Michael Ross

20 Nov 2023
20 Nov 2023

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What do you do?

I am a policy officer for trade and economic affairs at the Netherlands Embassy in Ghana. I advise on trade and economic policies and manage projects around private sector development, which involves facilitating and enhancing Dutch investments and businesses in Ghana.

How have your degrees helped you get to where you are?

My degrees in international relations and international law have paved the way for me to grow on my career path. I had the opportunity to study WTO law during my MPhil programme at UCT, and this has enabled me to provide advisory services and act as a resource person for international trade and economic policy on several international and local news platforms and conferences.

What are some of the challenges you have faced in your career?

In my career I have faced many challenges. One of them was moving back to my country, Ghana, right after school. As a young woman pursuing a career in international trade and development, I found it difficult to find a job within my area of expertise. Aside from the challenge of not having much work experience, there was a reality that trade wasn’t as popular then as it is now. I was thus forced to work in other industries while I still kept my dream of developing my career as an expert in international trade.

The resilience and perseverance paid off. These are key when facing life in the real world after school. Nothing comes on a silver platter, and you must never give up.

What advice would you give to current students?

I would encourage students to enhance their soft skills like critical thinking, communication and adaptability, alongside studying, as this would help them succeed better in the workplace. Moreover, developing emotional intelligence is also critical when it comes to thriving in your career.

How do you see your industry evolving in the near future in Africa?

I see international trade taking a forefront in the African development trajectory, as a replacement for relying on external aid. With the establishment of the African Continental Free Trade Area, I believe there will be a boost in the production of value added goods, which will make Africa one of the largest contributors to global trade.