The Waakye Summit, one of Ghana's largest food festivals, has once again brought Accra to a standstill with its fifth edition held earlier this month at the Mmofra Place, next to Marvel’s mini-golf, at Dzorwulu, Accra.
The festival, organized by a group of young and enterprising business executives, saw about 4,000 people from all walks of life converge to eat, drink, play and network. The event served not only as a chance to celebrate and enjoy delicious Waakye, but as an opportunity for businesses to network and build partnerships.
It brought together some of the most renowned and best Waakye vendors in the capital including Sisters Waakye, Adabraka; Hajia Waakye Boutique, Madina; Rockz Waakye, Rockstone’s Office; Fulera Waakye and Waakye Wifi, both at Madina. Others include Waakye Exclusive, (Nyaho) Airport Residential Area; Anadwo Waakye, East Legon; The Lord is My Shepherd Waakye, Adjiringanor; and Assibi Number 1 Waakye also located at East Legon.
These were accompanied by other local delicacies including palm wine, sobolo, asana, lamogin and also suya, grills, ice cream and pancakes. Side attractions included paintball, video games, painting sessions, a kids’ area, and music from a live band and brass band; it was once again a top-notch memorable experience.
Beyond Accra and Ghana - a tourism initiative
The festival is also in line with the ‘See Ghana, Eat Ghana, Wear Ghana, Feel Ghana’ campaign, which aims to promote domestic tourism and enhance the economic viability of Ghana's cultural identity while growing local markets and gaining access to global markets. The ‘Eat Ghana’ agenda is given top priority, and the festival offers the perfect platform to promote Ghanaian food and culture.
Consequently, in line with expanding the national ‘Eat Ghana’ agenda, the organizers of the Waakye Summit have set their sights on taking the event to other cities in the country and then beyond the shores of Ghana, in the process becoming the biggest food festival on the continent.
“We have seen first-hand the reception from local and foreign participants and we are optimistic that this could be one of the country’s major tourism exports. The goal is to promote tourism in Ghana through this initiative,” said Derrick Crentsil, the Founder and Lead Organizer.
Recounting its origin, Derrick Crentsil said the Waakye Summit started through the @Waakye_Radar blog on Instagram and Facebook, which he founded with Jessica Poku, a partner, and they sought to share their reviews and direct lovers of the Waakye delicacy to the best joints in Ghana.
“As the community of Waakye lovers grew, I created the festival as the next step in bringing both the followers and Waakye vendors together to celebrate and promote this delicacy in an effort to make it known globally. I am grateful to be working with a team who are equally as excited about the idea and passionate in making this vision a reality,” Derrick Crentsil noted.
The maiden edition was held in December 2018 at the Efua Sutherland Park in Accra with seven Waakye vendors, and was attended by about 500 attendees. Subsequent editions saw steady growth in patrons and vendors.
Empowering women and promoting digital inclusion
The Waakye Summit, according to Lady Mardell Masopeh, one of the organizers, is particularly concerned about ensuring that vendors, most of whom are women, receive payments at the lowest cost possible. Consequently, the Waakye Summit is viewed as an intersection between women empowerment and technology. In this recent edition, the vendors were set up to receive payments via GhQR.
“About 75 percent of the vendors were women, and as organizers, who are passionate about promoting digital transactions, we have taken steps and ensured that about 40 percent of the transactions were done digitally. Our goal is to drive this up significantly in subsequent editions,” she added.
According to Caleb Darko, a co-organiser, the sixth edition of the Waakye Summit scheduled for December 26, 2023, will be even bigger, and will provide the opportunity for more corporate participation, a wider catalogue of side attractions and businesses of other local products, and most importantly, an increase in the number of participating Waakye vendors.
The fifth Waakye Summit was sponsored by Maggi, Malta Guinness, Fidelity Bank, Bel Aqua, Uber, and Vigor Security Services. Media partners were Asaase Radio, Mx24 TV, NET2 TV, and Oman FM.