Let’s be competitive

BY: Daily Graphic

Exports are a crucial component of a country’s economy. Among other things, a country’s exports enable it to earn enough foreign exchange to import some of the items that it does not produce but which are essential for its nationals.

Again, exports facilitate international trade and stimulate domestic economic activity by creating employment, production and revenues.

 The ability to export goods helps an economy grow.

Indeed, one of the core functions of diplomacy and foreign policy among governments is to foster economic trade for the benefit of the trading parties.

While many countries have strived to produce enough in their countries for local consumption, emphasis has been placed on the need to produce more goods and services that are acceptable for export.

The creation of free zones territories in many countries as an incentive to companies to produce principally for export is a pointer to the very important position that exports hold for the well-being of a country.

However, many countries’ attempts to rake in export revenue have, in many instances, been unsuccessful because of their inability to meet set standards by the importing countries.

For example, producers and exporters of organic fruit and vegetables seeking to sell their produce in developed countries which have adopted organic standards and regulations will have to meet the rules established by the importing countries concerned and obtain certification for that purpose.

Not too long ago, Ghana had to contend with a ban on the export of some vegetables to the European Union because of our failure to meet some standards.

 As a result, the country lost about US$30 million in revenue between 2014 and 2017 when it was found to be non-compliant with EU standards on the export of vegetables.

It is for this reason that the Daily Graphic commends efforts by the Business Development Ministry to make Ghanaian entrepreneurs more competitive on the global market.

Under a project that is expected to take off in the first quarter of next year, 2,000 Ghanaian entrepreneurs are to benefit from a training programme under which they will be attached to Spanish companies to acquire skills.

Among other things, the Ghanaian businessmen are expected to learn best practices that will enable them to produce goods and services that will be acceptable on the export market.

The Ghanaian entrepreneur is faced with a myriad of challenges, most of which can be resolved domestically.

 However, the export drive needs a concerted effort and a deliberate national policy to ensure that products from Ghana meet international standards.

Ghana’s economy, as of 2016, was 71st on the global export league, exporting $16.5 billion worth of goods.

While the country’s top produce, such as gold, cocoa beans, crude petroleum, coconut, Brazil nuts, cashew and cocoa paste, may be accepted comfortably on the international market, the same cannot be said of other items, especially processed export commodities such as food items.

It is, therefore, necessary that Ghanaian entrepreneurs learn best practices that have enabled other countries to make their commodities acceptable on the competitive international market.

Our ability to do this will, no doubt, create more avenues for the country to increase its export earnings for the development of the needed infrastructure for the benefit of its citizenry.