Over the past years, Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) has been putting adequate measures in place aimed at expanding Ghana’s Non-Traditional Exports (NTEs) destinations across the globe.
The move is aimed at not just letting Ghana’s products in the NTEs sector be visible in most parts of the world, but most importantly, as a means of generating substantial revenue in the form of foreign exchange to support Ghana’s industrialization drive.
From January to December 2018, NTEs products to a total of 151 countries brought in an amount of US$2.813 billion as compared to US$2.556 billion earned in 2017. These 151 destinations have been categorized into five main regions namely the European Union (EU); ECOWAS markets; Other Countries; Other Developed Countries; and Other African countries.
The performance of the NTE sector by markets indicates that the EU and ECOWAS markets absorbed 41 percent and 26.36 percent respectively, of Ghana’ products. Importantly, Other African countries, Other Developed Countries and Other Countries also absorbed 1.52 percent; 5.72 percent and 25.68 percent.
Instructively, Nigeria market alone can absorb almost all of Ghana’s NTEs. The reason accounting for this is that, there is a deliberate localization strategy in the Nigeria market aimed at promoting local businesses despite the ECOWAS Trade Liberalization Scheme (ETLS) Protocol. An official of GEPA who spoke with the Goldstreet Business on the sidelines of this, said having bigger access to the Nigeria market has become a challenge to the Authority, as this was partially the reason why Nigeria placed fourth position with regards to exports of Ghana’s products in 2018.
EU Market / 10 leading NTE destinations
Export of Ghana’s non-traditional products to the EU market in 2018 recorded more than US$1,145 billion in monetary terms as against US$1,085 billion in 2017, representing a growth rate of 5.47 percent. This development further depicts a marginal potential market opportunity for Ghana’s exporters and out-growers to expand their current volumes of produce in the sense that there is availability of markets for Ghana’s NTEs products. In similar terms, its contribution to the total NTE stood at 41 percent as most of the items exported to the EU market fell under processed and semi-processed products.
The EU market maintained its position as the leading market destination for Ghana’s NTEs products for two consecutive years running. Out of the top 10 market destinations for Ghana’s NTEs products, the Netherlands emerged as the lead market destination, contributing US$430. 207 million.
From the ten leading destinations, four were EU countries; three ECOWAS countries; two from Other Countries whiles one emerged from Other Developed Countries. This is seen from the table below with their corresponding figures (Fig1),
10 Leading markets for Ghana’s NTE – 2018 (Fig1)
|No.||EU destinations||Value||No.||EU destinations||Value|
Leading EU markets for Ghana’s NTE – 2018 (Fig 2)
ECOWAS Market / other African countries
Ghana’s NTEs to the ECOWAS sub-region in 2018 recorded a significant value amounting to US$741.6 million over the figure recorded in 2017 which stood at US$617.2 million. This represents 20.16 percent growth rate, outstripping a significant dip in performance in 2017 in comparison to 2016. Its contribution to the total NTE stands at 26.36 percent.
Report indicates that the recovery of positive growth rate in the NTE performance in the ECOWAS sub-regional markets was due to a resurgence in demand for lubricants, enhanced products lines and quality of articles of plastic products as well as both intensive and extensive market programmes across the sub-region by leading steel and aluminium companies in Ghana.
Burkina Faso consolidated its first position similar to the position in 2017 for being the biggest importer of Ghana’s NTE products – mostly articles of plastic products, contributing 32.4 percent of the total top ten value; followed by Togo, Mali and Nigeria in the second, third and fourth positions respectively.
The position of Nigeria on the log largely corroborates on what GEPA official told the Goldstreet Business about the lack of having the needed access to the Nigeria market for Ghana’s NTEs.
Importantly, the export value of Ghana’s cocoa powder to the Nigeria market in 2018 under the HS code 180610 doubled from the previous year’s value, earning US$11. 51 million. This amount represents 96 percent of Ghana’s total exports of the product that went to the Nigeria market during the year under review as against 46 percent recorded in 2017. Thus, the drop in revenue from the Nigeria market as a result of access must give GEPA the needed concern to initiate measures aimed at surging export of Ghana’s non-tradition products to the country’s market.
|No.||ECOWAS Market||Value||No.||ECOWAS Market||Value|
Leading ECOWAS markets for Ghana’s NTEs (2018)
Despite the gains being made in the sector, it is important to note that Ghana’s export to the rest of Africa has not been encouraging over the years. For instance, under the “Other African countries” destinations, the sector recorded a construction growth rate of 6.45 percent – as it recorded US$42.89 million in 2018 as against US$45.85 million in the previous year. In addition, GEPA reported during the release of 2017 export data that trading activities between Ghana and the rest of Africa stood at just 2 percent.
However, this is not peculiar to Ghana alone. Currently, trading activities among African countries stands around 12 percent and this is largely due to existing trade and tariff barriers on the continent. With the coming on stream the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), agreement, all such existing tariffs will be aligned to ensure that Africa scales its intra-trade activities from 12 percent to estimated 52 percent. This implies that the measure would decrease imports, enabling the continent to generate about US$10 billion annually from trading among itself.
Other countries / other developed countries
Importantly, the countries classified under “other countries” played very crucial roles in the exports of Ghana’s products. For instance, in 2018, the sector absorbed in monetary terms amounting to over US$722.6 million as against US$616.23 million recorded in 2017. This represents growth rate of 17.28 percent, with overall total contribution to the sector being 25.68 percent.
The statistics and revenue generated from the aforementioned sector – markets, is very close to that of the revenue and growth rate recorded from the ECOWAS sub-regional markets. However, details of such markets are not captured and this presents a source of worry.
Instructively, it appears that GEPA is still issues with Freight Forwarders in the area of categorization of products and products destinations despite various sensitization carried out to enable them input the exact data needed.
For instance, categorizing export destinations as “Other African countries; “Other Developed Countries and “Other countries” still leaves much to be desired in the sense that it lacks the needed data, to track all the various countries under these markets that absorbed Ghana’s NTEs. Apart from India, Vietnam and United States that may possibly fall under “other countries” and “other developed countries” – which in itself appears to be few, no African country outside the ECOWAS sub-region was captured in the report.
Even that, the Other Developed Countries – where the United States falls under, the sector recorded contraction growth rate of 16.25 percent as it recorded US$160.92 million in 2018 as against US$192.15 million in 2017.
This therefore calls for urgent need for focus much attention on “Other Countries” by getting up to date export data – the products that are in high demand there and a list of all the countries to enable exporters and out-growers increase their production base.
On average, the Non-Traditional Exports sector has been growing at an annual growth rate of just 1.22 percent. In 2018, earnings recorded in the sector stands at US$2.813 billion, in 2017, in 2017, revenue from the sector stood at US$2.556 billion. In addendum, US$2.46 billion was earned in 2016 whiles US$2.52 billion recorded in 2015. This implies that GEPA has a more than 50 percent gap to bridge in order to achieve the set target export earnings from NTEs to US$5.3 billion by 2021.
Comparison of Ghana’s NTE earnings to total exports
Next week, Dundas Whigham will present a continuation of this article on Ghana’s traditional exports destinations.