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$5.1bn NTE earnings target achievable — GEPA

BY: Samuel K. Obour

Mr Gideon Quarcoo, CEO, GEPA (2nd left), interacting with Mr Alagie S. Jallo, a Ghanaian exhibitor at the fair in Turkey. Picture: Maxwell Adombila AkalaareThe Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) is confident the country's earnings from non-traditional exports will rise to US$5.1 billion by 2017 in line with targets set in the new National Export Strategy (NES).

The export strategy, which was launched on August 18, 2013, aims at diversifying the country's exports, and double revenues from the sector from the current US$2.46 billion to US$5.1 billion in four years.

The GEPA, the implementing body, said the target was achievable, especially if the various districts and dealers in non-traditional exports (NTEs) embraced the new initiatives in the area.

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The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the authority, Mr Gideon Quarcoo, told the Daily Graphic on the sidelines of the Izmir International Fair in Turkey that his outfit had started collaborations with the districts and exporters and was optimistic that the target would be achieved in due course.

Such collaborations, he said, were aimed at finding new products for export, as well as locating new markets for existing exports.

"The National Export Strategy is a very lofty vision, we agree, but it is within our reach," Mr Quarcoo said.

The authority facilitated the participation of 12 companies from the pharmaceutical, food and beverage and the cosmetics industries of the economy to the five-day fair, which opened on August 29, 2013.

Exhibitors came from various countries to showcase their various products to the hundreds of patrons who thronged the fair ground on a daily basis.

The GEPA is the export promotion arm of the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MoTI) and has been facilitating Ghana's participation in the Izmir Fair and other world renowned exhibitions with global reach for decades.

Speaking to the paper on the NES, Mr Quarcoo said there was the need for exporters and manufactures of NTEs to align themselves with the changes in the industry because they could survive only through that.

"The handicraft industry, for instance, has been facing some challenges and that is because buyers are now becoming fed up with the artifacts they get. If you bought a dog artifact this year, will you buy the same thing next year?" Mr Quarcoo asked.

"We at the GEPA have realised that the artifact area is one that needs constant infusion of innovation to survive and we are, therefore, working with the manufacturers to achieve this," he added.

Mr Quarcoo explained that instead of producing artifacts that just attracted the human eye, the authority was now encouraging manufacturers and exporters to "produce utilitarian artifacts that can be used for something in an addition to the admiration."

By Maxwell Adombila Akalaare/Daily Graphic/Ghana