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Experts Believe ETCs Will Make African Trade Competitive

Edward Akrong
Edward Akrong

Export Trading Companies (ETCs), when established in Africa, are expected to assist in ameliorating the varied issues that make exports from this region uncompetitive.

Speaking on Eye on Port, some trade experts believe the establishment of ETCs will provide solutions to major supply chain issues that make trade expensive.

“ETCs will be expected to focus on the export of diverse, non-traditional value added goods and services to many markets. ETCs engage in other ancillary functions, warehousing, local transportation, shipping, insurance and consciously engage SMEs and other suppliers in the production and manufacturing value chain. They will provide much needed support to these value chain producers in terms of production know-how, risk management and many more. Due to the fact that ETCs by design are large institutions, they will be able to leverage on economies of scale to reduce impact of high transactional cost thus increasing competitiveness,” Kayode Sufiano, an ETC Specialist and Organizational Strategist from Nigeria averred.

Dr. Olufemi Adebiyi, an SME Specialist and Organizational strategist, also from Nigeria stated that the domination of trade landscape by primary commodities and aggregate level of output remains why Africa’s contribution to global trade is low.

He said the promotion of manufactured goods and stimulation of production will be the contribution of ETCs.
Contributing to the discourse, the President of the Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders (GIFF), Edward Akrong welcomed the establishment of ETCs for trade facilitation, but called for interventions that will bridge the knowledge gap for SMEs that will position them for success.

“There is an information bankruptcy. Many of our small-time exporters do not have the resources and connections. GEPA could come to the aid of our exporters to see where they can help consolidate goods together and then have them exported together so everyone enjoys,” he suggested.

He lamented that the fact that there isn’t a central point where all information pertaining to the necessary permits required for exports in Ghana could be obtained.

Mr. Akrong said, “even for we as freight forwarders there isn’t one particular source where you will open expecting to know what permits are required for charcoal for example.”

He cited that, some of the phytosanitary issues that led to the ban of some vegetables from Ghana sometime past, was due to this information deficiency affecting exporters.

He called for training and capacity building programs for exporters especially those in the agricultural sector in order to help them compete favorably on the global market.

The President of GIFF also bemoaned the transportation deficiency that hinders intra-Africa trade.
“If I have to take a container to Sierra Leone for example, because we do not have vessels on the West Coast of Africa, this will have to go all the way to Europe before it comes back down. This cost time and money. Transport is the main bane here,” he expressed.

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