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#9 Regional Trade Cooperation

Trade staff in Danish embassies across Africa are working closely together in what is called Trade Council Sub-Saharan Africa (TC SSA).

With the task of facilitating the entry of Danish companies into African markets and encouraging Danish investments, TC staff in embassies in Accra, Lagos, Abuja, Nairobi, and Pretoria have prepared a joint strategy and have common milestones to achieve. Colleagues in the embassies in Dar es Salaam, Addis Ababa, Ouagadougou, and Bamako are contributing, and together we aim at creating the best possible service for the companies.
A Danish company wanting to do business in Ghana will often need assistance to identify a good and trustworthy national partner. It will need advice on government policies and procedures, assistance to set up meetings with high-level decision makers in the public and private sector, and sometimes it will be ideal that the embassy is accompanying the company in its meetings e.g. with chief directors or ministers.In early March 2019, staff from eight Danish embassies in Africa met in Accra. We took our colleagues on a tour in the Tema port where MPS presented the port expansion, and Maersk Drilling, Maersk Line, and APMT engaged the group in a discussion about the value of embassies’ support.

In early March 2019, staff from eight Danish embassies in Africa met in Accra. We took our colleagues on a tour in the Tema port where MPS presented the port expansion, and Maersk Drilling, Maersk Line, and APMT engaged the group in a discussion about the value of embassies’ support.

Embassies can also assist with more practical services such as recruitment of staff, feasibility studies, stakeholder mapping and CSR activities. Since many of the large Danish companies are operating across Africa (Maersk, Novo Nordisk, Grundfos, Arla, Vestas, and others), the embassies can add value to their services to the companies by working closely together e.g. by making regional framework agreements with the companies. All countries are different, but some of the institutional challenges are similar in a number of countries, and embassies exchange experiences on themes such as local content rules, anti-corruption efforts, and access to finance.
Surveys have found that regional cooperation increases both staff satisfaction and satisfaction reported by the companies.
The Trade Council Sub-Saharan Africa has been doing very well, indeed, during 2018, and among the 18 regions where the Trade Council operates around the world, it was the one where earnings exceeded targets the most. The Ghana team contributed substantially to the good results and has now increased its staff to five.

Regional cooperation is good business – and a lot of fun!