The Ghana Export-Import Bank (GEXIM) has organised a stakeholder consultative forum on handicraft at its head office, located at the Africa Trade House in Accra. It was under the theme ‘Facilitating International Trade, The Role of Ghana Export-Import Bank in the Handicraft Export Sector’.
The stakeholder consultative forum was a platform created by the bank for all key and relevant stakeholders in the handicraft export sector to discuss solutions to challenges within the sector. In addition, it was an opportunity to introduce products of the bank’s Export Trade Department to the industry players.
In her welcome address, the Deputy Chief Executive Officer of GEXIM Responsible for Banking, Ms. Rosemary Beryl Archer, underlined the bank’s commitment in supporting the Government of Ghana’s agenda to industrialise the country. “As a leading development bank, GEXIM remains dedicated to supporting the government’s agenda to transform the Ghanaian economy into an export-led one by supporting and developing trade between Ghana and other countries.
“Through several interventions by the bank and support to identified priority sectors of the economy, the bank is working on the elimination of critical market failures to make Ghana more competitive in the global marketplace,” she emphasised.
The Chief Executive Officer of GEXIM, Lawrence Agyinsam, highlighted the importance of the handicraft sub-sector to the Ghanaian economy and cultural heritage. He said: “The handicraft sub-sector generates foreign exchange earnings for Ghana through exports, contributes to employment creation, poverty reduction, and the promotion of Ghana’s rich cultural heritage.
“Data available in Ghana shows that the total value of handicraft products exported in 2021 was US$45.2million, representing 1.35 percent of the total non-traditional export value for the year. The National Export Development Strategy expects that by the end of 2029, Ghana’s non-traditional export will increase to US$25.3billion. We believe that investing in the handicraft sub-sector will help Ghana achieve the non-traditional export target in 2029.”
On his part, the Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Michael Okyere Baafi, indicated that the handicrafts have always been an important part of Ghana’s cultural heritage, not only as a source of artistic expression but also as a means of livelihood for many Ghanaians.
He added: “The Ministry of Trade and Industry has played a pivotal role in creating an enabling environment for the export of handicrafts. It has implemented policies and programmes that have facilitated trade and improved the competitiveness of Ghanaian handicrafts in the global market”.
Through the export promotion initiatives, the ministry has provided support to Ghanaian exporters, including those in the handicraft sector, to access international markets and participate in trade fairs and exhibitions.
The Acting Chairperson of Handicraft Association of Ghana, Ms. Fulera Seidu, called for more support and collaboration from state agencies and regulators to enable their members to scale up in their operations and increase their productivity, thereby leading to more export earnings.
She further urged members of the Handicraft Association of Ghana to strategically position themselves to take advantage of GEXIM’s financial package to increase their operations and exports.
Over the years, the GEXIM has collaborated with the Ministry of Trade and Industry to promote Ghanaian handicrafts in international trade fairs and exhibitions. In addition, the bank provides funding for the operations, training and capacity-building programmes for artisans and businesses in the handicraft sector.
Dr. Fareed Kwesi Arthur, Coordinator – National AfCFTA Coordination Office; representatives of the Ghana Investment Promotions Centre (GIPC), Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA), Ghana Free Zones Authority, Forestry Commission; and members of the Handicraft Association of Ghana attended the forum.