The country remains an extremely favourable venue for foreign investors, Wesley Kirton, Executive Director of World Trade Center Georgetown, Guyana, which is owned and operated by Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL) – a leading manufacturing entity in Guyana and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) with a reputable global footprint – has said.
Asked whether he thinks the country’s investment climate is favourable to investors, Mr. Kirton – who was in Accra for the 53rd General Assembly of the World Trade Centres Association – said Ghana remains an enduring and resolute economy despite the recent crisis.
“There is a lot of interest, not just from Guyana but also other countries,” he said; adding that from his interactions, investors are particularly keen on opportunities in a number of areas including energy, light-manufacturing, shea butter processing and real estate.
“There is a lot of interest from around the world, and I think there is a lot of interest in the private sector here from the interactions and visits we had; because the sector seems very stable and well-organised, and I think that augurs well for the future,” he said.
He particularly singled-out the warm and hospitable nature of Ghanaians as one factor that endears the country to investors. “All I want to say is that I am very pleased with the warm hospitality of the people of Ghana. Those I have met – and I am sure those I haven’t met – are very warm, hospitable people; and I think that forms a condition for good relations in the future. Because if you have warm, hospitable, friendly, honest and straight-forward people being with one another, it is always well for a good business.
“Also I think there seems to be large similarities between people of the Caribbean and people of Ghana,” he explained.
Demerara Distillers – which runs the World Trade Centre Georgetown, recently announced a partnership with Pan Africa B2B Marketplace Limited, an indigenous Ghanaian company, to make Demerara’s products available to consumers in the country and across West Africa.
Partnership with Pan Africa B2B
The partnership gives Pan Africa B2B Marketplace, which is in the business of wholesale food and beverage distribution within Ghana, the exclusive right to sell Demerara premium rums and cocktail mixers in Ghana and across West Africa.
“We are here today because we are looking to cement Ghana-Guyana relations. We know that at the level of government things are happening. But as business persons, we have also felt the need to work together with our counterparts in Guyana to foster trade,” said Chief Executive Officer-Pan Africa B2B Marketplace, Beau PK Sackey.
Mr. Sackey’s firm distributes food and beverages wholesale to hotels, restaurants and other institutions. “I would say that thanks to DDL we have been offered good pricing. We have done the market analysis already, and we believe we’ll come in with a better price for the market. So we are looking to compete in both price and value as well as taste. I think when it comes to the taste, there is no competition there. We are looking at bringing into our market the globally-renowned El Dorado rum, which goes from three-year old rums all the way up to the coveted 21-year old rums. In addition, we are bringing in the Diamond Reserve range of cocktail mixers which are unparalleled in taste,” he stated.
Explaining further, he said the increasing number of Americans and Caribbeans showing interest in the economy, particularly tourism, creates an opportunity for Demerara Distillers and Pan Africa B2B to capitalise on.
“We are seeing more interest from Americans and the Caribbean in tourism as well. So I think as the governments are engaging at that level, it also drives an interest in people exploring the continent; and Ghana, as we said before, is the gateway to Africa. We believe that with an increase of people coming here exploring our sites, hotels and businesses, it creates more appetite for us to spend on food and drinks. And I think our company is well-suited to meet that demand by supplying these needs in Ghana and other markets which have similar prospects going forward.
“I am also pleased that we are growing our relationship with Guyana to do business, and I am thankful to the entire DDL team back in Georgetown, Guyana, for trusting us to work with them for this initiative. We are looking forward to making all of us proud, and also to growing the rum segment within Ghana and West Africa as well,” adds Mr. Sackey.
Meanwhile commenting on the partnership, Mr. Kirton said: “I am happy about this partnership. I am very pleased. Over the past few days we’ve had a lot of engagement and discussions, and we are looking forward to seeing how we can bring a homegrown, world-renowned product into Africa starting with Ghana, which is the gateway to Africa,” he said.
More importantly, he said, the pandemic made it clear that countries like Ghana and Guyana need to collaborate in order to ensure food security. “We have to start exploring opportunities so there is a secured supply chain, so that should there be another pandemic or any other occurrence our people will have available the essential things needed to survive. So, I think this is the kind of collaboration that we are looking at.”
With implementation of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), the world’s biggest duty-free trade zone, he said Ghana can be the gateway for Caribbean investors looking to exploit business opportunities on the continent.
“Yes, I think there are a lot of companies not only in Guyana but within the Caribbean; and we need to take advantage of that arrangement,” he said when asked what he makes of the AfCFTA.
“I think more countries need to examine the trade arrangement here in Africa. We need to determine the rules of our regime and that kind of thing. I think having a Caribbean Embassy in Ghana is going to be key, because we will have diplomats, people of trade to get to the nitty-gritty of the mechanics and share with the private sector back in the Caribbean what can be done to seize the opportunities,” he explained.