Given the enormous advantages that Free Trade Agreements such as the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) with the USA, the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) amongst others present, African businesses have been urged to acquire a distinct identity through a well-invested strategy, in order to properly position themselves before competitors, customers, stakeholders, and even the international community.
This is according to the Center Director at the Center for International Trade Development – Miami, Kemi Arosanyin.
Currently, Africa lags behind other regions of the world in terms of continental trade. According to the African Development Bank (ADB), intra-Africa exports amount to only 16.6% of total trade.
In an interview with Citi Business News, Kemi Arosanyin noted that getting a robust strategy would determine how much they would benefit from the initiative and help boost the continent’s economic growth agenda.
“In analysing why countries have not done well, most African countries that we have looked at don’t have a robust strategy from the beginning to implement AGOA. Export development requires a lot of strategy behind it. You know trade doesn’t just grow. It requires a lot of strategy and funding behind it. There’s been poor funding of export facilitation initiatives. There’s been non engagement of expat from other countries. Wherever your target market is, you need to engage expat for technical assistance from that market. Because, you cannot understand that market more than the people operating in that market.
For instance, Ghana is not even struggling because of packaging or quality. That’s what anybody will say on the street because we can’t meet the standard. But the main reason is because we are not getting the kind of technical assistance we need. Whatever you don’t know you can learn. If your product is not good you can improve on it if you have the right coach,” she said.
She however urged business owners to sign onto the Africa Trade Expansion Program to see significant growth in their exports.
“Our programmes will bring industry expects who are distributing products in the market. They will come to Ghana, access the product and tell you exactly what you need to do to get your product to that market. They will also facilitate that market entry. We created this programme to assist the African countries,” she added.
The Africa Trade Expansion Program is a comprehensive export development program designed as a special intervention to assist Africa’s exports into the Americas market and to enhance the utilization of African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).
The program was developed under the auspices of the World Trade Center Miami and now being implemented by CITD-Miami, a related party, in collaboration with other economic development agencies and industry professionals.
The specialized 12 months program provides integrated Technical Assistance and Market Access to African manufacturers in three key sectors — Food & Beverage, Fashion (Apparel & Accessories), and Arts & Crafts, from design to delivery.