GEPA to promote services sector

BY: Ama Amankwah Baafi

As part of efforts to increase revenue from non-traditional exports (NTEs) the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) is working to market the country’s services sector.

The NTE sector is categorised into four main sectors, of which three constitute the tangibles of manufactured products, agricultural products (fresh produce) as well as industrial art and craft.

In a report on ‘Analysis of Non-Traditional Export Statistics,’ 2021 launched in Accra on July 5, 2022, it said that export development and promotion activities in the services sector had seen a major uptick over the past three years, all geared towards a strategic streamlining and positioning.

It said the key sub-sectors were information technology (IT) and IT enabled services, medical, tourism, education and consultancy services (engineering, architecture, planning, among others).

Leveraging AfCFTA

The National Export Development Strategy (NEDS) spanning 10 years (2020-2029) which seeks to diversify and grow the NTE sector of the economy emphasises the need to position Ghanaian export of goods and services in the African Continental Free Trade Area(AfCTA).

“Ghana has strong capacity in certain services sectors. There is the need to undertake vigorous export promotion in those fields, especially business process outsourcing, medical tourism, higher education, financial services, IT and Fintech, regulatory inspection and standardisation,” the report added.

Some strategic interventions outlined under the NEDS to promote services export include a shortlist of priority service decors based on their strength and competitiveness and concentrate on promotional resources on their development, give priority to the first batch of services covered under the preferential arrangement for trade in services in the AfCFTA, and promote corporate reputation and country image building in the service sector.

It will also “undertake advocacy for a secure and robust ICT infrastructure, increased ICT penetration and competitive pricing of services.

Encourage service industry associations to take up issues for marketing their services, build capacity of professional associations on effective bidding techniques for winning international contracts and advocate for strong presence and integration of service promotion in mainstream national development programmes,” it stated.

2021 analysis

During the year under review, the authority undertook an extensive mapping of 32 quality medical centers in the country to assess their export readiness, with particular emphasis on centers that offer specialised medical procedures

GEPA collaborated with the National Service Secretariat to kick-start a project that will culminate in the export of human capital in a coordinated manner.

The programme is dubbed “Movement of Natural Persons”.

“It is worth noting that export trade data in trade services is not, as of now, captured as part of NTE statistics.

Thus, the current earnings of US$ 3.3 billion reflects earnings from the three merchandised sectors of manufacturing, agribusiness and industrial art and craft. Efforts are seriously underway to fashion out a strategy to be able the capture services data into the NTE statistics system.

IT fair

Again in 2021, GEPA undertook a major promotional drive in the IT and IT enabled services after promotional activities were severely hampered and curtailed by COVID in 2020.

The authority, in collaboration with the Accra Digital Center, and with the support of the country’s foreign missions, organised the first ever virtual and in-person IT and IT enabled fair in Accra.

The event, dubbed GEPA InfoTech Fair, brought together more than 40 IT/IT-enabled firms in Fintech, Agritech, e-Health, education, among others, to showcase their solutions to the world.

The cardinal objective was to sell Ghana’s offer in information technology to the ECOWAS, Africa and the rest of the world.