It’s the day after Christmas, I personally have a lot to be grateful for this year and my highlight was certainly the Ministry of Trade and Industry’s (MOTI) Ghana Made Christmas Street Fair. Below are the highlights that made the fair extraordinary:
The fair hosted over 600 vendors from all corners of the country. If you needed proof of the potential of the local manufacturing industry, the Ghana Made Street Fair was the place to be. I interacted with vendors from all corners of the country, I tasted dried mangoes from Koforidua, locally made yogurt and skimmed milk from Accra, and shopped Tie & Dye from the Volta Region.
You guys were AMAZING! I mean wow. You started arriving around 7 AM on Saturday and stayed until 11 pm. I was shocked by the number of people who came from funerals, weddings, and other engagements to shop made-in-Ghana goods. It was personally humbling to witness Ghanaians shopping local goods and having a good time.
The Side Attractions and Main Event
I missed most of the side attractions because I was busy shopping but people told me they enjoyed the performances of the masquerades, the local drummers, dancers and others I will not go into because I missed them.
I might have missed the side attractions but I sure did not miss the main events. Let me start with Saturday night’s fashion show. It was my first street fashion show and I loved every bit of it. The selection of designers was amazing, there was a mixture of known and unknown brands. I had a blast Sunday night at the concert. I actually danced on stage (no shame at all!). My favorites were the performances by Kidi and Kwame Eugene.
The Unified Effort by Local Institutions
Although the fair was organized by the Ministry of Trade and Industry, it was heavily supported by the ministry’s sister organizations (GEPA, GSA, REP, NBSSI, GFZB). I’ll name them and tell you a bit about them. We all know Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA), so no need explaining them. The Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) is responsible for ensuring made-in-Ghana goods are of high quality and meet international standards. GSA threw its weight behind the ministry the moment they were informed of the fair and remained consistent throughout the journey.
The Rural Enterprise Program (REP) is an agency committed to rural development. They made it possible for close to 200 vendors from Rural Ghana participate in the fair at no cost and even provided transportation and housing. National Board For Small Scale Industries (NBSSI) is just like REP but for micro-businesses. NBSSI also threw its weight behind the ministry and sponsored over 100 vendors to participate in the fair free of charge. Ghana Free Zones Board (GFZB) enables the free zones to promote economic development, like all the previous organizations, GFZB wholeheartedly supported the fair.
90% of Vendors Participated for FREE!
We provided stands for the two day fair for 500-1000 GHS but in reality, we charged 200-1000. Only a handful of vendors actually paid the 500-1000, the majority paid less than 200 GHS and over 90% actually participated for free. If the Ministry had its way, every vendor would have participated for free but we had bills to settle and decided it might be better to subsidize the participation of those who couldn’t afford the fees with money generated from the payments of those who could.
You’re probably wondering where I fit in all of this and if you're not, let me wonder on your behalf so I have an excuse to talk about myself. For those who do not know me, I run www.dziffa.com, the only online marketplace in Ghana dedicated to selling exclusively locally made goods.
Dziffa.com enables lovers of authentic Ghanaian goods both home and abroad buy directly from the producers from the comfort of their homes. We officially launched in 2015 with the Ghana Mission to the UN, getting the Ghanaian Diaspora to see home as a place to shop and not only send remittances. In 2016, I launched the Proudly Ghanaian Campaign focused on celebrating all that is good in Ghana on Independence Day.
In June 2017, I launched Ghana Nie, a fair dedicated to celebrating the most innovative and creative brands in Ghana. In September 2017, I organized Ghana Made, Shopping from Ghana to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals at Impact Hub New York. As usual, the focus was to preach shopping made-in-Ghana goods to Ghanaians and Africans in the Diaspora.
I dreamt of this day three years ago but did not believe it will happen, let alone have the honor of being at the forefront of it and the opportunity to tell you all about it.
I hope you can join us next year :)
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