Speakers and delegates at the maiden Executive Women Network (EWN) annual conference have called for urgent action to rebrand the country to attract business, investment and tourism.
Chaired by the First Lady, Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo, the EWN, made up of women leaders, proposed practical and actionable steps to positively position Ghana as the preferred investment destination.
The conference was held on the theme: Re-branding Ghana to drive business growth: the perspective of women leaders.
It brought together over 300 women leaders from diverse backgrounds to chart the course to rebrand the country to attract business, local and foreign direct investment and profitable partnerships that would accelerate economic development.
Women, part of solution
The First Lady said the conference provided an opportunity for all women in business, civil society organisations and politics to be part of a national conversation and, therefore, urged women leaders to play an active role in rebranding the country.
“One of the key challenges I have observed is that more often than not, we leave branding and positioning our country in the hands of an entity, mostly a government parastatal, to lead this agenda while the rest of us focus on our individual businesses. This is one area we have mostly erred,” she indicated.
“I am aware of the amazing work government institutions such as the Ghana Investment Promotion Council are doing to promote the country to the outside world, but you see, we will not make much progress in this regard if we, as leaders, do not play an active role in how our country is positioned in the minds of the rest of the world,” she added.
Mrs Akufo-Addo also pointed out that “as business leaders, you are in charge of growing the businesses and brands that have been entrusted to you – many of these are multinational brands that you have built and managed exceptionally well over the years.
These brands have become strong selling points for their originating countries – attracting further investment and to a large extent fuelling the tourism sector in these countries.
“Yet, as the experts in building global brands, we leave the work of branding solely in the hands of government parastatals. Imagine for a moment the difference we can make if we apply the same rigour, commitment and expertise you all possess into branding our dear country,” she stated.
Ghana at centre of the world
The keynote speaker, Mr David Ofosu-Dorte, who is the Executive Chairman of AB &David, also called for the need to make the country the attraction of the world for business and investment.
He urged the delegates and Ghanaians to align to a compelling brand identity for the country.
Citing examples from several countries, he urged leadership at all levels to consciously build “A Brand Ghana” that was attractive for business, investment and tourism.
He explained that earlier attempts to brand Ghana as the gateway to Africa were not fully exploited, questioning why we would prefer to be a gateway instead of a destination.
“Tapping into the political stability, our vast human resource, rich culture and cuisines, we can shape the narrative about Ghana to attract business and investment into the country,” he noted.