GEPA holds forum for banks and SMEs

Deputy Chief Executive Officer in charge of Finance and Operations-GEPA, Samuel Dentu

The Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) has brought together some commercial banks and Small Medium Enterprises (SME) who are into export in the Ashanti Region at a forum to ensure ways to survive and compete effectively in the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), including the growth of non-traditional exports.

Even though there has been consistent growth in the country’s non-traditional exports, it has not been able to meet the supply demand internationally.

In view of this, there have been growing concerns that due to the country’s inability to meet demand, it might not make the most of AfCFTA if measures are not put in place.

Speaking to journalists in an interview on sidelines of the forum, which was under the theme ‘Financial Resource Mobilisation: A Key Factor in SME Growth’, Deputy Chief Executive Officer for GEPA in charge of operations and finance, Samuel Dentu, noted that the forum is meant to help bridge the gap between banks and exporters.

Hence, this will give the exporters access to enough finances to expand their work in order to meet demand – and by extension be competitive in the AfCFTA.

“The financial institutions need to help us grow our business. The Ghana Export-Import (GEXIM) Bank needs to work with us and the commercial banks to improve our export capacity. If we do not push our stakeholders in our export ecosystem harder, we are going to lose out on AfCFTA,” Mr. Dentu said.

He further cautioned that if the country does not put in more efforts to cushion SMEs and exporters, it might not reap the full potential benefits of AfCFTA.

“If we do not put practical steps in place for our businesses to also play in the big market that has been created, 10 years down the line we will be blaming government because other African countries’ penetration is going to be more since we are now going to have one market; so we need to prepare our exporters and make sure they have the capacity,” he said

Mr. Samuel Dentu noted that, usually, individuals are afraid to go to banks due to costs, requirements, collateral among other things. However, GEPA through this forum is mediating to flatten the surface for these exporters to have conversations that will be beneficial for banks and the exporters, and the country as well.

“We realised that in the last few years our exports were growing; however, we feel that more can be done, especially when the market is there. Normally, when we go out to try and sell Ghana’s products and services there is huge interest; but we realised that we lack the production capacity.

“So, one of the ways we can improve our capacity is to engage the exporters as well as commercial banks which have the wherewithal to help these exporters improve their production capacity. And also, to let them understand the business of these exporters and find ways of addressing the deficiencies we have; so that we can increase the supply capacity for the demand we have. This is our single-most important problem that GEPA wants to solve,” he said.

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