Despite Ghana’s ambitions to increase the proportion of total export revenues contributed by Non-Traditional Exports, over the past two years, total export growth has continued to significantly outstrip NTE growth. While total export revenues grew by 44.27 percent between 2016 and 2018, NTE revenues grew far more slowly over the period, by about 10 percent.
Ghana’s total exports increased from US$10.61 billion in 2016 to US$ 14.87 billion in 2018 with the country importing US$11.36 billion, US$ 12.65 billion and US$ 13.09 billion worth of goods and services from its trading partners in 2016, 2017 and 2018 respectively.
To this end, the country’s trade performance for 2018, which stood at US$13.09 billion in imports and US$14.87 billion worth of exports shows a trade surplus of US$1.78 billion equivalent to 2.7 percent of GDP for 2018. The surplus is however primarily attributable to Ghana’s nascent oil sector.
Instructively, non-traditional export (NTEs) earnings recorded only a marginal increase from US$2.46 billion in 2016 to US$2.56 billion in 2017 representing a mere 3.8 percent rise. Provisional 2018 NTE export revenue according to the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA), pointed to an appreciable increase in the 2017 figures but of less than 5 percent. This still falls well short of the US$5 billion a year target which GEPA has set for the sector, but more importantly indicates that its share of total export revenue has actually declined over the two year period.
It is to rectify this situation that GEPA and its stakeholders are currently formulating a new National Export Development Strategy liaised with current government policies and programmes in a move to increase Ghana’s revenue from NTEs.
At a workshop in Ada to validate and solicit inputs into the strategy, Ms Afua Asabea Asare, GEPA’s CEO, said the design of a new export strategy followed the expiry of the previous National Export Strategy (NES), which was formulated and launched in 2013 for implementation within a five-year period.
She however noted that recommendations of the previous strategy were not fully implemented and that had adversely affected NTE revenues.
The new strategy when fully operational, is expected to be in line with the President’s agenda on industrialization. It will also have an implementation plan with ideas from major stakeholders including Ghana Investment Promotion Centre, MMDAs, Ghana Free zones Authority, Ghana Ports and Habours Authority, Ghana Standards Authority, Association of Ghana Industries among others. With all stakeholders fully on board, the new export strategy is expected to be far more successful than the previous one which the current top management of GEPA inherited upon assumption of office in early 2017.
Meanwhile, Ms Afua Asabea Asare explained that the authority is already geared up to take advantage of key programmes such as the 1D1F, Planting for Food and Jobs, and Planting for Export and Development, to transform the economy from a raw material exporting one to a high value added industrial economy.
Trade and Industry Minister, Mr. Alan Kyerematen, envisages that the new strategy will prescribe measures which would enable the country leverage on and take advantage of the various free trade agreements that Ghana has entered into including AGOA, the Economic Partnership Agreement with the EU, as well as the upcoming AfCFTA.