Dr. George Agyekum Donkor, President of the ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development (EBID), has noted that agribusiness, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and tourism sectors were catalysts for job creation and enhanced standard of living.
He however said “it behoves all stakeholders to play key roles to optimise the respective value chains.”
Dr. Donkor in an address during the official opening ceremony of the 2021 Volta Trade and Investment Fair, urged the government to work towards the provision of appropriate infrastructure.
He said the private sector must invest while the citizens must acquire the requisite skills-set and work hard to encourage more investment and job creation avenues.
Dr. Donkor noted that agribusiness was a driving force for development, adding that the food economy accounted for 66 percent of total employment and 40 percent of the value added in the food economy in West Africa.
He said it was worth noting that, agriculture employed approximately 74 per cent of the Region’s economically active population.
Dr. Donkor said poverty reduction was higher when growth was driven by the agriculture sector due to the number of people engaged in the sector and its related activities.
He said what remained was the successful transition from farming to take advantage of the entire agribusiness value chain, to bring increased value to players in the industry and required a lot of efforts must be put in the processing and marketing to be possible.
Dr. Donkor noted that the Covid-19 pandemic had made ICT more relevant than it had been.
“This is increasingly demonstrated by the new remote work habits, including cloud-based computing as well as web-based and Microsoft meetings.
He said mobile money transactions had also overtaken any form of cash transfer and the financial sector had also not been left behind, with many banks utilising mobile applications and internet banking to good effect.
Dr. Donkor noted that the Volta Region was filled with many tourist attractions, which could easily become the backbone of economic activity if given the necessary attention.
“This would then lead to the creation of jobs for the many unemployed youth in the region.”
He said there was the need to focus on the development of enabling infrastructure to encourage while calling on all to get involved, keep their surroundings clean and be nice to tourists as ways they could help boost tourism in the region.
Dr. Donkor said the EBID had recognised the importance of agribusiness, ICT and tourism in Ghana’s economy and had dedicated a lot of attention to the sectors.
He hoped the Fair would be successful and serve as a catalyst for development.
The Volta Trade and Investment Fair being the fifth in series is on the theme: “Creating Enabling Environment for Agribusiness, Tourism and ICT Companies.”
Togbe Tepre Hodo IV, President of the Regional House of Chiefs, said the Volta Region was climbing to greatness, adding that “we are number one.”
He said the Fair offered the opportunity for the region to exhibit the potential it had in commerce and industry.
“It is an opportunity for a lot of us to learn new things and improve on the old ways of doing things.”
Togbe Tepre Hodo, also the Paramount Chief of Anfoega Traditional Area said it was also an opportunity to transact business at the regional level and escalate to national and international level.
He commended the organisers of the Fair and called on all to make the event transcend into history of the region as the one “uniting event that will enhance our prospects to move this region forward and move our nation forward.”
Togbe Hodo said the government could engage private investors who would assist in road construction while bemoaning the nature of roads in the region.
The Dean of Volta Municipal and District Chief Executives, Mr Flolu Etornam James, noted that the region was viable for businesses and called for businesses to utilise the opportunities available and invest in the region.
He also touted the tourism potentials of the region and entreated all to visit the sites including the Afadzato Mountain in the Afadzato South District.
High Commissioners and Ambassadors of some Embassies reiterated the importance of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and pledged their commitment to working among African countries to harness its prospects and development.
They lauded the organisers of the Volta Trade and Investment Fair and hoped its targets were met as well as its continuity.