Use e-commerce to boost NTEs – DHL urges exporters

Non-Traditional Exports (NTEs) can see a major boost if local exporters use e-commerce – the buying and selling of goods and services over the Internet – Managing Director of DHL Express, Kader Coulibaly, has said.

“For us at DHL, we do not see electronic commerce as being on the side of importing goods from the West to consume in Ghana; we see it as the reverse – to export Ghanaian goods and know-how outside Ghana. We at DHL think we can play a role to support this trend by reinforcing the knowledge and capacity of local exporters,” he said.

“We sincerely believe that with creativity the number of products existing in the Ghana, such as artifacts that are locally made, can be exposed and exported outside the country. We want that sector to generate as much foreign exchange as gold, timber, cocoa and oil do,” he said.

DHL Express Ghana, he said, is working assiduously to grow its electronic commerce business from the current five to more than 15 percent in the next five years. The move, he said, is to help grow more local business enterprises which are into exports to export their products abroad.

Mr. Coulibaly stated in Accra on Thursday, at a seminar for DHL Express Ghana electronic commerce customers, that his office is also working to reverse the growing trade imbalance between Ghana and its major trading partners by helping a lot of Ghanaian businesses to export their products.

Among other objectives, the workshop was to explain to electronic commerce customers of DHL Express Ghana the various Customs systems across the world – to help them export their products and claim the benefits of electronic commerce for their businesses.

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He explained that electronic commerce “is a moving activity” and will remain a priority to the company. Mr. Coulibaly also indicated that electronic commerce “is a promising and profitable activity for local Ghanaian entrepreneurs”.

Currently, he said, the annual growth of electronic commerce of DHL Express Ghana is 300 percent and constitutes about 5 percent of the company’s business activities in Ghana. He said there are a lot of quality local products – such as artifacts, skin-care products – that can be exposed and exported to rake-in more revenue for the country than cocoa, gold, oil and gas and timber are doing for the country.

Highlighting on the importance of electronic commerce, Mr. Coulibaly said it offers a great opportunity for Ghanaian businesses to sell their products abroad. He said by uploading their products and services on the Internet, Ghanaian business can secure buyers across the globe; and DHL is ready to deliver their products to customers.

DHL, according to Mr. Coulibaly, operates in more than 220 countries across the world and can be a reliable partner for local businesses to deliver their products to their customers. He entreated local businesses to choose DHL Express Ghana in shipping their products, since the company has better shipping tariffs and can be trusted to provide speed, reliance and security.

Mr. Coulibaly said DHL is a global brand, and businesses which associate their products with the company stand a better chance of attracting a lot of buyers abroad.

In a panel discussion, DHL’s electronic commerce business partners entreated the company to help attain more exposure by getting celebrities and important personalities to endorse their products. They also said DHL should help them secure more markets and customers to boost their exports. The participants further appealed for DHL to reduce their tariffs so as to help them export more of their products abroad.

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They commended DHL for providing them opportunity to export their products – indicating that through their partnership with DHL they have gotten more customers and their businesses are booming.

Ghana’s non-traditional export earnings fell 2.3 percent to US$2.46 billion in 2016 compared with US$2.52billion in 2015. Processed cocoa products’ contribution fell by 16 percent from US$643.3million in 2015 to US$542.3million in 2016 from January to December.

The Handicraft sub-sector, which had stagnated at around US$4million, however experienced an increase of 22 percent to US$5.22million on account of higher earnings from hides and skins and jewellery exports.

The processed and semi-processed sub-sector amounted to US$2.08billion, a fall of 1.6 percent compared to US$2.12billion earned in 2015 as a result of the decline in performance of cocoa products. Despite the fall, the sub-sector still remained the major NTE sub-sector with a contribution of 84.72 percent.

NTEs were exported to 130 countries during the year under review, with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and European markets remained the leading markets for Ghana’s NTE products.

ECOWAS was the top performer, absorbing 37.25 percent of the products, while the European Union had 32.33 percent. Other African countries absorbed 2.14 percent, developed countries 8.33 percent and other countries 19.94 percent.

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