The establishment of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), with Ghana hosting its Secretariat, presents a new opportunity for Ghanaian businesses to boost processes in order to meet requirements and demands in the wider continental market.
In line with this, the government of the Republic of Ghana has unveiled the National Export Development Strategy (NEDS), with the goal to achieving a substantial increase in manufactured goods and services components of the nation’s exports to attain a projected aggregate of NTEs revenue target of at least 25 billion USD by the year 2030.
NEDS form part of the government’s transformation agenda towards the revitalization and strengthening of the economy from a raw-material commodity export-based to an industrialized export-led one.
According to the Minister for Trade and Industry, Alan Kyeremateng, the purpose of the initiative is to build synergies with major emphasis on product transformation, value addition and job creation under the new plan.
The strategy, which is being spearheaded by the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA), will also provide a vehicle for implementation of the government’s industrialization programme, and align the previous National Export Strategy (NES) for the non-traditional sector with current government policies such as Planting for Food and Rural Development (PERD), which is aimed at expanding Ghana’s capacity to earn foreign exchange from agricultural exports.
The NEDS document also requires the development of at least one significant commercially-viable export value chain which will contribute to boosting the economy and creating job opportunities.
With its Secretariat in Accra, AfCFTA brings together all 55 member states of the African Union, covering a market of more than 1.2 billion people, and a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of more than US$3.4 trillion, making it the world’s largest free trade area since the formation of the World Trade Organization.
The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) projects that AfCFTA’s implementation will significantly boost intra-African trade by 52.3 percent, while eliminating import duties.
Ghana’s participation in AfCFTA will give Ghanaian producers the opportunity to access a wider continental market by easing trade restriction procedures within the zone.
Developed by trade and industry experts over a one-year period, the National Export Development Strategy, is intended to accelerate the production of non-traditional export (NTE) by harnessing Ghana’s local raw material potentials, focusing on 17 main products which include: processed cocoa, cashew, horticultural products, processed oil seeds, fish and fishery products, textiles, natural rubber sheets, and aluminum products.
The remaining are: pharmaceutical products, services, iron/steel products, articles of plastic and other petrochemical products, automobiles, industrial salt, machinery and components, industrial starch, and sugar.