The country earned more from exporting non-traditional products to other West African countries than to the European Union (EU) and other developed countries in 2016, the first in many decades of trying.
Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) data shows that non-traditional export (NTE) earnings from the ECOWAS region increased from US$797 million recorded in 2015 to a record US$917 million as at December 2016. This represented a 15 percent increase.
NTE export to the EU dipped from US$903 million in 2015 to US$796 million in 2016 representing an 11.8 percent decline.
Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Togo, the Ivory Coast and Benin are the top five destinations for the country’s exports within the West African sub-regional trading bloc.
The Netherlands, France, United Kingdom, Spain and Italy in descending order, represent the top five destinations in the EU market for Ghana’s non-traditional products.
Burkina Faso, Ghana’s northern neighbour, contributed the highest to NTEs during the year under review with US$248million.
Major products exported to Ouagadougou included articles of plastics, powder, wheat flour, perfumes, and lubricating oil.
This was followed by the United Kingdom, which contributed US$203 million. Top four NTE exports to the UK included: canned tuna, cocoa paste, yam and banana.
In all, Ghana’s non-traditional products were exported to 130 countries grouped as European Union, other developed countries, ECOWAS, other African countries and other countries other than African.
Other African countries, other Developed countries as well as other countries absorbed 2.14%, 8.33%, 19.94% respectively of NTEs from Ghana.
Trade with and among ECOWAS members, and the whole African continent is expected to increase from 2018, following the signing of the Continental Free Trade Agreement (CFTA) at the 28th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union.
The purpose of the deal is ensure significant growth of Intra-Africa trade, as well as assisting countries on the continent use trade more effectively as an engine of growth and for sustainable development.
The CFTA will, amongst others, reduce the vulnerability of the continent to external shocks, and will also enhance the participation of Africa in global trade as a respectable partner, thereby reducing the continent’s dependence on foreign aid and external borrowing.
According to GEPA, the country has already initiated plans to place the country in pole position to benefit from the opening of the whole African market.
GEPA’s Chief Executive Officer, Gifty Klenam, explained that her outfit, has already started processes aimed at identifying and developing exportable products to take advantage of the CFTA.