The flagship National Services Export Strategy geared towards the diversification of the country's export portfolio and expected to earn the nation several millions of dollars was yesterday launched by the Minister of Trade and Industry, Papa Owusu Ankomah.
Already, the implementation committee tasked to see to the smooth execution of the comprehensive project has been charged to earn $30 million annually for the country in the next five years.
Recent statistics show that services account for over 70 percent of employment in developed countries and 35 percent in developing countries.
Since 1990, the share of services in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has grown from 65 to 72 percent in developed countries and 45 to 52 percent in developing countries.
Furthermore, developing countries' share of world services exports rose from 18 to 27 percent between 1990 and 2007. However, only Asia's share of services exports has increased, while export shares of Latin America, the Caribbean, and Africa have been stagnant.
Papa Owusu Ankomah, who also doubles as the Minister of Private Sector Development (PSD) and President's Special Initiative (PSI) said the National Services Export Strategy should replicate the non-traditional export products which has contributed 40 percent to Ghana's GDP.
He explained that since the world has become highly globalized, digitized and sophisticated, developing economies are finding ways to diversify their sources of revenue; hence it is prudent for Ghana to develop tailor-made policies geared towards the diversification of its export portfolio.
“The services export strategy document therefore comes at an opportune time since government has committed itself to the development of the sector.
“The emergence of India, Singapore and other Asian economies as powerhouses in Business Processes Outsourcing (BPO), medical services, tourism and software development is enough evidence to awaken us from the doldrums and guide us to emulate their shinning examples”.
The minister assured all stakeholders that government will do everything necessary to remove all barriers that inhibit the progress of the various associations, individuals or firms interested in exporting services.
Dr. Osei Boeh Ocansey, Director General of the Private Enterprises Foundation (PEF) on his part said the nation has the human resource capability to leap-frog into a middle-income status within the shortest possible time, if the necessary regulatory and institutional supports are provided.
The inextricable linkage between services export and economic development is again evidenced by the leap in economic advancement in countries such as Taiwan, Malaysia, India and China among others, he added.
He charged the implementation committee to always monitor the programme as well as ensure competitiveness.
Edward Collins Boateng, Executive Secretary of the Ghana Export Promotion Council, overseeing organisation of the project, reiterated that the confluence of services, oil exports and traditional export commodities will fast-track the nation's drive towards realizing its long-cherished dreams of becoming the beacon of Africa.
The National Services Export Strategy is an initiative of the GEPC with support from PEF and the Commonwealth Secretariat.
By Charles Nixon Yeboah