Mr Gideon Quarcoo, Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA), said despite the attractions of oil revenues, government had taken a bold policy decision to focus on developing the non-oil and non-traditional export sector.
He said it was in order to give meaning to this drive that government launched the National Export Strategy to enhance non-traditional exports performance to attain a target of $5 billion dollars by 2017 to maximize the sector’s contribution to Gross Domestic Product and national development.
Mr Quarcoo, who was speaking during the Ghana Special Day celebration on the sidelines of the 8th Abuja International Fair, said the participation of Ghanaian companies in the fairs over the past five years had deepened relations between public sector institutions in Ghana and Nigeria.
“Trade plays a deepening role in the bilateral relations between Nations, and to this end the GEPA applauds and fully supports the trade collaboration between Nigeria and Ghana,” he said.
The GEPA and the Ghana High Commission in Nigeria are coordinating the participation of 50 companies in the 8thAbuja International Fair, which is being held on the theme “Promoting the Culture of Production and Innovation in SMEs to achieve Competiveness and National Development”
Mr Quarcoo said Ghana’s desire to establish permanent exhibition centres to operate as Export Trade Centres to be run by locals in the importing countries was progressing steadily.
“It is our fervent hope to locate a suitable local partner from Nigeria to operate the Ghana Trade Centre, which will serve as a source for Ghanaian products,”
Mr Erik Bamfo Asiedu, Officer Monitoring and Evaluation of the Export Development and Agricultural Investment Fund (EDAIF), said the organisation was reviewing its funding activities to encourage higher participation at international trade fairs.
This, he said, is to ensure that participating companies at future international fairs have the needed capacity to become more competitive on the international market.
To this end, he said, GEPA needed to strengthen its selection criteria for export firms so that the firms could benefit from special sponsorship packages being put in place by EDAIF to scale up the market activities of these companies.
“EDAIF is looking forward to playing a pivotal role in the government plan to roll out a re-industrialisation stimulus to encourage agriculture production, manufacturing and export to grow its economy,” he said.
He said some of the goals being targeted include the provision of funds for start-ups and urged eligible Ghanaian companies to take advantage to access the funds to expand their operations.
The President of Abuja Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, Dr Solomon Nanga, said Ghana had maintained a consistent number of the highest participation in the fair.
The Ghana day celebration was attended by officials from other countries, including Angola, Iraq and Zambia.