The Central Region’s Trade, Tourism and Investment Fair, Central Expo 22, is underway at the Adisadel School Park in Cape Coast.
It is on the theme: “Promoting Trade, Tourism and Investment in the Central Region – Challenges, Prospects and Solutions.”
More than 200 Small and Medium Enterprises are participating in the week-long event, which seeks to promote indigenous businesses and stimulate economic activities in the region.
They include companies in agro-processing, agrochemicals, jewellery, clothing and accessories, herbal medicine, arts and crafts, alcohol production, water production and cosmetics.
Others are insurance companies, travel and tour agencies, hotels as well as government agencies like the Food and Drugs Authority, Ghana Standards Authority, and Ghana Heritage Conservation Trust, which are delivering services.
Most exhibitors were making frantic efforts to set up their exhibition booths as many others were still trickling in when the Ghana News Agency (GNA) arrived at the exhibition centre.
The venue appeared calm and peaceful amid heavy security presence to maintain law and order.
There is also an ambulance on standby to intervene in health emergencies.
Some exhibitors, who spoke to the GNA, said they were hopeful of new business partnerships and investment deals at the end of the fair.
For many of them, it is their first time participating in such a fair.
Mr Sylvester Obeng of GeoBert Memorial Herbal Centre, producers of general wellbeing herbal medicines, was hopeful that the presence of the President would be a big boost for the participating businesses.
He said he was looking forward to the President announcing policies that would promote their businesses.
Touching on the potential of herbal medicines in the country, he said there was the need for government to institute stringent measures to weed out fake herbalists to improve the face of herbalism.
The Chief Executive Officer of (CEO) Soyagin Gari, a gari processing company, Mr Reindolf Amoabeng, said the expo was an opportunity to learn from competitors and establish partnerships.
“We are into this business because we want to make the food we eat nutritiously and make it a delicacy for all,” he said.
Madam Sabina Tsibua of Betsy collection in Takoradi said she was anticipating massive patronage of her beautiful African wear collections.
“We want to be able to connect with other people and most importantly sell our products to the world,” she added.
Mr Tanko Abdulai Ibrahim, the Event and Marketing Officer of the Ghana Hotels Association, said it was the Association’s first at the exhibition fair.
He said there was a need for businesses and hotels to cooperate and support one another.
“We want to connect with local businesses to work with us. They can even be our main vendors and suppliers in a lot of the services we give at the various hotels,” he said.
For the fair, he said hotel charges had been discounted for all participants.
“Let us all be part of it and make this wonderful initiative a successful programme,” he said.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo will officially open the event on Monday, July 25.
A host of diverse participants including investors, diplomats, traditional rulers, Ministers of State, trade attachés and Chief Executive Officers of both private and public institutions are anticipated to grace and partake in the fair.
An investment forum, a float through Cape Coast, raffle draws, and cultural exhibitions are part of the activities lined up to spice up the event.
Partners and sponsors of the expo include Petersfield and Rey Group, Ghana Bamboo Eco-City Limited, COA FS, Heritage Conservation Trust, Komenda Sugar Development Company Limited, GCB Bank, EXIM Bank and Margins Company Limited.