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‘GEPA will double non-traditional export earnings by 2021’

BY: Timothy Ngnenbe
  Mr Albert Kassim Diwura (inset), a Deputy CEO of the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA), speaking at the seminar in Accra yesterday. Picture: BENEDICT OBUOBI
Mr Albert Kassim Diwura (inset), a Deputy CEO of the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA), speaking at the seminar in Accra yesterday. Picture: BENEDICT OBUOBI

The Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) says it will double the country's annual non-traditional export earnings from the current $2.6 billion to $5.3 billion by 2021.

A Deputy Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the authority, Mr Albert K. Diwura, who said this in Accra yesterday, said a process had already begun to review the national export development strategy to help achieve that goal.

He said the renewed focus of the GEPA was to prioritise the development of non-traditional export crops to diversify the country’s foreign exchange earnings.

Mr Diwura was speaking at a business seminar jointly organised by GEPA and the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) as part of the ongoing 23rd Ghana International Trade Fair at the International Trade Fair Centre in Accra.

Seminar

Participants in the business seminar were mainly private business owners who are exhibiting their wares at the trade fair.

Representatives of trade associations such as the Ghana Root Crop Exporters Union, the Federation of Associations of Ghanaian Exporters (FAGE), as well as state agencies, such as the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) and the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA), also participated in the seminar.

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It was held on the theme: "Made in Ghana: globally accepted", and participants discussed issues such as enhancing local investment, improving packaging of made-in-Ghana goods and exploring opportunities for small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

Strategy

Mr Diwura explained that in the last two years, GEPA had hinged its strategic business development agenda on four thematic areas — agriculture, manufacturing, services and industrial art.

He said the agricultural component of the agenda was being vigorously pursued, adding that attention was being focused on non-traditional export crops such as cashew, coconut and avocado.

"The GEPA has worked with other collaborators in the implementation of the 10-year cashew development project over the past two years and the results are good.

"Currently we are looking at avocado, for which reason a team of experts went to Kenya to study the best practices, so that Ghana can replicate them to export more," he said.

Mr Diwura emphasised that the private sector played an important role in achieving the agenda to diversify the country's exports.

He, therefore, called on the actors in the private sector to collaborate with the authority and other stakeholders to boost the export of non-traditional crops.

GIPC key

The Director of Investor Services at the GIPC, Mr Edward Ashong-Lartey, for his part, said the centre was committed to collaborating with other state agencies and private sector players to promote the country's products on the international stage.

He said it was important for the various trade associations to build the capacities of their members, with a focus on product quality, labelling and packaging, to meet internal standards.

In that regard, Mr Ashong-Lartey said, the GIPC would continue to lead the way by providing the right platforms, both locally and internationally, to promote the Ghana brand.

He urged local business owners to adhere to regulatory and industry standards to meet the requirements of the global market.