Accra, GHANA— From September 1-3, 2020, the U.S. Embassy in Accra hosted the first-ever virtual U.S. Franchise Trade Mission to Ghana. Organized by the U.S. Commercial Service, the three-day virtual trade mission brought U.S. franchisors together with 20 Ghanaian investors. The U.S. franchisors represented a cross-section of popular U.S. brand concepts such as business services, industrial cleaning services, fitness centers for adults, and fitness and learning centers for children.
U.S. Ambassador to Ghana Stephanie S. Sullivan welcomed the trade mission participants on September 1, saying, “I’m delighted to welcome U.S. franchises, which bring successful business strategies and some of the innovative product lines and services for which U.S. businesses are known around the globe, to Ghana.”
During the virtual trade mission, the U.S. Commercial Service arranged more than 30 meetings with Ghanaian investors via videoconference. “This was a very successful virtual trade mission, with enthusiastic participation from 20 Ghanaian investors interested in bringing U.S. brands to Ghanaian consumers. We hope to follow this up with an in-person trade mission to Ghana when travel permits,” said U.S. Embassy Commercial Attaché Hannah Kamenetsky.
Increasing trade and strengthening the business relationships between the United States and Ghana is a top priority for the U.S. Embassy in Ghana. The U.S. Commercial Service helps facilitate two-way trade and investment between the United States and Ghana and provides timely, relevant, customized solutions to assist in these efforts. To learn more, please visit https://gh.usembassy.gov/business/commercial-opportunities-ghana/.
Read Ambassador Stephanie S.Sullivan’s remarks below.
Remarks by Ambassador Stephanie S. Sullivan
To the Delegates of the First U.S. Commercial Service
Virtual Franchise Trade Mission to Ghana
WebEx Call | September 1, 2020 | 2:00 p.m. – 2:10 p.m.
Trade Mission Delegates
Welcome to this first-ever virtual Franchise Trade Mission to Ghana!
Challenging times call for creative solutions, so I’m delighted that our Foreign Commercial Service team came up with this novel way of bringing together representatives of American franchise brands and potential Ghanaian investors.
This trade mission represents a wide cross-section of U.S. franchises, including:
- Chem-Dry carpet cleaning and sanitizing;
- FastSigns custom signs and graphics;
- Gold’s Gym fitness centers;
- HOODZ commercial kitchen exhaust fan cleaning;
- N-Hance wood cabinet and floor refinishing;
- Tapout Fitness martial arts and fitness centers;
- Tumbles children’s gyms and science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) centers; and
- Ziebart automotive protective services.
The Commercial Service team, both here at the U.S. Embassy and in Export Assistance Centers in the United States, has been working hard to make this virtual trade mission a success. The briefing today will offer expert advice on establishing a franchise and running a successful business in Ghana, as well as provide an overview of the Ghanaian market.
I understand that about 20 Ghanaian investors are ready and enthusiastic to meet with you virtually over the next three days and learn more about your brands. I’m delighted to welcome U.S. franchises, which bring successful business strategies and some of the innovative product lines and services for which U.S. businesses are known around the globe, to Ghana.
Under normal circumstances, I would probably be welcoming you in person at a reception in my home, where we could exchange stories and ideas while mingling and meeting new people and potential partners. However, we are meeting today on a videoconference because the global COVID-19 pandemic has changed our world. Because this is the new normal, we have to adapt.
So, this virtual trade mission will launch conversations between you and potential franchisees over the internet that we hope will continue in person when you do have the opportunity to visit Ghana.
And I’m confident that when you do eventually make the journey, you will find it well worth the wait. In fact, it’s my second assignment in Ghana and I couldn’t wait to come back! Ghana is a beautiful country, with welcoming people and a vibrant commercial sector in which U.S. products and services do extremely well.
Ghana’s government has done its best over the last six months to fight the pandemic. It imposed a partial lockdown on major metropolitan areas for three weeks in April; land borders were closed; the country’s healthcare system focused on measures to stem the spread of the virus, and local businesses pivoted to manufacture hand sanitizer and facemasks and other PPE.
While the U.S. Embassy has been on maximum telework since March, we continue to engage with our Ghanaian counterparts on the key pillars of our mission: boosting two-way trade and investment and inclusive, country-led enterprise-driven development; and bolstering regional security; and strengthening democracy and good governance.
Ghana has fared better than many countries, with about 43,000 cases and a low reported mortality rate. However, the effects of the global pandemic have caused the Ghanaian economy to slow down. Pre-pandemic, Ghana’s economy was among the fastest growing in the world. It is forecast to continue to grow, but at a significantly slower pace in the near term. Thanks to some strong fundamentals, such as government investments in education, job training, and infrastructure; a young population; and a growing middle class, Ghana is expected to recover its economic vibrancy over the next couple of years.
The U.S. Embassy has worked closely with Ghana’s public health officials to help fight the coronavirus and mitigate its effects on vulnerable populations, also arranging for donations of medical equipment, protective clothing, and testing kits. In fact, U.S. companies operating in Ghana have been generous with their donations to fight the virus, providing equipment, masks, protective clothing, and money since the virus reached Ghana’s shores in March.
In fact, you can see a list of such contributions on the website of the American Chamber of Commerce in Ghana https://www.amchamghana.org/covid-19-support/ .
We look forward to welcoming new U.S. companies and brands to Ghana in the near future as a result of this virtual trade mission, taking advantage of this innovative way of conducting business during an unprecedented global challenge, in a place where personal relationships count for a lot.
As a Ghanaian proverb says, “Do not follow the path. Go where there is no path to begin a trail.” *So, I welcome you to blaze a trail to new partnerships in Ghana during this virtual trade mission. The trail may be virtual, but the new relationships will be real, and, I hope, fruitful and long-lasting. I wish you success with your business meetings, and I look forward to the day when I will be able to welcome you in person to Ghana!
And now, I’ll turn it back over to our Senior Commercial Officer, Hannah Kamenetsky.
*Boston University Pardee School of Global Studies African Studies Center list of proverbs from Ghana