New GSS report highlights vulnerabilities in Ghana’s international trade 

Ghana’s international trade remains vulnerable as four raw commodities – gold bullion, crude petroleum, cocoa beans, and cocoa paste – accounted for three quarters of total exports in 2022.

The Ghana Statistical Service (GSS), maiden 2022 Trade Vulnerability Report, which was released on Tuesday, found that more than 90 per cent of gold, which is the country’s major export commodity, is predominantly exported to only three countries – Switzerland (48.1 per cent); South Africa (24.8 per cent) and India (21.4 per cent). 

The report identified that the country relied on a limited number of trading partners, with Switzerland, China, Canada, and South Africa, making up over half of all exports. 

With regards to imports, six countries – China, United Kingdom, United States of America, India, Switzerland, and Netherlands constitute more than two-thirds of all exports in 2022, the report added. 

In 2022, Ghana recorded a trade deficit of GH¢4.5 billion, with total imports of GH¢148.6 billion and total exports of GH¢144.1. 

About half (50.4 per cent) of all Ghana’s exports to Europe goes to Switzerland, followed by 13 per cent to the Netherlands and 8.9 per cent to Italy. 

China accounted for 44.3 per cent and India, 33.9 per cent together making up more than three-quarters (78.2 per cent) of all Ghana’s exports to the Asian continent. 

In Africa, 80.6 per cent of Ghana’s exports go to four countries – South Africa (51.3 per cent) followed by Ghana’s neighbouring countries, Burkina Faso (15.7 per cent); Cote D’Ivoire (8.2 per cent and Togo (5.4 per cent). 

For North America, 71.4 per cent of all exports go to Canada, the report added. 

Presenting the findings at a workshop in Accra, Prof. Samuel Kobina Annim, the Government Statistician, said an assessment of the data showed that gold bullion, and crude petroleum oil accounted for over two-thirds of all exports in 2022. 

He said a total of 126 commodities contributed to two-thirds of all imports, which pointed to Ghana’s reliance on foreign commodities as against what is exported. 

“In my mind to both perspectives, it points to vulnerability; whether from the import or export side. 

“We are relying more on countries for different products to make up for the 67 per cent in terms of imports and what we are sending out, we can think of only two products accounting for 67 per cent,” Prof. Annim said. 

He appealed to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and the Ministry of Trade and Industry, to engage and explore avenues to address the existing vulnerabilities identified in the report. 

Dr Charles Godfred Ackah, Associate Professor, Institute of Statistical, Social, and Economic Research, said the biggest issue for the country was the lack of value addition to its mineral resources. 

He urged the government to provide targeted intervention for domestic industries to make them competitive. 

“Until we solve our trade problems, we will continue to go to the IMF because that is a key constraint.” Prof. Ackah said. 

Dr Kwesi Ayim-Darke, President of the Association of Ghana Industries, said the report emphasised the persistent call for value addition to the country’s raw materials to diversify export commodities. 

“It is the ability to add value to this 98 per cent of products before exporting them to China that is what we call a structural change,” he said.  

Source: GNA 

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