The Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA), Dr Afua Asabea Asare, has advised businesses to take advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement to expand their markets and exports to other parts of the continent.
She said there was the need for the country to increase its non-traditional exports (NTEs) in order not to overly rely on primary commodities.
She said even though the country had enhanced its stature in international trade; recording substantial expansion in total exports, “the recent relatively weak performance of the Non-Traditional Exports (NTEs) sector and other externalities in the international trading environment have revealed the risks, weaknesses and uncertainties associated with our over dependence on primary commodity exports and limited product diversification and value addition.”
Dr Asare was speaking at the first Regional Conference on the implementation of the AfCFTA Agreement and National Export Development Strategy (NEDS) in Kumasi.
It was organised by the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MoTI), GEPA and the National AfCFTA Coordination Office on the theme: “Empowering Ghana Businesses to Harness the Benefits of the AfCFTA under the framework of the NDES.”
She explained that the NEDS had been aligned to the government’s industrialisation agenda, whose implementation over the next 10 years “will witness rapid increases in Non-Traditional Export revenues.
“The Strategy outlines several strategies that will enable us to rake in USD25.3 billion in non-traditional export revenues by the year 2029,” she said.
She said the regional conference was, therefore, to bring the good news of the opportunities provided by the AfCFTA and NEDS to the doorsteps of the people of Ghana, and particularly the business community nationwide so that working together, “we can maximise these opportunities to increase trade within Africa.”
She said NEDS had outlined specific strategies and actions that should be taken at the Regional and District levels, particularly relating to supply capacity improvement of the major export products of the country “which features prominently under Pillar One of the Strategy document.
“It is expected that each district in Ghana should develop at least one exportable product that will provide the needed raw materials to feed the ever-expanding numbers of factories being established, thanks to the good trade policies of the government,” she said.
A Deputy Minister for Trade and Industry, Mr Robert Ahomka-Lindsay, said the objective of the AfCFTA was to build wealth within African countries by breaking down all trade barriers and encouraging trade among African countries.
He said the agreement would also serve as a catalyst for the government’s efforts towards industrialisation as there would be bigger markets for businesses to export their products.
According to him, if all the African countries joined AfCFTA, which would come into force in January 2021, intra-African trade would increase by 52 per cent by the year 2022.