As part of government’s initiative to enable local companies harness benefits of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), the National AfCFTA Coordination Office (NCO) in collaboration with the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) will undertake a Market Entry Expedition for Ghanaian businesses to Kenya from May 23-27, 2023.
Minister of Trade and Industry, K.T. Hammond, will lead the delegation to Kenya, accompanied by Deputy Minister of Trade, Nana Ama Dokua Asiamah-Adjei and other high-level officials of the NCO, Ministry of Trade and Industry (MoTI), GEPA and affiliate agencies. This underlines the importance attached to intra-African trade by the minister.
At the events, the NCO and GEPA will exhibit Ghanaian products and open the Ghana Export Trade House as part of the expo to climax the African Union Day observation.
Opening the Ghana Export Trade House, which will serve as hub for Made in Ghana goods in Kenya, coincides with the annual commemoration of AU Day to highlight the cultural and economic potential that exists on the continent, and also to deepen our Pan-African ideals.
Kenya has been selected for the pilot due to its position as the biggest market in East Africa which serves as gateway to the East African market, and to also deepen the existing bilateral bond between Ghana and Kenya.
Coordinator of the NCO, Dr. Fareed Kwesi Arthur, explained that the trade mission and expo will involve a combination of activities including matchmaking sessions, exhibitions, seminars and business networking events.
“The theme for 2023 AU Day is accelerating the implementation of AfCFTA, and holding the expedition side-by-side will create significant synergy and boost awareness of Ghanaian products in Kenya and a similar event in Egypt during the month of August,” the NCO Coordinator said.
Objectives of the trade expedition
The Market Entry Expedition, according to Dr. Arthur, is designed to facilitate the entry of Ghanaian businesses from different sectors into East Africa with focus on selling a mix of local SMEs drawn from the agro-processing, manufacturing, cosmetics and textiles sectors in the East African market.
As part of its aims, the event is also expected to increase Ghana’s trade with Africa under the AfCFTA while introducing local businesses and products from different sectors to selected target markets; identify value chain opportunities for local businesses; increase the presence of Made in Ghana brands across the sub-region; and establish market linkages between Ghanaian traders and East African companies and business associations.
As the main objective of AfCFTA is to boost intra-African trade, the pact seeks to open-up a market space for the 46 countries out of 55 which have ratified the agreement.
But with Ghana’s trade with Africa constituting just 14 percent (%) compared to its trade with the global market, it is anticipated that the Market Entry Expedition will boost the country’s trade fortunes with the rest of Africa.
Strides made under AfCFTA so far
Trading under the pact was officially launched on January 1, 2021, with commercially meaningful trade commencing on October 7, 2022 under AfCFTA’s Guided Trade Initiative. Ghana played a significant role in putting this initiative together, as it was led by the Continental AfCFTA secretariat, the NCO, among other critical institutions.
Expected outcomes of the Expedition
The NCO is optimistic that products from 100 Ghanaian companies in different sectors of the economy will be introduced to selected target markets in Kenya and the Egypt expedition during August this year.
The Coordination Office is also anticipating an improvement in trade volumes between Ghana and other African markets, as well as an increased presence and participation of Ghanaian products and businesses in regional value and supply chain networks.
The Expedition is being funded by the World Bank’s Ghana Economic Transformation Project (GETP), the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbei (GIZ), United Nations Development Project (UNDP) and with additional sponsorship from Eximbank.