The Managing Director of Republic Bank (Ghana) PLC, Mr. Benjamin Dzoboku has delivered a presentation on behalf of the Group President and Managing Director, Mr. Nigel Baptiste, at the just-ended 21st Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Symposium organized by the Emancipation Support Committee of Trinidad and Tobago as part of the Emancipation Day Celebrations at the Hilton Trinidad and Conference Centre, Trinidad and Tobago.
The 1st of August is celebrated as Emancipation Day, to commemorate the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade from 1526 to 1867 which saw many Africans shipped to Trinidad and Tobago and other parts of the Caribbean.
In recent times, there have been calls from both countries to go beyond the cultural and historical similarities to build deeper trade relationships between the two countries.
Republic Financial Holdings Limited (RFHL) with its over 186 years in banking in 2015 took a major step to make a major Diaspora Investment in Ghana and eventually became the majority Shareholder in the then Ghanaian Bank, HFC Bank now Republic Bank (Ghana) PLC due to Ghana’s stable emerging market environment.
Since then, Republic Bank Ghana which has proven to be successful, organized four Trade Missions from the Caribbean to Ghana to establish and strengthen trade ties between the two countries but, has faced many challenges which the Managing Director seized the opportunity to address at the symposium.
Mr. Dzoboku’s presentation was on the topic, ‘Accelerating Opportunities to Achieve our Full Potential’ as part of a panel discussion moderated by Mr. Robert Le Hunte, Executive Director for the Bahamas, Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, Inter-American Development Bank.
In his delivery, he proposed some solutions to the current issues that are hindering the Trans-Atlantic Trade Relations between Ghana and the Caribbean of achieving our full potential.
These include the need to improve market information across both regions, provide direct air and shipping transportation, access to free entry of goods and services as well as the need for Governments to deal with double taxation and the high tariffs on imports and exports of goods and services.
He also proposed that investors could leverage the financial conduit created by Republic Financial Holdings Limited (RFHL) through Republic Bank (Ghana) PLC and explore the opportunities.
“At Republic Bank, we firmly believe that partnerships between Trinidad and Tobago and Ghanaian businesses can create a win-win situation. Looking at Africa’s population of 1.46bn and land size of 30.4 million km2, as well as being the same people, just separated by an ocean, trade between the two regions should be over billions and not the current $378m being recorded. As trailblazers, we are committed to advocating this economic renaissance”, Mr. Dzoboku added.
The symposium was opened by Khafra Kambon, Doctor of Humane Letters (h.c.), and the Director of Regional and Pan African Affairs of the Emancipation Support Committee of Trinidad and Tobago. Other speakers included Senator the Honourable Paula Gopee-Scoon, Minister for Trade and Industry, Trinidad and Tobago who gave the welcome remarks, and Mrs. Stacy Adams, Vice President, Investor Services, InvestTT.
Nana Otuo Siribuo II, Juabenhene represented the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II as the special guest of honour.
On the panel were Mr. Yoofi Grant the CEO of the Ghana Investment Promotions Centre (GIPC), who presented Ghana as a destination of opportunities and open for business, Mr. Charles Zwennes, Director of Republic Bank (Ghana) PLC, who spoke on the similar cultures and values shared by the two countries, Mr. Ghent and MS Wright-Paul representatives from the Caribbean Airlines, touching on the possibility of the operationalization of a direct flight from Trinidad and Tobago to Ghana, and Mr. Hayden Alleyne the immediate past President, Shipping Association of Trinidad and Tobago, throwing light on the development of a shipping line to aid the seamless transportation of goods and services between both countries.
The Bank’s parent company, RFHL, is the largest and most profitable independent Bank in the English-speaking Caribbean, having served the region for over 185 years with a total Asset base of over USD 16.5 billion as of the end of the 2021 financial year.
The Bank focuses on four SDG goals – Gold Health and Well-being, Quality Education, Clean Water and Sanitation and Climate Action as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility under its umbrella initiative Power to Make a Difference (PMAD).