an equal stake on the table,” she said.

A cross-section of the Ghanaian and Rwandan business fraternity

The Deputy Chief Executive Officer, CEO of Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA), Samuel Dentu also advocated for increased trade relations between Ghana and Rwanda to improve the trade volumes between the two countries.

He noted that Ghana and Rwanda have had minimal trade exchanges, as data available showed that from 2018 to 2019, Ghana exported goods worth about over ten thousand dollars to Rwanda.

“Our visit to Rwanda recently gives us more insightful views of opportunities for trading among both countries. We picked learning’s from the intentional effort that Rwanda has put in place to position the country as a destination of choice on the continent,” he said.

He stated that areas had been identified by both for mutual benefit, especially in the manufacturing, agribusiness and services sectors, and noted that it was important to strengthen its trade relations.

“Our Rwandan family will this entire week have a true meaning of what our premium Made-in-Ghana brand looks like, tastes like, sounds like, smells like and feels like,” Mr Dentu said.

The Director of Investor Services at the GIPC, Mr Edward Ashong-Lartey, took participants at the meeting through the processes of “Doing business in Ghana.”

He said opportunities abound in the area of commercial agriculture, light manufacturing, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) as well as the tourism and creative arts industry.

Mr Ashong-Lartey said the country was also focused on promoting Ghana as the regional financial, manufacturing and ports and logistics hub by leveraging on AfCFTA.

He remarked that the government had created a conducive environment for business to thrive adding that, with Ghana being at the centre of the world, connecting to any part of the world would not be a challenge to them.

Speaking with The Ghana Report, Chairman of the Chamber of Tourism, Rwanda, Aimable Rutagarama, said he was optimistic that, their visit to the country would give them more insight into the country.

He indicated that the business meeting had exposed them to some opportunities in the West African country, which they would capitalise on through partnerships.

Meanwhile, the High Commissioner of Rwanda to Ghana, on Sunday, hosted the delegation at a Gala dinner to welcome them and introduce them to the Ghanaian community.

The delegation has since visited historical and tourist sites in Accra, including the Independence Square, and the Kwame Nkurumah museum, to learn about the country’s rich history.

They also had an ‘Eat-in Ghana’ delicacy experience, where they tasted assorted Ghanaian cuisines.

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