The Nigerian High Commissioner to Ghana, Vice Admiral Ibok Ete Ekwe lbas (retd), has asked Ghana and Nigeria to leverage their strengths within the sub-region and the continent to increase trade among themselves.
He said the two countries accounted for over 70 per cent of West Africa’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and, therefore, it was prudent for the two countries to do more among themselves as far as trade was concerned.
Vice Admiral Ibas made the call when he led a delegation to the GIHOC Distilleries Limited to familiarise himself with the company’s operations.
Among the delegation was a team from Aphro Spirit.
Aphro Spirit has been trying to make approaches to try to increase relations between Ghana and Nigeria
Two of the crucial topics discussed were the beverage industry and how the two countries could create a beneficial partnership.
The visit was also to help strengthen the bilateral trade between Ghana and Nigeria to foster a conducive environment for development in both countries as well as discuss how to enhance relations as well as growth/reach strategy into Nigeria.
“We as Africans have decided to be where we are but it’s now time for us to wake up from our slumber so that we can make progress. It’s time for African brands to let the world know what the continent has to offer because until we reach out, our dreams may just be subdued," Vice Admiral Ibas said.
The two countries needed to start working really fast because “Africa contributes just one per cent of global trade which is bad and grossly inadequate”.
“We have to start working and the time is really now,” Vice Admiral lbas said.
He disclosed that a Ghana-Nigeria joint commission meeting had been scheduled for next year to discuss how to promote indigenous products in both countries to enable them increase their volume of trade.
He gave the assurance that the commission would continue to collaborate and support both companies to extend their market.
“I like what you are doing so far, I want to congratulate both companies and I wish for more collaborations to help our two nations to grow,” the High Commissioner said.
The Managing Director of GIHOC Distilleries, Mr Maxwell Kofi Jumah, commended the High Commissioner for his support to the bilateral trade between Ghana and Nigeria.
He acknowledged the sister relationship between both countries, saying that “When Nigeria sneezes, Ghana gets cold and this has been happening since time immemorial.”
Through such a collaboration, he said GIHOC had made great strides on the Nigerian market and expressed optimism that the collaboration between his company and Aphro Beverage would help extend their market.
“I am happy that through Aphro, we are cementing that kind of relationship that exist between both countries. We need to deepen the relationship and expand it for the mutual benefit of both companies,” Mr Jumah said.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of LEW Ghana, Mr Charles Kojo Buckman, also indicated that the focus of the company was to cut across the shorelines of West Africa.
“We have a passion to improve our products and make it better. We need to expand from where we have started and promote it as an African brand,” he added.
Aphro Spirit is a modern drink to commemorate ancestral heritage.
It stemmed from a need to see an African icon amongst Western giants - Westerners who once referred to local drinks as ‘distasteful’.
Aphro Spirit made it a mission to disprove this to get a premium drink to unite the continent