IOE&IT director general visits Ghana to launch new Africa Advisory Board

Thu 1 Feb 2024
Posted by: Richard Cree
IOE News
Marco Ghanatrip

The Institute of Export & International Trade (IOE&IT) yesterday (30 January) convened the first meeting of its new Africa Advisory Board. Taking place in Accra, Ghana, the first meeting was attended by board members from across the continent, successfully approved the board’s charter and selected its first chairman and deputy chairman.

The inaugural chair will be James Njihia, dean of the Faculty of Business and Management Science at the University of Nairobi in Kenya, while the deputy is Decontee T. King Sackie, a tax, trade and customs expert from Liberia who is managing partner of ZE'AD Advisors and Consultants.

Experienced board 

The board also discussed IOE&IT Africa’s operational plan for the rest of 2024. IOE&IT Africa launched in 2023 establishing a permanent office in Nairobi. Its board includes representatives from Afrexim Bank, the Crown Agency, the Ghana Commissioner, CWEIC Ghana, the Ghana Customs Office, Ecom Trading and Vivo Energy.

While in Ghana for the board meeting, Marco Forgione, IOE&IT’s director general also met with the UK’s High Commissioner to Ghana, Togo and Benin and the UK trade envoy to Ghana, Baroness Kate Hoey. 

Speaking after the inaugural meeting of the Africa Advisory Board, Forgione, said:

“This new advisory board is an important step in our plan to deepen our engagement and step up our activities across Africa.

“This is an important moment for Africa and we want to play our part in supporting all trade stakeholders, whether governments and policymakers or professionals and businesses, to encourage intracontinental trade and trade between Africa and the rest of the world.”

‘Ghana’s opportunity’

Speaking to journalists after the meeting, Forgione added that IOE&IT has a particular interest in Ghana, explaining that current threats to global supply chains present Africa, and Ghana in particular, with an opportunity:

"We’re working to collaborate with partners in Ghana to turbo-boost Ghana's opportunity because the current reorganisation of global supply chains, driven first by the impact of COVID but more recently by other challenges, presents an opportunity.

"Geographically, politically and economically, this is Ghana's opportunity because as these supply chains change, we need to look at more resilient supply chains and the west coast of Africa is a key link, where supply chains can develop because you’re not constrained by elements such as the Suez or Panama Canals."  

IOE&IT reach

Fergus McReynolds, IOE&IT’s director, EU and International, added that the launch of the new advisory board was another sign that this year has got off to a good start for the newly configured IOE&IT international team:

“This visit to Ghana is a great example of how IOE&IT is growing its footprint globally. At the heart of our plans for 2024 is building on work like this and our permanent offices across Africa, Europe, the Caribbean and South East Asia.

“Working with partners, businesses and governments we want to take advantage of their potential to trade internationally through sharing knowledge, contributing to policy development and providing training.”