The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), at its recently held virtual 2020 World Council Meeting, elected Valentina Mintah, founder of West Blue Consulting, as the first African executive board member.
Mintah, an internationally recognised expert in trade facilitation and business process automation, will be the first black woman to hold the position.
Having established West Blue Consulting in 2012, Mintah led her company to successfully develop and deliver a national single window platform for Nigeria, significantly optimising and improving trade facilitation in the country, and leading to savings of USD$25 million per month for Nigeria.
In 2014, West Blue Consulting further harnessed its customs modernisation expertise to develop and implement a national single window platform for Ghana. Within two years of implementation at ports across Ghana, the platform had saved the Government of Ghana about USD$ 500 million, which resulted in Ghana rising through the ranks of the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business” index, and becoming a vibrant hub for continental trade.
Commenting on her election, Mintah who serves as vice chair of ICC Ghana said that despite the current global health and economic crisis, Africa cannot and should not be overwhelmed.
“It is therefore vital that intra- African trade is strengthened in line with the goal of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA). Therefore, leveraging on the growth opportunities for sustainable intra-African trade is an objective that should be supported for the benefit of the African economy,” she said.
According to her, focus should be on ways to empower and support small business owners to survive and thrive in the era of covid-19 and beyond, using digital technology and innovative business practices.
John W.H. Denton, ICC Secretary General, said the Chamber is delighted to welcome Valentina Mintah to its global Executive Board.
“Throughout her career, Valentina has championed international trade facilitation both in her home region of West Africa and in a number of transitional economies across the world. With her additional role as Vice Chair of ICC Ghana, she is uniquely placed to promote the strengthening of commercial and trade ties within high growth global markets,” Denton said.
The new ICC Executive Board is the most diverse to date in terms of gender, ethnic and regional balance. The board is chaired by MasterCard CEO, Ajay Banga, while Maria Fernanda Garza is First vice chair aside Mintah.
Other new members of the Executive Board are Sheikh Khalifa Mohammad Al-Thani (Qatar), Sebastian Escarrer (Spain), Dario Gallina (Italy), Shinta Kamdani (Indonesia), Takeshi Niinami (Japan), Jane Sun (China), Patrick Obath (Kenya) and Harshi Pati Singhania (India), who were re-elected to serve second terms on the Executive Board.
The newly constituted ICC Executive Board has a two year term which begins on July 1, 2020. ICC is the institutional representative of more than 45 million companies in over 130 countries across the world.
The Executive Board is responsible for developing and implementing ICC’s strategy, policy and programme of action, and for overseeing the financial affairs of the organization. Executive Board members further support the work of ICC national committees, whose mission is to promote the interests of their local economy.