Business News of Thursday, 26 January 2017
The newly established UK-Ghana Chamber of Commerce (UKGCC) is set to hold the maiden Ghana-focused technology conference in London, to promote Ghana’s technology ecosystem to interested investors in the UK.
The conference, dubbed Tech in Ghana Conference (TIGC), is slated for February 27, 2017, in the capital city of the UK, and is billed to feature leading technology firms and innovators from the two countries sharing notes on how to do business in Ghana’s technology industry.
CEO of UKGCC, Tony Burkson, told a selected group of ICT journalists that whereas Ghana’s ICT sector is deemed one of the most dynamic in Africa today, very little is being done to promote the entire ecosystem to big investors in the UK, which has a long history of relationship with Ghana.
“In spite of the history Ghana shares with the UK, there has never been a joint Chamber of a Commerce to promote trade between the two countries and for that reason trade between them still remain relatively low,” he said.
Burkson noted that currently, the volume of trade between Ghana and the UK is just about 3.5 percent of Ghana’s total international trade volumes, and the value is about a billion dollars a year, which is low, given the history between the two countries.
He said the Chamber was set up September last year, with the support of the British High Commission to Ghana, to boost trade between the two countries across all sectors, with the aim of doubling the current volume in the next four years.
“As a first step, we believe that one of the key sectors that drives growth across sectors is the technology sector so we want to take off by creating the platform to promote Ghana’s entire technology ecosystem to UK investors more aggressively.
“We want UK investors interested in technology to know that Ghana is the next biggest destination in terms of opportunities in the technology sector in Africa because we have deep data penetration, a very vibrant start-ups sub-sector, a very fertile 4G space and we are still growing,” he said.
The conference is expected to gather over 100 industry leaders from both Ghana and UK, investors from the UK, IT suppliers, regulators, policy makers, banking sector executives and key personalities from the wider tech communities in both countries with the view to promoting local-global partnerships between the two countries.
Some of the key speakers expected at the conference are the UK Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Ghana, Adam Afriyie, who will deliver the keynote address, as well as the CEOs of WorldRemit, Interpay, IPMC, ExpressPay, Vodafone, Surfline, and others.
Ghana’s new minister of Communications, Ursula Owusu and the representatives of the industry regulator are also expected to feature at the conference.
But one of the key features would be the opportunity for local industry players to network with their counterparts and potential investors in the UK.
Burkson noted that Ghana’s 4G space, for instance, has been a bit murky and it is possible some key industry players in the 4G space in the UK would be interested in making a contribution to that space in Ghana to ensure mutual benefit.
He said some of the key areas the conference would focus on for panel discussions would include cyber securities and regulation, financial technology (FinTech), mobile technology, 4G LTE, investment and funding for the sector, as well as internet and digital.
The UKGCC boss is, therefore, inviting telcos, banks interested in taking their digitisation to the next level, VAS start-ups in the ICT industry and ISPs looking for opportunities to expand to take advantage of the platform.
He said subsequent conferences would focus on other sectors of the economy such as agriculture and others, all in the bid to whip up UK investor interest in Ghana to help boost trade between the two territories.
The maiden TIGC is being jointly organised by AB2020, UKGCC and at TEDxAccra, with support from the UK’s Department of International Trade (DIT), Tech London Advocates Africa, TIGC London, WorldRemit and Interpay.