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Commonwealth Greater Birmingham


Commonwealth Chamber of Commerce


Contact: Jamila Davis T: 0121 607 1826


Commonwealth Chamber Patron


Why businesses should target Ghana


Keith Stokes-Smith president of the Greater Birmingham Commonwealth Chamber of Commerce (GBCCC), looks at why businesses in the UK should be trading with Ghana, a country which is experiencing growing economic prosperity.


Ghana – officially the Republic of Ghana – is a country in West Africa that has a population of 30 million, and gained its independence from the UK in 1957. The World Bank has predicted that Ghana’s


economy will witness strong growth during 2019, driven largely by an expected increase in oil and gas production. In February of this year, International Trade


Secretary Dr Liam Fox announced that UK Export Finance (UKEF) – the government’s export credit agency – would support UK firms with £130 million for three projects in Ghana. The announcement was made at the latest


meeting of the UK Ghana Business Council, a strategic partnership designed to encourage trade between the two countries, as indeed does the GBCCC when it comes to many up and coming commonwealth nations. So, why trade with Ghana? If the aforesaid is


not enough of an incentive, like many commonwealth countries, the UK and Ghana, are natural partners sharing a common business language, the same time zone for half-of-the- year, with good medium haul flight connections and good people to people links. There are 250,000 British people that share


family links to Ghana and the UK remains Ghana’s partner of choice for culture, tourism, education, and business. The government of Ghana has set out a compelling vision for a Ghana ‘beyond aid’,


‘UK Export Finance (UKEF) would support UK firms with £130 million for three projects in Ghana’


based on a forward-looking plan for industrialisation and economic diversification. This includes stimulating private sector


investment in key manufacturing sectors, infrastructure and mining. Increasing oil and gas exploration and production is helping to drive the economy, with a growth rate of 8.2 per cent being achieved in 2017-18. Other important sectors that match UK capability are financial services, agriculture, healthcare and education and training. Top UK exports to Ghana are: machinery and mechanical appliances (24.1 per cent of all UK goods exported to Ghana); textiles; electrical machinery and equipment; optical, photographic and cinematographic equipment; medical equipment and vehicles. The GBCCC is holding a Ghana trade mission


event on 28 June, attended by officials from the country. Up to 25 companies have been identified who would be keen to join attend such an event, and it is likely that the following sectors would be targeted: pharmaceuticals, food processing, beverage production and industrial technology firms.


Trade mission heads for India


Birmingham Commonwealth Association (BCA) and Birmingham City University (BCU) have launched a joint trade mission to India, as part of a bid to boost trade between the UK and the sub-continent. Among those taking part was Professor Martin


Levermore, the trade and business chairman of the BCA. Prof Levermore is also chief executive of Medical Devices Technology International (MDTi). He said: “With my hat as visiting professor for


the BCU School of Health and Life Science, I managed to get colleagues to consider the opportunity of bilateral trade with India. “This visit has been instigated by the launch of


BCU’s India Innovation Group and the intention of build long-term partnerships with higher education institutions and industrial partners in India.” Keith Stokes-Smith, BCA chairman and


president of Birmingham Commonwealth Chamber, said: “Martin and I agree that initiative yet again demonstrates the value of cross sectoral working in order to leverage the BCA’s talent pool.”


• The New Delhi-based Federation of Indian Export Organisation (FIEO), is sending a delegation to Birmingham this month (23-24 May) to boost trade links between India and the UK. The 17 member delegation will consist of


representatives of 11 Indian companies from various sectors, who will be exploring business prospects in Britain. The Chamber is hosting an interactive


meeting/dinner on 23 May at the Hyatt Birmingham, followed by business-to-business meetings on 24 May at a venue to be confirmed.


Great turnout for


Jamaica trade event More than 40 businesses and organisations attended a Commonwealth Chamber event on trading with Jamaica. Guests heard from Lawrence Jones,


European region manager of Jampro, a Jamaican government agency that promotes business opportunities in the Caribbean country. Mr Jones spoke at length about Jamaica’s new natural harbour development being the ‘gateway to the Caribbean’, and the opportunities that went with it. Mr Jones (second left) is pictured with


(from left) Beverly Lindsay (vice Lord Lieutenant of West Midlands), Keith Stokes- Smith (Commonwealth Chamber president) and Wade Lyn, Birmingham’s attache to the Jamaican High Commission.


Drinks firm aims for


plastic-free Games The local company behind the drinks dispensing at many Premier League football stadiums believes the Birmingham Commonwealth Games in 2022 should be an environmentally-friendly single-use plastic-free event. Tamworth-based drinks dispense specialist T&J Installations claims that the Games are Birmingham’s opportunity to spread a ‘green’ message to both its visitors and global viewers. Managing director Ian Jones


(pictured) believes that the Games should follow the example of Glastonbury Festival and a number of other high-profile events in the UK who are banning the sale of plastic bottles. He said: “The Commonwealth Games is


an incredible prospect for Birmingham – we want to help make it a green success. “Making the right drinks dispense decisions will have a significant impact on minimising the event’s carbon footprint. “Drinks dispense for all soft drinks and


alcohol takes care of a sizeable amount of potential plastic, and then there’s water.”


May 2019 CHAMBERLINK 45


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