The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA), Dr Afua Asabea Asare, has said each district in Ghana is expected to develop at least one exportable product that will provide the needed raw materials to feed the factories that have been established under the government’s one district one factory policy.
She said the decision was part of the Authority’s strategies under the National Export Development Strategy (NEDS) to facilitate the implementation of government’s industrialisation agenda by increasing Non-Traditional Exports (NTEs) in the country.
In a speech delivered by the Deputy CEO of GEPA, Mr. Albert Kassim on her behalf in Tamale, the CEO stated that GEPA was mandated by the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MOTI) to take advantage of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement to facilitate the development of NTEs to further create more jobs in the country.
“The conference is basically to create the awareness of the stakeholders on the AfCFTA agreement and the NEDS document to facilitate the growth of exportable products especially in the country.
“In the Northern Region to be specific, we have a number of exporters who are into shear, cashew, industrial arts and craft. For GEPA, we are preaching one district, one exportable product so that we can add on to the existing exporters that we have to open up the export basket to include other products,” Mr. Kassim said.
Business environment in Northern Region
Speaking at the conference, the Northern Regional Minister, Mr. Salifu Saeed said the AfCFTA was significant to job creation in the Northern Region, adding that the enduring peace restored in the region was going to serve as a foundation to attract investors to establish businesses in the region.
He said the chiefs across the region had resolved to make land available and accessible for investors to acquire in a very ease manner to put up industries that will that would provide jobs the youth and further reduce rural-urban migration in the Northern Region.
Mr Salifu Saeed added that the region was privileged with vast land which supported cultivation of variety of crops which could contribute significantly to export promotion in the county.
“We in the Northern Region see the AfCFTA as a unique opportunity for the people in northern Ghana, giving the fact that we are an agrarian society and we have agricultural commodities that patronised locally, nationally and internationally but we don’t have the needed technology and financial resources to enable us to convert and add value to our natural endowment that will create job opportunities for the youth in the region,” he said.
The Regional Minister further stated that if GEPA and the MOTI were to partner with the Northern Region Coordinating Council, the Northern Development Authority, and the chiefs, the region was going to take advantage of the AfCFTA to promote the government’s industrialisation agenda.
“We appreciate and recognise the importance of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises as a driving force with the potential to mobilize resources towards the total expansion of the economy which would lead to increase in tax revenue for the state and creation of jobs,” he added.
The NED was formulated to build synergies with government’s flagship One District One Factory, Planting for Food and Jobs, Planting for Export and Rural Development, District Industrialisation for Job and Wealth Creation programs to ensure that products marketable in both local and foreign markets.
According to Dr. Asabea Asare, recently, there was relatively weak performance of the NTEs sector and other externalities in the international trading environment had revealed the risks, weaknesses and uncertainties associated with Ghana’s over dependence on primary commodity exports and limited product diversification and value addition.
She added that the NEDS had outlined specific strategies and actions that should be taken at the Regional and District levels, particularly relating to supply capacity improvement of major export products which featured prominently in the industrialisation agenda.
She said the NEDS was therefore going to provide support for Ghanaian companies to penetrate the AfCFTA with their products and services.