Ghanaian business owners and exporters have been urged to expand their production base and add value to their products to take advantage of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
Alhaji Yakubu Yussif, a Member of the National Coordination Office, AfCFTA, said the implementation of AfCFTA with its headquarters situated in Accra offers huge opportunities for Ghanaians to increase supply to strategically position themselves to benefit substantially.
“AfCFTA is a very big single market made up of 54 African countries for now and we are looking at the strength of 1.2 billion people and it is an opportunity to access easy market but most of our exporters are not aware and need to be sensitised,” he said.
Alhaji Yussif was at Walewale in the West Mamprusi Municipality of the North East Region as part of the nationwide district level sensitisation programme on the implementation of the National Export Development Strategy (NEDS) and AfCFTA.
It was organised by the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) on the theme “Driving Exports Through the National Export Development Strategy (NEDS)” and brought together actors in the non-traditional export value chain from the West Mamprusi and East Mamprusi Municipalities and Mamprugu-Moagduri District.
Alhaji Yussif said the AfCFTA National Policy Framework aimed to remove trade barriers which had to do with tariffs and other border bottlenecks to facilitate and speed up processes and provide the needed infrastructure to make trading easy and convenient.
The National Export Development Strategy is a 10-year policy document, designed by GEPA and other relevant institutions and is meant to empower businesses in Ghana especially those in Non-Traditional Exports (NTEs) sector to diversify production and contribute to the country’s industrialisation agenda.
It seeks to build the capacities of exporters and businesses to increase production and non-traditional exports to significantly contribute to achieving the revenue target of at least US$25.3 billion by 2029.
Mr. Seidu Saaka Bakari, the Zonal Director, Tamale Zonal Office, GEPA, indicated that the NEDS was aimed at expanding the production base, improve the business environment through regulatory documentation and build the human capacity to drive development through export.
He said it would ensure that there was enough foreign exchange earnings in the country to stabilize the economic challenges through the strengthening of the local currency and boost the manufacturing and export sectors.
He said shea butter, rice and watermelon were some of the major non-traditional export products in the area and called on the Assemblies to identify at least one competitive exportable product and invest in it to increase production and take advantage of the AfCFTA.
Mr. Abdul Rashid Jabir, the Human Resource Manager, West Mamprusi Municipal Assembly, indicated that there were various exportable products that the Assembly was considering for investment and explained that NEDS would contribute to boosting the agriculture value chain in the area for job creation and poverty reduction.
Ms. Sabratu Mahama, Secretary, Nasia Women Cooperative, noted that the sensitisation on NEDS was an opportunity for them to be enlightened and increase production and add value to their produce to secure market opportunities.
She said most of the women in the area were into rice, shea butter, sesame, groundnuts processing and called on government and other stakeholders to help them with agro-processing equipment to help process their produce for the national and international markets.