Business News of 2014-04-07

AGI to set up trade houses in foreign markets

Ghanaian businesses interested in exporting their products to neighbouring West African countries would soon be able to stock their goods in a common warehouse in those countries and subsequently release them in bits to local agents for onward distribution.

This follows plans by the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), the umbrella body of manufacturing and related service providers, to set up trade houses in selected West African countries where Ghanaian businesses dealing in made-in-Ghana products can stockpile their goods for their foreign clients.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of AGI, Mr Seth Twum-Akwaboah, explained that the initiative was part of efforts by the association to grow the export base of the country while stimulating growth in local businesses.

“It will also help reduce the challenges that member companies, especially the small and medium enterprises (SMEs), often go through in their quest to export their goods,” Mr Twum-Akwaboah said in interview in Ouagadougou, where some 50 companies participated in the AGI Solo Exhibition.

The event was put together by the association for all companies that deal in made-in-Ghana products to showcase their products to the people of Burkina Faso, seek partners and sell to interested customers.

The companies were drawn from almost all sectors of the economy, including those in the aluminium and kitchenware, garment and textiles, fashion and design, arts, metals and steel manufacturing, beauty and cosmetics and food and beverage.

It was opened on March 27 on the theme 'Promoting Regional Integration Through Trade' and ended on April 2.

The event was supported by the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA), the Export Development and Agricultural Fund (EDAIF) and the Ghana Mission in Ouagadougou.

Beyond exhibitions

The President of AGI, Mr James Asare-Adjei, had earlier told the paper that the association would put in efforts to complement the government's efforts at increasing export earnings.

Such efforts, he said, included the solo exhibition, where participants were expected to seal partnership deals with local businesses.

The current exhibition is the fifth of its kind by AGI in Burkina Faso; the last of which was in 2006.

Interest in those exhibitions, as well as the ongoing one, has been high as dozens of people thronged the event grounds on daily basis to see what was on display from Ghana.

That, according to the CEO, signified the high potential that Ghanaian products have in Burkina Faso.

"But we have been asked several times what next, beyond the exhibitions; because what we noticed is that when we do the exhibitions and we have all the official support in sending exhibits, it is always easy to cross the border but when the companies get the order, crossing the border becomes a problem because at individual levels, they don't have the capacity that we as a business association has. We have thought of several ideas as to what we can do to help our companies take advantage of the market," Mr Twum-Akwaboah said and noted that that challenge gave rise to the idea of trade houses in those foreign markets.

Once the idea is implemented, the AGI CEO said, agents of Ghanaian companies would no longer need to come to Ghana to take their orders, neither would Ghanaian companies have to send goods to their agents in the countries where the trade houses would be established.