USAID engages stakeholders on ‘Trade Africa’ successes

Mr. Steven E. Hendrix, Acting USAID/Ghana Mission Director, delivering the opening remarks at the Trade Africa Learning and Sharing event

…as investments hit US$10m in 2year

The United States government through the USAID has provided an avenue for stakeholders in the trade sector, to learn about developing exports for high-value markets.

The opportunities include new tools, manuals and online portals that enhance export of Ghanaian products to the European Union and other international markets.

At a Trade Africa Learning Event in Accra, USAID’s Ag. Mission Director in Ghana, Steven Hendrix said, the U.S government is proud to support Ghana through increased exports of Ghanaian products and businesses to the world markets, adding, “we are working to make goods from Ghana more competitive and increase opportunities for businesses to participate fully in global value chains.”

Ghana’s trade expansion

Since 2015, Ghana became a Trade Africa Expansion Country and the initiative has since 2016, provided US$10 million to support the World Trade Organization Trade Facilitation Agreement, improve phytosanitary standards, and helping Ghana to overcome technical barriers to trade – in support of President Akufo-Addo’s vision of a ‘Ghana beyond Aid’.

Mr. Hendrix explained that a major pillar of Trade Africa is broadening access to markets and helping firms seek new export markets to encourage investment regimes, enhance intra-regional trade and moving beyond foreign assistance to a relationship of trade.

“One initiative success was the support for MoFA vegetable export taskforce to improve quality standards in order to restore access for Ghanaians vegetable exporters to the EU,” he noted.

That support, led to the EU intercepting only four shipments of horticultural products from Ghana last year, down from 330 in 2014, when the EU instituted a vegetable import ban.

Call for support

Deputy Minister of Trade, Carlos Ahenkorah, however explained that though the Trade Africa initiative has benefitted the country enormously, the U.S government should support Ghana to focus on value addition to areas including the cocoa and the aluminum sectors.

“We know what USAID has achieved in Ghana and other countries in terms of contributions to development. We appreciate all the technical assistance all these years, but we want the U.S government to look critically at our cocoa industry to assist us with value addition before exports,” Mr. Ahenkorah said.

Commendations

He commended the USAID for interventions in Ghana’s key areas of growth including the Ports, GRA, and Agriculture among others.

“These supports and the ones that are yet to come, will help to assist the country’s ten point industrial transformation agenda, which seeks to move ‘Ghana beyond Aid’.” He clarified.

Stakeholders present

Stakeholders present at the event were, the GRA, Exim Bank, Finance Ministry, Ghana Association of Vegetable Exporters, the Chamber of Commerce, Ghana Standards Authority, American Chamber of Commerce and the Ghana International Trade Commission.

By Wisdom Jonny-Nuekpe