Speakers and delegates at the maiden Executive Women Network (EWN) Annual Conference, held on Friday 20th October 2017 at the Movenpick Ambassador Hotel, have called for urgent and deliberate action to rebrand Ghana to attract business, investment and tourism.
The conference, held under the theme: Rebranding Ghana to drive business growth: the perspective of women leaders, brought together over 300 women leaders from diverse backgrounds to chart the course to rebrand Ghana to attract business, local and foreign direct investment and profitable partnerships that will accelerate economic development.
Chaired by the First Lady, Her Excellency Rebecca Akufo-Addo, the women leaders proposed practical and actionable steps to positively position Ghana as the preferred investment destination.
In her opening remarks, Freda Freda Duplan, Chairperson of Executive Women Network and Managing Director of Nestlé Ghana Ltd commended delegates for responding to the call to action. She said, ” today marks a historic day in the life of our country. Gathered here today, is arguably the largest assembly of women leaders in Ghana, ably supported by men who believe in the critical role women play in the socio-economic development of our dear country, for a very important national cause – to shape the narrative and lead a call to action to rebrand Ghana for growth. History is made when collective action meets momentum and we are here for a very important national assignment – to shape the narrative and lead a call to action to rebrand Ghana to drive business growth”.
Keynote address – Ghana at the Centre of the world for business and investment
David Ofosu-Dorte, Executive Chairman of AB &David, the keynote speaker for the conference called on delegates and Ghanaians to align on a compelling brand identity for Ghana. Citing examples from several countries as well as Ghana, he challenged leadership at all levels to consciously build “A brand Ghana’ that is 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. He proposed ‘Ghana at the centre of the world for business, investment and tourism’ as a strong position to occupy in the mind of the rest of the world – tapping into the political stability, our vast human resource, rich culture and cuisines to shape the narrative about Ghana to attract business and investment into the country.
Chairperson Rebecca Akufo-Addo called on women leaders to be part of the solution
Her Excellency Rebecca Akufo-Addo in her remarks, commended EWN and stated that the conference is an opportune call to all women in business, civil society organizations and politics to be part of a national conversation. She challenged women leaders to play an active role in rebranding Ghana and not to leave this solely with state institutions. She said “One of the key challenges I have observed is that more often than not, we leave branding and positioning of our country in the hands of an entity, mostly a government parastatal, to lead this agenda whilst the rest of us focus on our individual businesses. This is one area we have mostly erred.
I am aware of the amazing work government institutions such as the Ghana Investment Promotion Council are doing to promote Ghana 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.
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 rigor, commitment and expertise you all possess into branding our dear country”.
Other distinguished speakers included Akua Owusu Nartey, African Regional CEO for Ogilvy and panelists such as Patrick Awuah, Founder and President to Ashesi University who called for a deliberate strategy that positions Ghana as a hub for investment and business. Other distinguished panelists included Patience Akyianu CEO of Barclays Bank Ghana, Lucy Quist, International Business leader & co-founder of EWN, Theresa Ayoade, CEO of Charterhouse, Professor Robert Hinson of the University of Ghana Business School among others.
The Conference was powered by Upendi PR… A dynamic fully fledged Start Up Public Relations firm.
About Executive Women Network (EWN)
Executive Women Network (EWN), is a non-profit organization of women in senior management and executive positions in private organizations and women entrepreneurs of well established businesses in Ghana.