Business News of 2013-12-03

Ghanaian SMEs poised to enter Liberian market

Ghanaian small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have shown interest in exporting to the Liberian market to contribute to the rebuilding of that country, while creating jobs in Ghana.

The companies are particularly encouraged by the return of Liberia to democratic rule, with associated reconstruction and infrastructure development, which is affecting many parts of the country, especially the capital, Monrovia, and its surrounding communities.

The enterprises, which are among the 40 participating in the second Solo Exhibition on Made-in-Ghana products in Monrovia, Liberia, have been dazzled by the interest shown by Liberian customers and private sector about the quality of their products and packaging. They said they would use the occasion to strengthen their supplies to the country.

The exhibitors were sponsored by the Ghana Export Promotion Authority, with support from the Export Development and Agricultural Investment Fund (EDAIF), as part of the government’s strategy to scale up revenue from non-traditional exports (NTEs) to US$5 billion by 2015.

While some of the enterprises established contacts to represent them, others are yet to capitalise on the opportunity to make leads, while yet others will look for more suppliers and strengthen existing ones.

The Vice President of the Association of Ghana Industries, Mr Samuel Appenteng, said the fair, being a build up on last year’s, would enable enterprises from Ghana to reinforce their presence and establish new contacts in the country.

Mr Appenteng, whose Joissam (Gh) Limited is also exhibiting at the fair, said the patronage of the Vice President of Liberia gave a lot of impetus to this year’s fair, adding that the Vice President’s call for Ghanaian companies to establish facilities to manufacture locally would require the establishment of a sizeable market before their physical presence could follow.

Alcoholic beverage manufacturer Kasapreko said the company had held meetings with some suppliers to expand their reach within the market.

They would also support the current distributor with publicity and marketing activities to enable them to deliver the volumes they require.

“We have made a lot of leads and held meetings with potential distributors and before the fair ends, we will finalise some of the deals. We want to have a stronger presence in Liberia – be visible in all gas stations, bars and restaurants,” Key Account Supervisor of Kasapreko, Mr Norbert Mwin, said.

He said come 2014 Kasapreko would carry out a lot of marketing activities in Liberia to make their brands, which have been well received there, even more popular and widely distributed.

A Sales Executive at Nallem Clothing, Ms Angela Gli, told the GRAPHIC BUSINESS that although the company already had a wholesaler in Liberia, the Ghanaian clothing maker intended to open its own branch there to deepen their presence.

Perhaps, one of Ghana’s success stories which could benefit some more from Liberia’s transition is Tropical Cable and Conductor Ltd, the copper and aluminium electrical and telephone cable manufacturer.

“We see the market as new and a good opportunity for us as the country is in the phase of transformation and is rebuilding its infrastructure,” the Marketing Manager, Mr Kofi Sam, said and added that TCCL was keen and ready to enter the Liberian market.

He said they would use their presence for feasibility studies, scout for representatives and distributors for the Liberian market.

The same goes for aluminium cookware manufacturer and multiple export award winner, Lion Aluminium, whose Marketing Executive, Mr Stephen Ayittey, believes he would even start from selling all his wares at the seven-day fair.

“My aim is to get distributors from the three main markets we’ve identified in Liberia. Looking at the rate at which they are showing interest in our products, I believe our aim would be achieved,” Mr Ayittey said.

Besides clothing, textiles and accessories which form the bulk of exhibits which are dazzling the West African sub-regional markets, there are also exhibits from pharmaceutical companies, underground water solutions companies, herbal products, cosmetics, beauty and skin care manufacturers, leather and footwear and alcoholic beverages, among others.