The proportion of Ghana’s Non-Traditional Exports (NTEs) to other West African countries has fallen significantly between 2017 and the first half of 2018, quarterly data from the Statistical Service has revealed.
The decline has reflected in ECOWAS’ share of Ghana’s merchandise exports in percentage terms. Apart from the third quarter of 2017 which recorded 15.2 percent, the remaining figures from first, second, fourth quarters and the first half of 2018 recorded low figures as compared to 2015 and 2016 figures.
For instance, 11.4 percent, 17.1 percent, 8.2 percent and 14. 3 were recorded during the respective quarters of 2016 whiles figures for every quarter from 2017 to 2018, with the exception of third quarter of 2017 were below seven percent.
What this means is that Ghana’s trade exports to the ECOWAS sub-region as a proportion of the country’s total exports has reduced significantly. Trade experts are saying this in part reflects a fall in Ghana’s market share of the ECOWAS market, for NTE’s.
However, economists point out that it also reflects a fall in Ghana’s non-traditional exports as a proportion of the country’s total exports over the past few years; Ghana’s traditional commodity exports – gold, cocoa and crude oil are not sold to fellow ECOWAS countries.
During the first quarter of 2017, Ghana’s merchandise exports to the ECOWAS sub-region was Gh¢1,123.2 million while in the second quarter, the figure reduced to Gh¢846.1 million. The third quarter saw an appreciable Gh¢2,176.0 million whereas the last quarter of the year recorded just Gh¢676.3 million.
The first part of 2018 was not different from 2017 as the first quarter recorded Gh¢835.4 million whiles Gh¢1,130.5 million was recorded in the second quarter.
Ghana’s NTE’s to the ECOWAS markets largely include palm oil, cowpea, maize, yam, plastics and other agricultural products.
In the third quarter of 2017, household and toilet articles of plastics such as tables, chairs and cups with HS code 392490900 exported to Burkina Faso alone amounted to Gh¢740 million.
In the same year, a total of 101,015 metric tons of palm oil was exported to 19 countries, globally. Most of these counties were in the ECOWAS sub-region namely Senegal, Niger, Benin, Nigeria, Burkina Faso and Togo. The ECOWAS market continues to be the largest consumer of Ghana’s oil palm derivatives, representing 94 percent.
In terms of ECOWAS share of merchandise export, the highest was recorded in the third quarter of 2017, being 15.2 percent whereas the remaining quarterly figures within the years under review was less than seven percent.
What this means is that even as trading activities among African countries have been minimal, Ghana seems to be losing part of its market share in the ECOWAS consumer market.
A recent report issued by the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) revealed that Ghana’s trading activities with other African countries, including ECOWAS accounts for barely two percent of its total trade, exports and imports inclusive. This is largely due to various economic barriers that exist among African nations.
To harness trading activities in the ECOWAS sub-region and the continent, Ghana is one of the countries to ratify the recent trade agreement – Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) – which seeks to create the largest trade zone in the world.