By Richard Annerquaye ABBEY and Juliet AGUIAR, Takoradi

Chief Executive Officer of the Business and Financial Times Mrs. Edith Dankwah has made a call for government and private sector institutions to make the Western Region a priority in the country?s development agenda.

Mrs. Dankwah was speaking at the opening of the five-day Western Business and Investment Fair (WBIF) on Wednesday in Takoradi. The event, which is taking place at the Akroma Plaza, ends on Sunday and will feature a business seminar and product and service exhibitions.

?The Western Region, we all know, produces the best. From agriculture to energy, tourism and mining, the region has always produced commodities and services that are at the core of our economy,? she said.

According to her, oil production further entrenched the Western Region as the heartbeat of the country?s economy.

The region, for instance, accounts for over 105,000 barrels of crude oil per day from the Jubilee Oil field, which generated a total of US$541.62million (GH?979.32million) in revenue for the government in 2012.

The Western Region is also responsible for more than 50 percent of the country?s total cocoa production — a key forex exchange earner for the country.

The region?s critical role, Mrs. Dankwah added, demands that we all put our hands on deck to advocate and push for more investment into the region to create jobs and grow the local economy.

?It rests on all of us — whether government or private sector institutions — to make the Western Region a priority in the country?s development plans, since most of our industries derive a greater part of their raw materials from the region.?

She said the B&FT and its subsidiaries — Business Times (BT) and Energy Today magazines, Africa Business Leadership Foundation (ABLF) and BiA Conferences — through their activities are committed to enhancing and attracting investments into the region.

Speaking at the same event, Mrs. Tosan Woode, who is the Head of Commercial and Marketing at Aero Surveys Limited, operators of Starbow Airlines, said: ?The Western Region has taken its place as a developing young tiger within the Ghanaian economy, giving credence to the original gateway status to the world that was exploited during the colonial era.?

She added that Starbow, which is one of the few local carriers to establish a flight to Takoradi, is also dedicated to the cause of the Western Region ?in order to enhance the wheels of industrial, financial and economic growth for the sake of the recognition of the region?s true worth?.

The opening ceremony of the 2013 Western Business and Investment Fair was attended by the Metropolitan Chief Executive of Sekondi-Takoradi, Captain (rtd,) Anthony Cudjoe; Deputy Regional Minister Alfred Ekow Gyan; and some chiefs from the area.

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