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Israeli Embassy woos businesses to Ghana

BY: Severious Kale-Dery
 Mrs Shani Cooper-Zubida explaining a point to our reporter
Mrs Shani Cooper-Zubida explaining a point to our reporter

The Embassy of Israel in Ghana is wooing the Israeli business community to relocate in Ghana and also seek partnership with their Ghanaian counterparts.

It has, therefore, scheduled an investment show in Ghana in June this year, in which a number of Israeli businesses and business community will participate to showcase Israeli technology, particularly in the agricultural sector.

Currently, there are about 100 Israeli companies actively operating in Ghana, with about 25 of them relocating to the country.

Israel-Ghana relations

The Ambassador of Israel in Ghana, Mrs Shani Cooper-Zubida, disclosed this in an interview with the Daily Graphic to commemorate 60 years of relations between Israel and Ghana, which falls on May 9, 2019, and also Israel’s 71st Independence Day celebration.

Relations between Israel and Ghana date back to 1958 when Ghana was the first country in Africa to recognise the State of Israel, which led to the visit of the Prime Minister of Israel to Ghana to participate in activities marking Ghana’s first anniversary that year.

Potential in Ghana

Mrs Cooper-Zubida said most of those Israeli companies in the country were operating in the health, home and security, infrastructure, energy and agricultural sectors.

She said her priority was to promote more Israeli businesses and companies in Ghana, explaining that it was in line with that agenda that the embassy was planning to organise the investment show.

“We see a huge potential in doing business in Ghana and that informed the decision of the government of Israel to open a Trade and Economic mission in Ghana for the whole of Africa but currently focusing on trade and commercial relations between Israel and Ghana,” she explained.

Mrs Cooper-Zubida said Israel and Ghana were working on activating a trade and economic agreement signed between the two countries in 1968 to make it a vibrant tool to promote businesses between them.

She said there was work in progress between the two governments to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to remove double taxation in order to promote investment between the two countries.

Mrs Cooper-Zubida acknowledged that business between Israel and the whole of Africa was low and that was why the embassy was embarking on a number of activities to increase commercial activities between Israel and Africa, particularly Ghana, “because Israel has confidence in Ghana as a good business partner”.

Start-ups

Speaking on start-ups, she said Israel was one of the leading countries in the world, being second after the USA, adding Israel currently had 5,000 start-ups.

“We think we can definitely share our experience with Ghana and so, we are going to hold some workshops with government and with the business sector,” she said.

Touching on cooperation between the two countries since the reopening of the embassy in 2011, Mrs Cooper-Zubida said since then, “there has been a lot of progress but we believe the potentials are much bigger than have been achieved.”

“The government of the State of Israel and Israeli companies and business community see Ghana as one of the best countries in Africa to fulfil our potential of relations.

“So, we can see a lot of interest from the Israeli business community in almost every sector of the economy.

“They are looking for partnerships and cooperation with their Ghanaian counterparts to do business here in Ghana,” Mrs Cooper-Zubida told the Daily Graphic.

She expressed the belief that Israel was a strategic asset to Ghana, adding that Israel could contribute a lot by sharing with Ghana its know-how.

Priority in agric

The ambassador stated that just like Ghana, the first priority of Israel was agriculture and was excited that Israel was sharing its technology and innovation with Ghana in that sector.

She recalled that currently, 50 Ghanaian agricultural students were in Israel for an 11-month internship attached to Israeli farmers, where they were being taken through on-hand training and would be returning in August this year.

“This year, a new group of 60 will be going to also undergo the training when those who went last year might have returned to begin their own agribusinesses,” she explained.

Line-up of activities

Touching on the line-up of activities marking six decades of relations between the two countries, Mrs Cooper-Zubida said there would be a joint spectacular concert today, featuring an Israeli maestro pianist, Nir Brand, the Ghana National Symphony Orchestra and the Pan-African Youth Orchestra.

She hinted that after the performance, the pianist would visit some children centres such as children’s homes, the children’s wards of hospitals and some schools to perform for them.