Economy on path to industrialisation - Alan Kyerematen
The Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Alan Kyerematen, has called on government agencies and the private sector to pursue practical initiatives to take full advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) aimed at boosting intra-African trade.
He said the benefits of intra-African trading would not fall on Ghana’s laps simply because the country is hosting the AfCFTA secretariat.
“In terms of having a concrete impact on individuals and communities, we still have quite a long way to go but we are headed in the right direction as we re-orient our thinking to become a more industrialised economy,” he said.
The Trade and Industry Minister was speaking during the launch of a new hub to provide up-to-date and relevant trade information to Ghanaian exporters, export sector stakeholders, trade and economic researchers and the public.
Christened the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) Impact Hub, it also hosts key export sector regulatory agencies such as the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA), the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) and the Plant Protection and Regulatory Directorate (PPRSD) of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to enable them to provide one-stop-shop of some of their services.
Mr Kyerematen noted that given the complexities and challenges Africa faced, there was the need to harness ideas from the various demographics in order to make any meaningful economic impact.
“We have gone past business as usual concepts and ideas. If we are to make any headway and progress in this technological age, we need a new kind of responsiveness and a new kind of thinking with innovative solutions,” he said.
Thus, he said the GEPA Impact Hub was a commendable initiative that addressed the critical needs of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that required access to tools and services to take advantage of global opportunities.
The new hub
The GEPA Impact Hub would also serve as an incubator to shape the ideas of potential exporters, particularly the youth.
The facility, which is located in the same building as the AfCFTA Secretariat, is fully fitted with computers, dedicated online resources, printed trade publications, compendiums and a physical library where clients can sit in comfort and access information they otherwise would find some difficulty in obtaining.
It also boasts conferencing facilities, B2B syndicated rooms and would also host series of programmes, including monthly events and interactive masterclass sessions with seasoned business leaders and exporters to mentor the younger and aspiring exporters.
The Chief Executive Officer of GEPA, Dr Afua Asabea Asare, said the hub was intended to add value to services the organisation provided to the exporter community in Ghana, and also formed part of efforts to make an input to the National Export Development Strategy (NEDS) which had the ultimate objective of attaining US$25.3 billion target in Non-Traditional Export (NTEs) earnings by the year 2029.
“Another important aspect of the hub is the permanent presence of the three key stakeholders, the GSA, FDA and the PPRSD, each of which has a dedicated desk to provide some of their services from the hub.”
“In time, other agencies such as the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC), the Ghana Free Zones Authority (GFZA) may also be hosted in the hub. This makes it a truly one-stop-shop,” she explained.