Trade Africa, an initiative of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), has organised a learning event for stakeholders to enhance Ghana’s trade competitiveness and to provide new tools and manuals aimed at boosting exports of Ghanaian products.
The initiative is also to strengthen the relationship between the U.S and Africa and significantly expand US-African private and public sector collaboration to increase trade with and within Africa
Since 2016, Trade Africa has provided US$10 million to support Ghana’s World Trade Organisation (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement and improved phyto-sanitary standards.
The event was held under the theme: “Enhancing Ghana’s Trade Competitiveness: Lesson from Trade Africa Partnership.”
Deputy Minister for Trade and Industry, Carlos Ahenkorah, noted that the initiative will help Ghana overcome technical barriers to trade, and support policies that promote regional trade and investment
Mr. Ahenkorah also expressed gratitude to the U.S government after revealing that Ghana lost US$30 million in revenue over a three-year period due to the ban on vegetable exports to the EU market.
He said U.S, through the Trade Africa initiative, provided port cabins, equipment and food inspection technology at the airport that enabled vegetables to be inspected by Ghanaian inspectors before they were exported.
“The implementation of this initiative has been very beneficial to Ghanaians, especially in a number of critical areas, such as the implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement.
It has also supported the Ministry of Trade’s work regarding the identification of Ghana’s category A, B, and C measures, which had been very important in fulfilling part of the commitments under the agreement.
There were other technical assistance programmes to the Ghana Revenue Authority’s Customs Division as well.
These include improving the risk management framework to facilitate more targeted interventions for better operational efficiency”, he said.
The initiative, Mr. Ahenkorah noted, further provided institutional capacity building to enable local businesses seek redress for unfair trade practices, which has led to the establishment of the Ghana International Trade Commission.
Acting Mission Director of USAID, Steven Hendrix, said: “The US government is proud to support the Government of Ghana through increased exports of Ghanaian goods and businesses to the world markets.”
He noted that the USAID is working to make Ghanaian goods more competitive and increase opportunities for Ghanaian businesses to participate more fully in global value chains.
He added that: “Broadening access to markets and helping firms seek new export markets is a pillar of USAID’s strategy to help Ghana move beyond foreign assistance to a relationship defined by trade”.
Mr. Hendrix said under the initiative, the United States had worked hand in hand with the Ghanaian Government to improve Ghana’s business environment, encourage open investment and boost trade.
In 2013, the Trade Africa initiative supported Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda and in 2015, it was expanded to include Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Mozambique, Senegal and Zambia.