Let’s prioritise value addition to exports — Prof. Bokpin
An economist and professor of finance, Professor Godfred Bokpin says the country can halt the depreciation of the local currency, create more jobs and wealth for people and the economy as a whole if it makes deliberate effort to add value to its exports.
“We are exporting but we are not exporting enough of value added products,” Professor Bokpin said as he stressed the need for a conscious effort by the government and other stakeholders in the export business to rethink their export strategy to derive its inherent benefits.
“We must be intentional about adding value and that is where job creation, wealth creation and the stability of the currency will come from,” he told the Daily Graphic in an interview shortly after the maiden Consolidated Bank Ghana’s (CBG) Thought Leadership Breakfast Meeting on trade.
The event in Accra last Thursday was on the theme: “Import versus Export, the role of the bank, Policymakers, Business, Stakeholders in ensuring Economic Growth and Currency Stabilisation”.
Professor Bokpin said much as the country was exporting large quantities of products to different markets, it is not reaping the fruits simply because most of the products are exported in their raw state, a practice other countries, particularly those in Europe, America and the rest do not do.
Ghana’s non-traditional exports (NTEs) for 2022 reached $3.5 billion a six per cent growth over $3.3 billion in 2021. The amount reported represented 20.22 per cent of the total merchandise exports for the year.
According to the annual Non-Traditional Export Statistics Report presented by the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) last May.
The report said cocoa paste, which raked in $520 million, was Ghana’s highest NTE earner out of a total of 604 products. Cashew nuts followed with $294.2 million.
Cocoa paste, cashew nuts, cocoa butter, iron and steel circles, rods, sheets, billets, articles of plastic, aluminium plates, sheets, and coils, canned tuna, natural rubber sheets, cocoa powder, and shea oil were the top 10 NTE products for 2022.
Much as there is something to celebrate, it is imperative to note that a large part of the exports were done in their raw state.
Professor Bokpin said, “If you look at what we are exporting now, there is very little local content because the big companies that are doing the export are not Ghanaian owned.
We must be intentional about increasing the local content in the export value chain so that we are intentional about supporting indigenous Ghanaian businesses for some of them to become big locally, nationally, regional and at a global level.”
“Today if we are looking at maybe the top 50 companies in Africa and Ghana is missing. That is not good enough. So we have to be intentional, and it doesn't matter which party affiliations when it comes to good development.
We are exporting but we are not exporting enough of value added products,” he said.