The West Africa Competitiveness Programme (WACOMP) organised the Second West Africa Connect event to facilitate linkages between Mango, Cassava and ICT value chains actors, establish new business partnerships, as well as increase commercial transactions.
The opening session featured remarks from the Ministry of Trade and Industry of Ghana, the ECOWAS Commission, the UEMOA Commission, the European Union Delegation to Ghana, the International Trade Centre (ITC) and United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).
On behalf of Alan Kyerematen, Minister of Trade and Industry of Ghana, Dr. Asiedu Hawkins, Technical Advisor to the Minister, congratulated the organiser for the initiative to connect buyers and sellers in the Mango, Cassava and ICT value chains from the region and globally with a view to boost intra-African and international trade opportunities before declaring the West Africa Connect 2022 open.
On behalf of Mrs. Massandjé Touré-Litsé, ECOWAS Commissioner for Economic Affairs & Agriculture, Mr. Kolawole Sofola, Acting Director of Trade stated that the West Africa Connect 2022 was organised to enable local firms to demonstrate the quality of their products and services, and lead to promising business and partnerships through the B2B sessions. He concluded by encouraging all companies to take advantage of the event, thanking the European Union for funding the WACOMP programme, as well as ITC and UNIDO for the technical support, as well as the Republic of Ghana for hosting the event in Accra.
On behalf of Mr. Paul Koffi KOFFI, Commissioner for Business Development, Mines, Energy, and the Digital Economy (DEMEN), Mr. Joël Pegdwendé Yameogo thanked the ECOWAS Commission, the European Union and partners for organising this event. He recalled the importance of the WACOMP and congratulated the ECOWAS Commission for successfully leading the programme.
On behalf of the European Union, Mr. Timothy Dolan, Team Leader at the European Union Delegation to Ghana, commended the commitment of the ECOWAS Commission, the UEMOA Commission, ECOWAS Member States representatives, as well as ITC and UNIDO for the implementation of the WACOMP. He indicated that this second edition of the West Africa Connect is a confirmation the programme is effectively reaching out to businesses to strengthen the region’s business ecosystem. He affirmed the EU’s continued commitment to cooperate and collaborate with ECOWAS and ensure regional economic integration meets the needs of the private sector.
Speaking on behalf of ITC, Mr. Ruben Phoolchund, Chief for Office of Africa emphasised ITC’s commitment to strengthen SMEs in the ICT sector as well as ensure women and youth receive tailored support to integrate new technologies to their businesses. He also affirmed the growth potential in the agri-food sectors of cassava and mango value chains in West Africa.
On behalf of UNIDO, Mr. Fakhruddin Azizi, UNIDO Representative to Ghana and Liberia expressed his satisfaction regarding the organisation of the event, recalling the importance of quality to ensure that products are compliant with the requirement of the receiving countries.
The Second West Africa Connect Event connected sellers and manufacturers from the region with buyers from and outside the region in Mango, Cassava and ICT value chains. The event also featured panel discussions on export potential, digitalization, quality, investment, gender inclusion, product certification, exhibition booths and B2B meetings. Overall, more than 100 SMEs and 20 regional and international buyers participated in the event and approximately 150 B2B meetings were held.
The West Africa Competitiveness Programme (WACOMP) aims to strengthen the competitiveness of the West Africa region and enhance the integration of ECOWAS Member States and Mauritania into the regional and international trading system. The Programme is led by the ECOWAS Commission, in collaboration with the UEMOA Commission, funded by the European Union and implemented by UNIDO and ITC, which are the implementing agencies of the regional component of the WACOMP.