International Trade Workshop series [1]

Export Club recently held an event in partnership with City Business Library on 28th January to cover International Trade. The first, in the workshop series, had a “Focus on West Africa”.

bryan2First part was led by Bryan Treherne MBE who gave a presentation on Exporting to West Africa. West Africa is a regional body, covered by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), with 16 Countries. The highlight was on four Countries to serve for the case study. Aside from the economic data given, a comparison study which was very useful focused on rankings for Ease of Doing Business Index – The World Bank 2015.

Country UK Ghana Sierra Leone Benin Nigeria
Rank 6 114 147 158 169

Bryan, from first-hand experience, explained that building relationships with business partners was instrumental to doing good business with a need to also make Trade Missions to cement those. He emphasised the requirement to be sensitive and understand cultural differences in dealings, since this could sink the deal, if not handled well. 

He gave an example that Ghana was now disillusioned with the quality and failings of China Infrastructure, Roads & Railways etc., and hence were forthcoming to pay for the quality and reliability of UK Goods.

olu2The second part was was given by Engr Olu Aiyegbusi, the Chairman of Olu  Olu Group.  African Food producers. He presented on “How to grow an International Brand,” which detailed how his company was founded on £1400 and has grown into a Conglomerate that covers UK, Europe, USA and S. America. His focus in building the brand was an emphasis on “Quality, Reliability, Innovation” and understanding of customer segments which led to growth in new markets.

He gave an unabashed account of the failures and set- backs along the way and how entrepreneurs need to balance risk and opportunity. He further outlined that the great opportunity in W Africa was the Agro-allied Industry, since his food production company used logistics and supply chain alongside back-ward integration with farmers.

panel1 There was a wrap-up Question & Answer session with panelists;
Olu Aiyegbusi, Chairman Olu Olu Group
Steve Rapley, International Trade Adviser, UKTI
David Billingsby, International Trade Adviser, UKTI

Audience received answers on various technical topics such as Tariffs, Laws & Customs, new Market entry, Cash-flow planning and related export matters. Plans are underway for the next workshop in the series, with City Business Library.