GEPA is a government institution that develops export-related activities under the trade and industry mandate. Our target is to develop non-traditional value-added exports. We are looking at the service industry where we have to market in terms of education, health services, tourism, and creative arts. Export development has been neglected in the past 15 years and this has cost the nation badly. In 2017, we earned export returns of USD2.4 billion, and when we took over, we made a bold statement declaring we wanted to develop exports to the tune of USD10 billion. When we set high targets, it helps us consider the unthinkable and think outside the box to ensure we achieve those goals. We have changed the vision and focus to concentrate on developing value-added and sustainable products. We are done with just exporting raw goods. Our president has also said value addition is key, and we have set out on this task by focusing on value-added products such as cocoa, gold, cashews, soy beans, gold, timber, mango, pineapples, coconuts, cassava, and more. Each product and every aspect of the value chain will be an industry of its own, including farming, transportation from farm to factory, support industries, packaging, marketing, and more. Such a value chain can create many jobs, which is the vision.
Gifty Kekeli Klenam
CEO, Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA)
Nana Appiagyei Dankawoso
President, Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry
The chamber has been in existence for the past 250 years, and since 1968, it has been the leader of the private sector and the engine of growth. The government alone cannot bring about development, and the chamber was established to bring all business people together to advise the government on how to provide an inviting atmosphere for businesses to thrive. Doing business in this region is fairly expensive. Since we do not have trains or ships that operate on these routes, we rely greatly on air and overland transport, making it expensive. The police and customs extort money from people, which delays the delivery of goods and services; therefore, we need to create borderless systems to ensure that services are updated and the best practices are employed. We hope to get funds for investment and development. We also receive support from various countries that have ports to give concessions to such businesses. At the African Prosperity Conference, we finalized a common free trade agreement (CFG) that will result in free movement of goods and services within the region. This will increase exports and reduce imports. When it is done, there will be less pressure on the dollar and it will reduce inflation and corruption. We are looking at a technology called kaizen, which helps one utilize resources.
CEO, Ghana Investment Promotion Center (GIPC)
Our mandate to drive investment in Ghana covers the full spectrum; however, the government has set priority sectors, for example energy, infrastructure, agri-processing and agricultural production, tourism, and ICT. These are all foundation sectors for the direction we expect the Ghanaian economy to grow in, from aid to trade and from the export of raw materials and resources into value-added and production. Thus, we have to look at some of the foundation investments that are needed, such as energy. Without energy, we have no business trying to industrialize. Industrialization and manufacturing also require a certain supporting infrastructure in terms of access, transportation, and the logistics value chain. We also focus on integrated rail, road, air, and water transport. There is also a need to invest heavily in agriculture. In 2016, our total food imports were in the region of USD2.2 billion, while we have significant amounts of arable land that is lying fallow. If even half that money was invested in Ghana, we would move from being a net importer to a net exporter. As a result of the One District, One Factory program, we see foreign investors coming in with the desire to partner with local players to manufacture equipment and provide energy to tackle the issues across the 216 districts in Ghana. This program is almost an ideal PPP opportunity.