The United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), European Union and government of Ghana last week Thursday held a briefing in Accra for stakeholders of the EU-funded West Africa Competitiveness Programme (WACOMP)–Ghana component.
The briefing was held to present an overview of the programme to the media and foster dialogue among various stakeholders.
The media briefing also created a platform for key partners to brief the media on various thematic themes and interventions to be implemented by WACOMP-Ghana component.
UNIDO Programme Manager, Mr Juan Pablo Dávila Sánchez, at a stakeholder briefing on the project in Accra,said WACOMP will be carried out in ECOWAS member-states through national components in each country.
Mr. Dávila Sánchez, commenting on the country component, said the programme will improve the export competitiveness of the Ghanaian economy through enhanced value-added, low carbon, sustainable production and processing, and increased access to regional and international markets.
He said WACOMP will complement on-going coordination activities within the cassava, fruit (mango and pineapple), cosmetics and personal care products value chains.
“The programme will contribute to Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) to enhance the competitiveness of these value chains, and will also support SMEs and firms in the selected Value Chains to establish collaborative networks and consortia (e.g. production, marketing and export consortia) to improve their productive capacities and facilitate their integration into regional and international markets.”
He noted that these sectors are in line with the priorities of government, and have a high potential for industrialisation and job creation.
In a speech read on his behalf, Mr. Alan Kyeremanten – the Minister of Trade and Industry – commended the EU for selecting Ghana as one of the beneficiaries for the initiative, and was confident of its successful completion.
He said the programme is in line with the Ghana Beyond Aid agenda to improve economic governance and the business environment, and maximise the benefits of EPA for the country.
The minister said there is a need for producers to design products that meet specifications and requirements of the market, and satisfy the demands of customers.
He pledged government’s support for a successful implementation of the programme, leading to development and enhancement of competitiveness for trade product groups with strong regional and global value chain potentials for job creation and growth.
Mr. Zoltan Agai, the EU Head of Cooperation in Ghana, said the Union is supporting the programme because Ghana had strong potential to increase its agri-business export for the international market.
He stated that the EU’s continuous support for Ghana’s ambition will boost trade and industrialisation with enhanced value chains, leading to more competitive locally-produced goods.
Participants called for addressing challenges in the value chain. These include lack of guidance for implementation of processes and market standards requirements, and inadequate labelling and packaging of products to be competitive in the global market.
WACOMP is funded by the EU and will strengthen SMEs to have the capacity to produce with higher and improved quality, while capacity will be strengthened within the institutions mandated to ensure compliance and international acceptance of products produced in Ghana.
Support will also be provided to the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) to strengthen the market hub as an efficient market surveillance and strategic tool that supports the selecting Value Chains.
WACOMP is a partnership initiative between the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the European Union (EU).
It has a bearing on regional economic integration and highlights a commitment to the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the EU and West Africa.
The overall objective of the programme is to strengthen the competitiveness of West Africa and to enhance the ECOWAS countries’ integration into the regional and international trading system, including the newly-established African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
The programme was launched in March 2019 and embraces the vision of the Third Industrial Development Decade for Africa (IDDA III), and is also aligned to UNIDO’s mandate of fostering Inclusive and Sustainable Industrial Development (ISID).