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10.05.2007 Business & Finance

Non-traditional exports to cross the billion dollar mark

Officials of the Ghana Export Promotion Council (GEPC) were optimistic that the value of non-traditional exports will cross the one billion dollar mark this year.

The Council set the target in its strategic plan some three years ago but returns from exports had fallen short of estimates to attain the goal.

The renewed confidence stemmed from the excellent performance of the sector in recent years, which had seen it register an average annual growth of 14.3 per cent.

During the same period, export values of exports rose from 705.4 million dollars in 2004 to 893 million dollars in 2006.

The figure showed about 26 per cent contribution of the sector to the country's total exports value of 3.4 billion dollars for 2006.

Mr Lawrence Prempeh, General Manager of GEPC attributed the improved performance of the sector to macro-economic stability and hard work of entrepreneurs in the sector.

He was addressing a reception to acknowledge the support of sponsors to the success of the National Awards for Export achievement over the years.

Mr Prempeh said there were currently over 383 different non-traditional export products categorized into agricultural, processed/semi-processed and handicrafts.

He said the GEPC had a base of over 3,000 registered private sector exporting companies organized into 15 Product Associations.

Mr Prempeh underscored the importance of diversifying the economy through the exports of other products apart from the traditional ones including cocoa, gold and timber so that the country would be able to contain any shock that might occur in the external market.

Mr Prempeh said the European Union market continued its influence as a major destination of Ghanaian NTEs products recording 419.9 million dollars for 2006, with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) been ranked second with 242.7 million dollars.

On country-by-country basis the United Kingdom is the leading market for NTEs, followed by France, Burkina Faso and Nigeria.

Mr. Prempeh emphasised the need for countries within the West African sub-region to intensify intra trade, saying it was a major way of sustaining the economy of these countries.

Nana Asante Frimpong, a member of the Board of GEPC, said the positive results of the sector's performance in recent years called for support to achieve set targets.

Some previous award winners, including Tongu Fruits Limited and the Export Development and Investment Fund were presented with plaques for last years award.

The 2006 awards will be held in September this year.