Our New West Africa Office


Having failed to make the very same journey back in November due to fog at Amsterdam airport, I was inevitably somewhat perturbed to watch snow falling the day before my departure.  However I need not have worried as the journey from Newcastle to Accra, Ghana went very well and I was met as planned by John Dossou, our new Ghanaian colleague, who is to be responsible for our West African lending from a base in Accra.

One of the first things that struck me about Ghana and its capital city was its patriotism; the Ghanaian flag was flying everywhere.  I soon found out that this was primarily due to Ghana beating Tunisia in the Africa Cup of Nations on the night of my arrival and going through to the semi-finals of this auspicious tournament.  The final result had been 2-1 in the last minutes of extra time but at least John had been merrily occupied watching the football whilst waiting a very long time for me to clear immigration.

Our first day was spent visiting our new office in Accra and getting to know our new office-sharing partners, Fairtrade Africa and FLO.  As we only lend to FLO-certified producers (or to WFTO members), both parties are convinced that this office-share agreement and the potential collaboration it brings should ultimately be very beneficial to the producer groups with which we are both working directly, albeit in different capacities.

John also took me on an interesting shopping expedition in an attempt to help him kit out his new office.  Had any of the shops, including a big department store, accepted credit cards, we might have made some progress; we didn't!