The Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Exports Promotion Authority, Dr. Afua Asabea Asare has assured of her outfit’s collaboration with the Ghana Free Zones Authority to achieve its expected target of 4 Billion dollars gained in exports.
Speaking on Eye on Port’s live panel discussion on the State of Ghana’s Export and Free Zone Sectors Amid COVID-19 Beleaguered Global Economy, the GEPA CEO affirmed her outfit’s support to the Ghana Free Zones Authority in achieving its ambitious over 4-billion-dollar export revenue target within the next five (5) years as proclaimed by its Chief Executive Officer, Michael Okyere Baafi revealed on the same program.
“We are trying to get to a stage, in the next five years, where we would be able to do minimum 4 billion dollars in export.”
The Free Zones Boss revealed that his outfit is close to meeting its 5-year plan of building up a free zones sector that is the best in Africa where many investors including automobile companies will be established as well as providing the infrastructural support needed to facilitate its set up.
The CEO of the Ghana Exports Promotion Authority, Dr. Afua Asabea Asare emphasized the critical role her outfit would play in achieving the target set by the Ghana Free Zones Authority and implored the Free Zones Authority to collaborate with her outfit in aligning with the National Export Development Strategy that has been put together as a blueprint to effectively utilize the country’s export potential.
“That is why we have to work together to achieve the NEDS, (The National Export Development Strategy) that we have put together. Not just us but the stakeholders, including Free Zones are part of it. We need to collaborate to achieve that 4 Billion Dollars he is talking about,” she urged.
The Head of GEPA disclosed the tremendous growth non-traditional exports have experienced over recent years, citing the 23% increase in exports of cashew and attributed such success not only to the work of her outfit, but also to the Ministry of Agric in its flagship Planting for Food and Jobs program.
“Cashew just went up by 23% and it is just because of the interventions that were made by the Ministry of Agric with the support of GEPA.”
She however lamented the raw state cashew is being exported and called for government intervention that would introduce regulations to ensure cashew and many other products of great value are processed to even add more value before exportation.
“We would make our case before government. We had about 12 factories in Ghana processing cashew but now it is about only two or three left. They have all been closed down because the cashew is taken away before they can even be purchased to be processed in Ghana which is very bad for us,” she bemoaned.
The Chief Executive Officer of Ghana Free Zones Authority, Michael Okyere Baafi said, one of the key areas the Free Zones Authority is looking to attract more investments for is the food production sector due to the riches in food resource at the country’s disposal that has been further boosted by interventions by government.
“There’s a need for our country to start attracting huge investments in that area. Last year we focused on pharmaceuticals. This year we are looking at food.”
Mr. Okyere Baafi made positive remarks about the recent gains made from exports of cashew and expressed enthusiasm to engage companies in that area of production in order to add value to the product that has become one of Ghana’s leading export resource.
“Some free zone companies already work with cashew. And they work with Ghana Exports Promotion Authority. They also take advantage of the system. Now, cashew is becoming a very good business to do in Ghana here. I know a lot of young people who want to venture in it and we have to take advantage and encourage them” the Free Zones Boss espoused.