The Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Herbert Krapa, has said that exports of raw materials from the country will soon be history, as government is implementing an aggressive industrial transformation agenda to shift from the practice to be an industrial value-adding exporter.
To that effect, he said, a blueprint for increasing non-traditional export revenue to US$25billion by 2029 is being developed and implemented.
“We can no longer remain exporters of the very raw materials whose finished products rule the global economy. As host of the Secretariat, and an ever-dependable champion of Africa’s integration agenda, we in Ghana will continue to take very seriously our collaborative role with the AfCFTA Secretariat.
“We are implementing an aggressive industrial transformation agenda for the realisation of a dream that has long slept on the drawing table – to shift us from raw material export dependency to an industrial value-adding exporter,” he said.
Providing statistical backing, the deputy minister lamented that it doesn’t make sense for Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire to account for 65 percent of global cocoa production but not control the chocolate industry.
Again, the Kalahari manganese field in South Africa contains approximately 80 percent of the world’s known economic manganese resources; the continent holds 40 percent of the world’s gold and up to 90 percent of its chromium and platinum, and is home to some 30 percent of the world’s mineral reserves.
Furthermore, Africa has 65 percent of all of the world’s arable land and 10 percent of the planet’s internal renewable freshwater sources, among others – yet imports finished products from these same materials that rule the global economy.
Adding to the above, he stated that Africa is a continent of plenty yet its share of global trade stands at a not-so-handsome three percent. Meanwhile, intra-Africa trade is some 17 percent compared to 68 percent for Europe and 59 percent for Asia. On top of that, its annual infrastructure deficit stands at over US$100billion.
“Although Africa is endowed with natural resources to manufacture nearly all 30,000 components of a vehicle, only 3 countries of the 55 – Morocco, South Africa and Egypt – are vehicle manufacturers.”
Nonetheless, he touted the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) as by far the boldest vision for bringing transformation to the continent – and highlighted that government is putting in place measures to capitalise on it to industrialise and ensure value addition to raw materials, and also promote export of finished products.
Furthermore, he indicated that Ghana has developed a National Policy Framework and Implementation Plan (NPFIP) to enhance diversification and competitiveness – and address supply-side constraints and weak productive capacities; trade-related infrastructural gaps; trade facilitation bottlenecks and the financial needs of businesses.
With this long-term plan, a policy to set up industrial parks and special economic zones in each of Ghana’s 16 regions is being developed.
Through the One District, One Factory Initiative (1D1F), industrial development is being decentralised. So far, 107 factories are fully operational and located in different parts of the country; of which 41 percent are involved in agro-processing and 40 percent in manufacturing. In all, together with those under construction, there are currently 278 projects under the One District, One Factory initiative, he emphasised.
He made these remarks while speaking on the theme ‘Supporting the Africa Trade Agenda- Ensuring the last mile’ at the Ghana Trade Roadshow (GTRS) organised by Afreximbank in partnership with Oakwood Green Africa Limited, the Ghana Free Zones Authority (GFZA), Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) and the AfCFTA Secretariat.