Diasporian News of Monday, 24 September 2012
Vernon, New York
Ghana made a strong case for its economy and political stability as a reason for a destination of choice during the just ended Ghana International trade and Investment fair dubbed “Ghana New York Expo 2012” at the City of Mount Vernon, New York.
On September 14, 2012 at the Council Chambers of the City of Mount Vernon, a collection of renowned Ghanaian Entrepreneurs, elected officials and a college professor conferred on the theme “Ghana as an Emerging Market, Prospects and Challenges”. The conference explored the theme thoroughly and sought ways to encourage businesses in America to go to Ghana and also instituted a structure establishing a union for Ghanaian owned businesses in New York- christened the Ghana New York Business Council.
In her opening remarks, Michelle Johnson, a City Attorney of Mount Vernon, New York, expressed the City’s sincere intentions to partner Ghana to spur economic growth for joint benefit of its people. Senator Ruth H. Thompson, of New York State Senate mentioned with pride her unofficial title as the “Champion of African owned businesses at the State Senate” and encouraged African business owners to freely access her offices for any help they may need. Mr. Samuel Amoah of the popular Sam’s Restaurant in the Bronx, Mr. Daniel Agyei of Kuwait Shipping, Mr. Charles N. Mensah of 3G Media, Mr. Samuel Ameyaw of Executive Image African Movies Production and Mr. George Kuntu Blankson, a lawyer shared their wide business experience with the panel and expressed a sigh of relief as they reposed their hope on the newly formed Council to help propel the enterprise of Ghanaian businesses in New York and unanimously elected Mr. Kojo Ampah Sahara, the President and CEO of Malaika Media Network to serve as the interim chair of the Council.
The Expo reached a crescendo on Saturday September 15 with a colorful durbar of Chiefs amidst blistering and pounding of traditional Ghanaian drums called fontomfrom and fine speeches by Mr. Ofori Annor, Executive Secretary of National Council of Ghanaian Associations in New York (NCOGA), Okokyeredom Acheampong Tieku, Asante Chief of New York State, Senator Ruth H. Thompson and Ernest D. Davis, Mayor of the City of Mount Vernon as the vendors proudly showcased their wares and a renowned traditional priest from Ghana, Nana Kwaku Bonsam mesmerized the gathering with some intricate dance moves in a flaring and flying smoke costume at the City Hall Plaza. Ghana’s internationally acclaimed musicologist Okyerema Asante of “ Crabs in a Bucket” fame also gave a good account of himself with a very poetic yet dazzling performance.
Mayor Ernest D. Davis who was presented with a gift of traditional kente cloth and sandals by Okokyeredom Tieku got a help from Nana Kwaku Bonsam to wrap the cloth around his shoulders and engaged him in a bout of traditional Ghanaian dance steps as the gathering cheered them on. The Mayor later in his remarks indicated his desire to gift Ghana with a building in his City to serve as a museum and a cultural center.
Ghanaian vendors also were given the opportunity to participate in Arts on Third Festival which drew a crowd of more than 40,000 people.
The event was jointly organized by Malaika Media Network and the City of Mount Vernon, New York.