Ghana’s exports to the European Union touched €3.1 billion during the year 2018 registering a record 48% year-on-year increase, according to Zolta Agai, the chief of cooperation at the European Union. Total exports by the West African nation in 2018 stood at €15.6 billion.
Mr. Agai was in Accra to attend a meeting on the implementation of the European Union-funded West Africa Competitiveness Program (WACOMP), which started six months ago and is in the country executed by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization.
The €120-million WACOMP fund provides economic support to step up export competitiveness of participating West African countries. Ghana has been recognized as a priority market under the program, which equips and supports the country’s export sector to improve raw materials and market access, and this is expected to further boost the exports.
The EU cooperation head had all praise for the efforts by the national government for making desirable and visible progress on economic development front and achieving macroeconomic stability over the past two decades. The progress, according to Mr. Agai, played an important role in attracting Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) and pushing up Ghana’s regional and international trade.
Ghana surpassed Nigeria to become the largest regional recipient of FDI in West Africa in 2018.
Mr. Agai also predicted a dominant role for Ghana’s agribusiness in both the regional and international markets and assured of active support through the EU-funded program for the sector.
This assumes greater significance considering the recent proposal by the chairman of the National Development Planning Committee of Ghana to create a corpus of GH¢1 billion to support local entrepreneurs in the agricultural field. The two programs will provide a shot in the arm to the national agriculture sector and encourage export-oriented opportunities.
At present, about 20% of all exports by the West African nation were destined for the EU countries making the block the second largest market for Ghana’s goods after India. The list of export items mostly included cocoa and other agricultural products, precious metals, and minerals, including crude oil. The exports to the EU market contribute to 1.6% of the national GDP.
WACOMP focuses on promoting exports through value-addition, eco-friendly production and processing, and enhanced market access. The phase 1 covers mango and pineapple fruits, cassava, and personal care products. It is expected that the program will enable local companies to get greater regional and international exposure, achieve competitiveness, and establish themselves in the export markets. Exports from Ghana to the European Union may rise two-fold with the support extended under WACOMP.
Ghana’s ministry of trade and industry is the nodal agency to implement the partnership agreement under WACOMP. Anthony Baafi, the chief director at the ministry, promised to stay committed to the program and take steps to better economic governance and business environment as a mean to help local businesses get optimum advantages.