NTEs earnings drop marginally in 2020

BY: Ama Amankwah Baafi
 Dr Afua Asabea Asare (2nd left), CEO of GEPA, Mr Albert Kasim Diwura (left), Deputy CEO of GEPA in charge of Human Resource, Mr Yaw Asuo Banin (2nd right), Board Chairman of GEPA, and Mr Samuel Dentu (right), Deputy CEO of GEPA in charge of Operations and Finance during the media launch
Dr Afua Asabea Asare (2nd left), CEO of GEPA, Mr Albert Kasim Diwura (left), Deputy CEO of GEPA in charge of Human Resource, Mr Yaw Asuo Banin (2nd right), Board Chairman of GEPA, and Mr Samuel Dentu (right), Deputy CEO of GEPA in charge of Operations and Finance during the media launch

The country’s earnings from non-traditional exports (NTEs) amounted to $2.846 billion last year.

This represents a marginal decline of -1.84 per cent over 2019 earnings of $2.899 billion.

The relatively weak performance is associated with the impact of the COVID-19 on global trade, which the World Trade Organisation (WTO) projected to fall between 13 per cent and 32 per cent due to disruption in economic activities and life generally.

Processed and semi-processed products accounted for about 83.71 per cent of the exports while agricultural produce and industrial arts and crafts represented 15.21 per cent and 1.08 per cent, respectively, of total NTEs.

This was contained in the report on the analysis of the 2020 NTE statistics which was launched in Accra yesterday by the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA).

Read: . Economy on path to industrialisation - Alan Kyerematen

Product performance

The report listed the top 10 leading NTE products as; cocoa paste, cocoa butter, cashew nuts, articles of plastics, canned tuna and iron/steel circles, rods, sheets and billets.

The rest are shea (karate) oil, refined palm oil, cocoa powder and natural rubber sheets.

It noted that cocoa paste overtook cocoa butter as the highest earner with natural rubber sheets as the lowest earner.

The first and 10th earned $463.41 million and $73.60 million, respectively. Average earning of the top 10 earners was $170.37 million.

Total value of the top 10 leading products amounted to $1,703,719,255 representing 59.85 per cent of total NTE earnings for the year in review.

Cocoa paste, which was the biggest earner, contributed 16.50 per cent to the total NTEs while natural rubber sheets contributed 2.62 per cent.

Cashew nuts was the only agricultural product that showed up in the top 10 leading products. The rest were all processed and semi-processed products.

Read: GEPA strategises to increase market share

Non-traditional market performance

The report said in 2020, NTE products were exported to 152 countries in the European Union (EU), the United Kingdom and other developed countries, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), other African countries and emerging countries.

The performance of the NTE sector by markets, the report noted, showed that ECOWAS, and EU and UK absorbed $783,838 million (27.54 per cent share of total export market), and $977.68 million (34.35 per cent), respectively.

“The rest of Africa, other developed countries as well as emerging countries absorbed 1.46 per cent, 10.93 per cent. 25.73 per cent, respectively of NTEs,” the report said.

Report launch

Speaking at the launch of the report, the Board Chairman of GEPA, Mr Yaw Asuo Banin, said Ghana placed prominence on exports due to its contribution to economic development.

He said every opportunity to take stock of work done as a measure to re-strategise and forge ahead was always laudable.

“Given the circumstance of the past year, it is not surprising that a general decline in export earnings. All the same, we have seen some impressive impacts in a number of NTEs and which give credence to interventions from agencies such as GEPA in alignment with pillars of the National Export Development Strategy (NEDS) results in increased yields and earnings,” he said.

He commended the research team of GEPA for consistently providing reliable data to help make business decisions.

Leveraging tech for export

In an address, the Chief Executive Officer of GEPA, Dr Afua Asabea Asare, said in 2020 exporters made up of mainly small and medium enterprises (SMEs) looked up to GEPA for pointers to market destinations requiring products.

That, she said, was the mandate of GEPA- to develop products, facilitate and promote made-in Ghana goods and services beyond the borders.

She said 2020 not only exposed the limitations that faced businesses and organisations, but it also forced them to make sense of the cliché, ‘innovate or die’.

“To stay competitive in the new business environment requires new strategies and practices. During the pandemic, consumers had moved dramatically towards online companies and industries have had to respond in turn to working online.”

Processed and semi-processed products

In the period under review, NTE earnings from processed and semi-processed sub-sector amounted to $2,382 billion, showing a decrease of 2.94 per cent, compared to $2,455 million earned in 2019.

It said that in spite of the fall, the sub-sector remained the dominant NTE sub-sector with a contribution of 83.71 per cent of the total NTE earnings in 2020.

“This sub-sector has unlimited potential for growth and is a major driving force for economic growth. Hence, the government’s transformation agenda for economic growth through accelerated industrialisation and vale addition,” the report stated.