The President of the Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GNCCI), Nana Dr Appiah Dankawoso I, has called on members of the GNCCI and small-scale private business operators to form partnerships to enable them to export to the U.S under the African Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA) programme.
He said with partnerships, businesses could pull financial resources, draw synergies and attract expertise to help them to build sustainable businesses to access and export to the U.S market.
Nana Dr Dankawoso I, who made the call at an AGOA sensitisation and capacity building workshop in Accra yesterday, said businesses in the country needed to do more to export to U.S under the AGOA.
The AGOA is a non-reciprocal trade preference programme which provides Sub-Saharan African countries duty and quota free access to exports for over 6,400 products to the US.
Ghana joined the programme in 2000 when the AGOA was passed by the US government to give SSA countries opportunity to export duty and quota free to the US market, and has been exporting textiles, apparel, agricultural products, footwear, energy-related products and minerals and metals to the U.S.
Organised by GNCCI in collaboration with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), it was attended by members of GNCCI, businesses associations from Accra.
Nana Dr Dankawoso said since 2011, the value of Ghana’s export to the U.S had been declining and picked up in 2017 and 2018, adding that the value of Ghana’s export to U.S under AGOA in 2011 stood at $779 million and declined to 2012 in $292 million and picked up at $748 million and $889 million in 2018.
“With the 10-year renewal due 2025, Ghana and other AGOA eligible countries need to find innovative ways to increase their participation in the AGOA programme,” the President said.
Nana Dr Dankawoso I said it was to reverse the low exports to U.S under AGOA that GNCCI entered into partnership with USAID West Africa Trade and Investment Hub to organise the AGOA sensitisation and capacity building workshop to provide relevant information on AGOA to members of the business community to help them take informed decision to trade and export to the U.S.
He said the workshop was to educate the participants of the programme of the National AGOA Response Strategy, which is highlighting strategies to increase the country’s export to the U.S market under AGOA.
Nana Dr Dankawoso hinted that GNCCI was in talks with the Ghana EXIM Bank to raise financial resources for members of GNCCI to finance and expand their businesses and also said that GNCCI had established a credit union to help members secure loans to fiancé their businesses.
The Minister of Trade and Industry, Alan Kyerematen in a speech read on his behalf said the intent of AGOA to stimulate economic growth, diversify African exports, encourage economic integration and facilitate Africa’s integration into the global economy had not been realised.
He said AGOA could play an important role for Africa to achieve its Agenda 2063 in building an integrated African economy.
Mr Kyerematen said government had initiated a number of reforms to create an enabling environment for businesses to thrive so as to help them increase their exports to the U.S market under AGOA.
The AGOA Specialist, USAID ASSESS Project, Kara Diallo took the participants through topics such as, ‘Documentation and export procedures’, ‘Basics and requirements for foodstuff export to the U.S’. and ‘Standards and compliance in the handicraft sector.’
By Kingsley Asare