Since my arrival in Ghana, and the opening of Israel’s Trade and Economic mission back in 2018 many things have changed.
For one, the world has been severely disrupted by the COVID19 pandemic.
Secondly, I personally have changed and grown tremendously from my experiences living in this special country, interacting with its people, and learning about the rich culture and traditions.
Finally, from my perspective, Ghana has also changed and developed a great deal during this period, economically and financially. Ghana’s digitalization drive and innovation ecosystem are in many ways leading the way, and driving growth in many other sectors, bringing new opportunities for financial inclusion, access to services, better governance, and a stronger economy.
I believe that Ghana has all it takes to succeed in this digital transformation agenda, transform its economy, and improve its people’s wellbeing. We also appreciate the governments’ ambition to transform Ghana into the innovation hub in the sub-region and to promote entrepreneurship as a means of tackling the challenge of youth unemployment.
It might not happen overnight, but it is progressing as we speak.
We at the Israel Trade and Economic Mission in Ghana are excited to take part in this process and share some of Israel’s experience as having gone through a similar process in the last couple of decades.
One of the key take-away messages we learn from the Israeli experience is the important role of partnerships in this kind of transformation: inter-disciplinary partnerships, Government-private sector collaborations, international cooperation, and more. These interactions are not always intuitive, or easy to manage, since people are coming from different backgrounds, points of view, and agendas.
Despite those challenges, partnerships have proven to be true drivers of change and progress when managed correctly. That is why the Israeli Ministry of Economy has invested internally in opening 15 local Innovation communities in different sectors in Israel bringing together all stakeholders to interact, discuss challenges, learn from achievements, and create future plans. Having the regulator sit and talk to industry players while the end customer and startups get access to this conversation is key for driving innovation forward.
From the international perspective: There is no need to re-invent the wheel. While each country certainly has its unique characteristics and historical context, much could be achieved by harnessing international expertise and experience through mutually beneficial and respected partnerships, thereby creating something new, something innovative, something full of opportunity – together.
The year 2021, which is coming to an end, was a challenging year for us all, forcing us to adapt to the “new normal”. It forced us to adjust the way we operate and change the way we achieve our goals. In the context of the Trade Mission, it meant working to bring together the Israeli and Ghanaian economies despite extremely limited and restricted travel. In that sense, the digital space became our savior.
Despite the challenges, we are closing a year full of activity and successes:
- Over 30 B2B events were held (on average an event every week and a half) some virtual, some hybrid, and even one miracle cyber delegation to Israel.
- The Trade Mission worked with over 200 Israeli companies and 1,300 Ghanaian companies in our different activities.
- Over 450 B2B meetings were facilitated.
- And most importantly, we helped close $18M worth of business deals and investments between Israeli and Ghanaian companies.
And all that is thanks to the hard work, the talent, the teamwork, and the determination of the Mission’s wonderful team; Mr. Kirk Amoah, Ms. Maame Yaa Amoah, and Mr. Edwin Acquah.
Our work was mostly focused, but not limited to the following sectors:
- Health-tech; Israel has extensive expertise in health-tech that will be very useful to Ghana as we aim to digitalize healthcare delivery. Israel has also contributed to the Agenda 111 program extensively through training provision.
- Agritech; Israel’s expertise in irrigation, fertilizers, greenhouse technologies, precision agriculture, and more.
- Water technology; Israeli Watertech is spearheading the shift towards sustainable water management through a broad range of technologies.
- Home Land Security; innovative HLS customized solutions that Ghana can benefit from as it copes with criminal and terrorist security threats.
- Fintech; as Ghana aims to build a cash-lite economy and grow a fintech ecosystem around its mobile payments market, Israel has many fintech solutions that companies in Ghana’s fintech sector can leverage.
- E-commerce; many much-needed e-commerce solutions for Ghana’s budding e-commerce ecosystem.
- Cyber security; leading cyber solutions to cover every need
- Education, construction, communication, and more
As for the coming year, 2022, if there is one thing COVID19 has taught us is that “Man plans and God laughs”. Notwithstanding, our 2022 plan is ambitious and growth-oriented, and as we have done so far, we will improvise and adjust as much as necessary to achieve our goals which include; continued focus on our key sectors; strengthening ongoing relationships and partnerships, and identifying and creating new opportunities for collaboration.
We have many events planned, as usual, we will be holding many virtual training sessions and events, as well as quite a few hybrid interactions.
Although we have a lot planned, we always like to add more activities and initiatives based on real-time needs and opportunities.
We especially value the ideas that come from our local partners.
If you have an idea for an event, training, delegation, or any other platform to foster opportunities, please do not hesitate to discuss it with us.
In closing, I would like to thank you all for your ongoing partnership.
May you have a blessed, safe, and happy New Year!
Ms. Ayelet Levin-Karp
Head of Mission
Israel Trade and Economic Mission in Ghana and West Africa