Cashew industry drives NTEs growth to US$2.8bn

The Non-Traditional Exports (NTEs) of the economy have seen a 10 percent growth in 2018 – the highest in recent years and largely driven by the cashew industry’s performance, the Ghana Export Promotion Authority report has shown.

The 2018 Non-Traditional Export statistics report indicates that more than US$2.8billion was realised last year, with the cashew industry seeing a 43.8 percent increase in its earnings at a value of US$378.2million – making it the main driver of the NTEs compared to 2017, which saw a total revenue of US$2.5billion generated.

NTEs are grouped into three: namely agricultural goods, processed and semi-processed goods, and handicrafts. Processed and semi-processed goods was the largest contributor with 78.5 percent, followed by agriculture with 21 percent, and handicrafts with 0.46 percent.

The 2018 revenue from the NTEs represent 19 percent of the country’s total exports, which were valued at US$14.9billion in 2018 – one percentage point higher than 2017 when total exports hit US$13.9billion.

Commenting on the development, CEO of the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA), Afua Asabea Asare said the country has the potential to perform better given the signing of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, hence, her outfit will put in place strategies to improve the economy’s lot from exports.

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“The agreement’s projected benefits have been largely touted as crucial, and more especially for those of us in the business of export, the huge expectations of breaking frontiers and increasing intra-African trade and international investment emerges on the horizon.

“The Ghana Export Promotion Authority has significantly supported efforts to engage stakeholders, as we have realised that the AfCFTA has potential to significantly impact the lives of citizens across the continent.

“Our growth performance as a country reinforces the need for structural transformation and to constantly enhance the value of our exports if we are to maximise the potential AfCFTA offers,” she added.

The top-ten leading products of NTEs include banana, iron rods and sheets, cocoa powder, cocoa cake, canned tuna, aluminum plates and sheets, cashew nuts, cocoa butter, and cocoa paste — indicating that most of the top-selling exports are cocoa products.

Further details of the report, however, reveal that intra-Africa trade remains low as the bulk of NTEs went to Europe.

Products were largely exported to the European market with a value of US$1.1billion representing 41percent; ECOWAS followed with US$741.6million, representing 26.3 percent; other countries [not specified] US$722.5million, which represents 25.6 percent; other developed countries US$160.9million representing 5.7percent; and other African countries US$42.8million making up 1.5 percent of total NTEs.

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