‘Make More Use Of AGOA’
Robert Jackson (4th from left) and Robert Ahomka-Lindsay (5th left) in a group photograph with participants at the AGOA validation workshop
The United States Ambassador to Ghana, Robert P. Jackson, has asked local businesses to do more to take advantage of the Africa Growth & Opportunities Act (AGOA) to make Ghana more competitive in the global market.
Speaking at a day’s national AGOA utilization strategy validation event yesterday in Accra, Mr Jackson stated: “AGOA is an opportunity for Ghana to access the US marketplace, increase exposure for ‘made in Ghana’ goods and create more jobs.
“However, Ghana has not taken as much advantage of AGOA as I had hoped. In 2015, Ghana exported $9 million worth of goods under AGOA. In 2016, Ghana exported $29 million worth of goods, of which only $12 million was for non-oil goods. While this upward trend is encouraging, this number should increase substantially if Ghana is to be fully integrated into the global economy.”
He also indicated that Ghana has tremendous potential to be “the trade gateway of Africa.
“But the choice is ultimately up to the government and the people of Ghana: What do you want the future of Ghana to be? The United States is ready to work together with you to create an enabling business environment – one that will build upon Ghana’s stable economic and political foundation, and create jobs for citizens of both of our countries.”
The ambassador, who also called on government to put additional policies in place that will enable the private sector flourish, commended Salma Salifu, Managing Director of Dignity-Do the Right Thing, the largest Ghanaian exporter of apparel to the US.
It manufactures 25,000 garments a day and exports approximately $1 million worth of products every month to the US.
Robert Ahomka-Lindsay, Deputy Minister of Trade & Industry, in a speech, said the AGOA strategy built on Ghana’s National Export Strategy seeks to double the country’s non-traditional export earnings to $5 billion per year.
He added that his outfit has set itself a target of $500 million over the next three and a half years to make use of the AGOA project to project Ghanaian companies.
“We have to remove obstacles and make ourselves more competitive. If we are to help Ghanaians achieve their objectives, then a key component will be through exports.”
Over 6,000 products, under the AGOA programme, are accessible to Ghanaian companies.
And industries in the apparel, fisheries, horticulture, tropical fruits, specialty vegetables, root crops, vegetable fats (palm oil and shea-butter), cocoa, handicrafts and jewelry are encouraged to learn the ABC guidelines to make full use of the opportunity.
By Samuel Boadi