Businesses share intriguing experiences at CAETE 2023

Aurelia Baaba Ofori Odame &Eric Tsiri with some Stanbic Bank Clients at the China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo (CAETE) in Changsha, China

The evolving trade dynamics between China and Africa have set the stage for burgeoning opportunities. Within the expansive landscape of the Chinese economy, the export sector has emerged as a pivotal arena for engagement. Notably, a substantial portion—approximately 40%—of China’s agribusiness consumables are imported, underscoring a robust market. Of particular significance is the creation of a streamlined pathway, known as the green lane, facilitating swift and hassle-free exports from Africa to China. This development, especially in the realm of agribusiness, is of paramount importance to Ghana, given the significant contribution of its agriculture sector to the national GDP.

Embracing this momentous occasion, Stanbic Bank Ghana has partnered with its parent institution, Standard Bank, to elevate Africa’s export capabilities, channeling the potential of Ghanaian entrepreneurs into the heart of this year’s China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo (CAETE) held in Changsha, China. As a proactive measure, the bank empowered its clients from Ghana to partake in the event, a platform tailored for the display of their products and offerings. An integral component of the expo was a series of matchmaking endeavors, enabling direct engagement with prospective Chinese buyers and collaborative partners.

Freda Gezel Sekyiwaa, the CEO of Parin Africa Limited, commended Stanbic Bank Ghana’s instrumental role in fostering her business growth. She expressed her satisfaction, stating, “Our experience at the trade expo, facilitated by Stanbic Bank Ghana, was truly remarkable. The opportunity to engage in matchmaking with numerous potential business partners allowed us to showcase our diverse products—ranging from cashew nuts to sesame and soybeans. For businesses seeking expansion, Stanbic Bank is an invaluable partner, adept at facilitating growth and aiding in the realization of business aspirations, particularly within the agriculture sector. I extend heartfelt gratitude to the Stanbic Bank group for their pivotal role in this endeavor, benefiting both myself and the entire Parin Africa team.”

Similarly, Mr. George  Adjei-Bekoe, the CEO of Gablin Foods, shared his perspective on the trade expo experience. “As an SME primarily focused on producing natural cocoa powder, chocolate bars, and spreads, our collaboration with Stanbic Bank has been transformative. They efficiently supported our export venture to Taiwan last year. This year, as part of Ghana’s delegation to the Changsha trade expo, my expectations were modest due to past challenges in China. To my astonishment, Goblin Chocolates, our brand, quickly garnered attention and was in high demand. This underscored a latent market for cocoa products. Our interactions with various businesses are promising, and we anticipate that Stanbic Bank will continue to aid our expansion efforts, thus enhancing our presence in the Chinese market. I firmly advocate for other companies to consider partnering with Stanbic Bank, as the remarkable trade prospects between China and Africa, especially within the agriculture sector, are undeniable.”

Reflecting on the event’s significance, Aurelia Baaba Ofori Odame, Head of Africa-China Trade Banking at Stanbic Bank Ghana, elucidated the bank’s pivotal role. “At Stanbic Bank, we are steadfast in our commitment to nurture Africa’s growth, making it a thriving home. Consequently, we have embraced this pivotal growth catalyst for our economy, motivating an array of export-oriented businesses to collaborate with us, as we prepare them to access the Chinese market via CAETE. Our objective as a bank is not only to seize this opportunity but also to bridge the trade surplus gap within the Ghanaian economy. By supporting exporters of both traditional and non-traditional commodities to venture into the Chinese market, we aim to bolster our local economy through the injection of crucial foreign exchange.”

CAETE stands as a biennial event, co-sponsored by the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China and the People’s Government of Hunan Province. Originating in 2019, CAETE embodies the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation’s (FOCAC) commitment to rectify the trade balance between Africa and China. The expo operates as a platform to amplify the import of African goods and services, constructing novel avenues for direct business collaborations at the sub-national level. The preceding 2019 and 2021 editions have borne fruit, culminating in the endorsement of 216 projects, contributing to a cumulative trade value exceeding US$43 billion between Africa and China.

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