Business News of 2014-05-02

New plan to boost non-traditional exports

A new five-year strategic plan has been unveiled to raise the country’s competitiveness in non-traditional exports within the global market.

Launched by the Federation of Associations of Ghanaian Exporters (FAGE) and expected to be implemented from 2014-2019, the plan identifies the various challenges facing the export sector, especially non-traditional exports.

It proffers innovative and proactive ideas that will show the way forward for the non-traditional export sector to realise its full potential and contribute more effectively to wealth creation, generation of employment and poverty reduction.

The document focuses attention on effective prioritisation and the need to increase the allocation of resources for export development.

It also has the objective of scanning the environment for opportunities and threats, dispassionately analyses FAGE’s strengths and weaknesses, and designs activities to facilitate the realisation of the identified opportunities within a set time period.

The document will seek to outline a set of projects and programmes to be executed within the next five years and will become the blue print for the sector’s growth.

This is aimed at maximising growth outcomes for the stakeholders, farmers in the value chain while supporting smaller businesses as well as alleviating poverty.

Last year, Ghana’s non-traditional export earnings increased to US$2.42billion from US$2.37billion in 2012.

The various product areas of the non-traditional export sector, which include agriculture, processed and semi-processed products and handicrafts sub-sectors, have all continued to show progress from year to year, contributing immensely to the country’s revenue.

However, in spite of its immense contribution to national development, the sector is still confronted with a number of challenges, which include lack of access to credit, low production capacities, lack of requisite market information, poor product quality and unattractive packaging.

Mr. Folikumah Charles, Director of Exports at the Ministry of Trade and Industry, launching the document in Accra, said the plan will complement the activities of government in helping to grow the economy, particularly through export earnings.

He said the government has been working hard to create a very conducive environment for the export of non-traditional goods and services.

He indicated that the launch of a national strategy and national export development programme for the non-traditional exports sector will provide a common roadmap for all stakeholders to exploit and maximise the potentials of the sector in order to achieve strategic growth .

This will ensure that the sector makes maximum contribution to the gross domestic products growth to consolidate and enhance the country’s middle-income status, create formal decent job opportunities and ensue high standards of living for Ghanaians.

Mr. Anthony Sikpa, President of FAGE, explained that the Federation is confronted with as many challenges as there are constituents and at institutional, association, and company levels.

FAGE’s mandate, he said, is to translate these challenges into opportunities, obtain the buy-in of its stakeholders, build their enthusiasm for the plan, and gain the commitment of the members towards achieving the corporate goal.

FAGE seeks to achieve this goal by crafting a strategic plan, which has been a participatory process involving all relevant stakeholders from the public and private sector in the export value chain, and the federation will continue in the implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of the activities.

“In the light of national recognition of the importance of economic development through exports and export diversification, this plan could not have come at a more opportune time,” Mr. Sikpa said.

“We are very proud to have come out with this detailed, comprehensive and far-reaching plan. We are grateful to the individuals and their organisations for their tireless, dedicated, selfless, and meticulous work from 2011 to 2013.”

Source: B&FT
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