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2012 Trade Mission to Ghana Strengthens Ties To Houston’s International Business Sector

A trade mission to the African country of Ghana July 12-19, 2012 was organized by Houston International Trade Development Council President and CEO, Val Thompson, and the delegation was led by Houston City Council member Hon. Wanda Adams. The purpose of the trip was to pursue trade opportunities in Ghana, especially in the fields of energy, health, and education to build an international friendship and develop new partnerships and to create economic opportunities for the participating Houston delegation by promoting trade and investment in the Republic of Ghana. Based on the 2011 trade mission to Ghana also organized by the Houston International Trade Development Council, the City of Houston and City of Accra committed to fostering greater commercial links, goodwill, and bilateral business development between their citizens/members, and mutually agreed that this commitment shall be for the betterment of both cities.

Ghana or the Republic of Ghana is a west African country located at the western coast of Africa. Unlike its neighboring countries, Burkina Faso, Togo, and Ivory Coast, Ghana is an English-speaking country. Ghana borders the Gulf of Guinea to the south, Burkina Faso to the north, Togo to the east and Ivory Coast to the West. Ghana has a total land area of about 238,535 squared kilometers and a population of about 25 million people with the majority of the population living in big cities and towns such as Accra the capital town of Ghana, Kumasi the capital of the Ashanti region and the home of the Golden Stool of the Ashanti Kingdom, Sunyani the capital of the Brong Ahafo region, and Tamale the capital of the Northern Region of Ghana.

Houston, as the energy capital of the world and as an international business and commerce hub that fosters an environment where global trade and partnerships are developed is a natural choice to partner with the country of Ghana. The City of Accra, where the delegation met with Ghanese leaders, is the country’s capital and largest city of Ghana and is a leading business center that is rich in culture and history.

Included in the accomplishments of the trade mission were discussions with the Ghanese Communications Minister who expressed the desire to create the country’s own Silicon Valley and stated that Ghana is currently seeking investors for that project.

Ghana’s Minister of Energy told the delegation that he encourages foreign firms to make Ghana the “go to” location in West Africa for the headquarters of energy corporations as well as the capital of Africa for the oil & gas, energy sectors as is the country’s ongoing goal.

Overall, the 2012 trade mission to Ghana was true to its mission to encourage reciprocal trade delegations (from Accra to Houston; from Houston to Accra) between the two countries; to plan and organize outbound/inbound trade shows; to promote trade and investment forums; and to promote urban development (environment, sanitation, water, energy).

The 2012 Ghana Trade Mission delegation members included the following: Hon. Wanda Adams, Leader, Houston City Council Member, Vernon Darko, Co-Leader, President, EQUIPXP, (heavy equipment, USA, West Africa), Val Thompson, President, Houston International Trade Development Council, Inc., Dakarai Sultan, V.P. Houston International Trade Development Council, Inc., Karen Haller, Chief of Staff, Council Member Wanda Adams, Atty. Glenn Roberts, International Business Attorney, Kenneth Bolton, Business Consultant, Franchise,
Beryl A. Bolton, Business consultant, Franchise, Jaa St. Julien, President and CEO of St. Julien Communications Group and and Russell Richard.

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