The Ghana Mission in Canada has organised a programme dubbed Ghana Week 2020 to market the country’s cultural and trade opportunities.

Held at the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto from February 4 to 9, 2020, it was at the initial invitation of the Aga  Khan resident representative in Canada, Dr Mahmoud Eboo.

The Mission used the ‘Caravans of Gold’ event to organize forums and events aimed at promoting tourism and investment in Ghana.

The ”Ghana Week 2020 – Caravans of Gold” featured Ghanaian diasporan groups who presented Ghanaian cultural displays; music, drumming and dancing.

It also showcased traditional and modern Ghanaian fashion:  dresses, ladies evening dresses and clothing with a combination of Ghanaian fabric with Canadian designs.

Kente was prominently featured during the exhibition.

There was a special Ananse storytelling session was attended by both diasporans and Canadians with their children.

A documentary on Dr Kwame Nkrumah, first President of the Republic of Ghana, was shown to the admiration of the audience.

Ghana Week in Canada

TOURISM OPPORTUNITIES:

The tourism panel discussion event- moderated by expert Fergus Maclaran-took place at the Ted Rogers School of Management, Ryerson University.

The panelists consisting of  High Commissioner Ayikoi Otoo, CEO of Ghana Investment Promotions Centre, Yofi Grant, Multimedia’s Ridwan Ibrahim Asante Prof Rachel Dodds and Alanna Wallace discussed how Ghana can attract tourists on the back of a successful ”Year-of-Return”.

They also highlighted on how the country can explore new areas like Eco-tourism, Chieftaincy,  Festivals, Ghanaian culture and Gastronomy [cuisine].

The panel also discussed was how authorities can further develop various tourist sites but remain keen on sustainable tourism development especially with respect to sufficient local but decent hotel room accommodations and plans for the Marine Drive Project.

Ghana Week in Canada

The take away from the forum was that there is no need for Ghana to simply copy what other African or Caribbean countries had on offer.

It was suggested that Ghana needs to do more to attract more Canadian youth to visit the country since they are more adventurous than their older generation.

In a prompt response to that suggestion, Ayikoi Otoo formally called for the signing of an M.O.U. between the Tourism Faculty of Ryerson University and Cape Coast University so students can engage in Exchange Programs in an effort to break down barriers and increase tourism traffic between Canada and Ghana.

Both Ayikoi Otoo and Mr Yofi Grant impressed upon those present not only to see a lack of infrastructure as challenges but turn those challenges into investment opportunities for the mutual benefit of both Ghana and the investors.

Ghana Week in Canada

INVESTMENT FORUM:

The climax of the Ghana Week 2020 celebrations was an Investment Forum held at the Aga Khan Museum on Saturday, 8th February, and was held at Aga Khan Museum to climax Ghana Week 2020.

The audience comprised members of the Canada-Africa Chamber of Business and the Ghanaian Diaspora.

ECONOMIC DIPLOMACY:

The High Commissioner Ayikoi Otoo was highly evangelical about Economic Diplomacy by calling for diversification of Canadian businesses in Ghana which is focused on Gold mining.

The Deputy Minister gave an overview of Ghana’s tourism industry and invited participants to look at the construction of budget hotels to encourage and promote local tourism.

He argues that these types of developments would be the harbinger for international tourism and development of large scale projects, such as the Marine Drive Project, requiring investors to construct three to five-star hotels.

Mr Nsiah Asante spoke about incentives for companies that register with the Free Zones Authority.

Ghana Week in Canada

These benefits include tax holidays, duty-free imports, and litigation free plots owned by the authority.

These plots are ready to be given to investors willing to establish manufacturing hubs where 70% of the products would be exported.

On his part, Tony Baah told the audience that EximBank had developed industrial parks ready to give to investors who want to go into manufacturing.

He said any investor who had a project in Ghana, but with insufficient funds, could approach Eximbank to extend credit facilities at a  far lower rate than what commercial banks in Ghana were charging.