The Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) in-charge of Operations and Finance, Mr Samuel Dentu, has said the National Export Development Strategy (NEDS), presents more opportunities to build capacity of industry players to enable them to take advantage of the African market through the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).
He said the new strategy, spanning 10 years (2020-2029) sought to diversify and grow the non-traditional export (NTE) sector of the economy and employ a private-sector-driven approach.
In an interview on Wednesday, he said that funding, with regard to all the processes that went with implementation of the NEDS would basically be borne by the government.
“But then when it comes to the funding of the interventions that have been identified in the NEDS, that will be private sector led. For instance, if the lack of transportation is an identified challenge in the horticulture area, it is the private sector that will be expected to fund that.”
“That’s why we are saying it’s a document mainly for the private sector,” he said.
NEDS versus others
According to Mr Dentu, the NEDS was different because it brought together all the stakeholders in the NTE sector - not a desk strategy- to contribute to it in terms of the opportunities, challenges and what needed to be done as a country.
Also, he said it was more of a private sector thing unlike previous strategies that looked to depend on some donor partners to help with the implementation but this was being implemented in collaboration with the private sector.
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He said that financial institutions had a role to play in the implementation of the NEDS such that some had already been approached to look at the opportunities there.
“They are excited about it. When it comes arranging for low cost loans / facilities, it is a conversation that’s ongoing. I think for them, you have to give them something that is attractive, less risky, among other things, to affect their funding, pricing and all that,” he said.
Mr Dentu said finding markets was not a problem but meeting huge demands, thus the first pillar focused on how to increase capacity.
“If you went out there, you will get so many people who want our products from Ghana but it is the capacity and the standards. So, making sure that we meet standards and ensuring consistency is necessary,” he said.
He urged all stakeholders to come together to be able to achieve the big number in NTEs.
The NEDS which is expected to give a significant boost to Ghana’s export volumes, seeks to grow NTEs from US2.8 billion (2020) to US$25.3 billion in 2029.
An amount of US$60 million will be invested annually under the NEDS to diversify and grow the country’s exports.
The strategy rests on three pillars; To expand and diversify the supply base for value added industrial export products and services; To improve the business, regulatory environment for export; and to build and expand the required human capital for industrial export development and marketing.
Also, a set of 17 priority products will be developed based on some specific criteria aimed at transforming the economy from a raw material base to an industrialised one.
They are, processed cocoa, cashew, horticultural products, oil seeds, fish and fishery products, textiles and garments and natural rubber sheets.
The rest are articles of plastic and other petrochemical products, services, pharmaceutical products, iron and steel products, automobiles and vehicles, industrial salt, machinery and components, industrial starch and sugar.