The EU Ambassador to Ghana, Irchad Razaaly, has indicated that the EU has contributed about 75 million Ghana cedis, an equivalent of £6.2million, to the West Africa Competiveness Programme (WACOMP) Ghana, to boost the competitiveness of the country’s exports.
He noted that the move of contributing such an amount is also geared towards the goal of supporting sustainable production and processing within the country, with the overreaching agenda being “better access to and becoming more competitive on regional and international market”.
“In Ghana specifically, the EU has contributed around 75 million cedis to the programme aimed at boosting the competiveness of Ghanaian exports”, he explained.
Speaking at the WACOMP Ghana SMEs Product Exhibition, he described the programme as a unique opportunity to promote the success stories of SME’s in the country in key value chains of tropical fruits (mango and pineapple), cassava and shea butter; adding that, they are all an important export for the country.
Mr. Razaaly said the objectives of WACOMP is to strengthen the competiveness of West African products and to enhance the integration of the ECOWAS countries into the regional and international trading system, including the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
He further reiterated the significance of the event as it corroborates with the theme for this year’s EU celebration Week – “Youth and Skills”, and underscored the role of the SME’s as a driving force in making the country a continental economic and trade hub.
Chief Director of the Ministry of Trade and Industry(MoTI), Patrick Yaw Nimo, also expressed his excitement about the programme which has impacted, predominantly the lives of women “who are just not consumers of the product, but significant producers of them as well”.
He urged individuals who have benefited from the project to continue producing and charged them to penetrate the market of other African countries to compete there as well.
“Our concern has always been how we continue to engage, connect, conform and compete and I urge you to pay attention to that as you go forward”, he charged.
For his part, the Director of Development Services of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), Johnson Opoku-Boateng, pledged the support of the AGI to all the 57 SME’s who are beneficiaries of the project, and asked them to “knock on thier doors at all times for anything they need to make thier businesses better”.
The event brought together SME’S within Accra, Tamale, Bolgatanga, Kumasi and other who exhibited products that falls within the three main value chain of WACOMP. These are – cassava and derivatives, fruits (mango and pineapple), cosmetics and personal care.
Some of the products within the three categories include; soaps, lotions, shampoos, black soap, oils, fruit juices, dried fruits, jams, chutneys, cassava flour, gari, ethanol, starch and many more.
In an interview with the B&FT, Chief Executive Officer of Vinolia Worth Enterprise, Vinolia Emma Zigah, enumerated three key areas she has benefited from the project. These are capacity building, product registration and access to equipment.
As the project comes to end, she intends to use the machines acquired from the project to expand her business by adding different products to the existing ones, and employing more people especially women, to reduce the unemployment rate in the country.
WACOMP is a partnership initiative between the Economic Community of West Africa States and the EU. The programme is implemented by the United Nations Industial Development Organisation in coordination with the MoTI and it seeks to improve the competiveness of Ghanaian exports with a focus on three main value chains through enhanced value-addition, low carbon sustainable production and processing aimed at increased acess to regional and international market.