The Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA), has opened an ultra-modern technology-driven export trade information centre, to provide relevant one-stop-shop trade information to the Ghanaian export community and the general public.
The facility, christened the GEPA Impact Hub, and located on the ninth floor of the African Trade House, Headquarters of AfCFTA in Accra, is fully furnished with computers, dedicated online resources, printed trade publication and information and a library, to aid clients in accessing trade information.
The Hub also boasts of other amenities including conferencing facilities, and B2B syndicated rooms and is expected to hold monthly events and interactive masterclass sessions with seasoned business leaders and exporters to mentor young and aspiring exporters across an array of industries including, agribusiness, industrial art and craft and manufacturing.
Addressing dignitaries at the opening ceremony of the Hub, GEPA’s CEO, Dr Afua Asabea Asare, said an important aspect of GEPA Impact Hub’s offerings is the permanent presence of three key stakeholder government agencies.
The Ghana Standards Authority, the Food and Drugs Authority and the Plant Protection and Regulatory Services Directorate of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture are some agencies that are already operating from the Hub.
The Impact Hub is as well expected to host agencies such the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC), the Ghana Free Zones Authority and several other agencies.
Dr. Asabea Asare however believes that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic where businesses have had to migrate from physical space to the realms of digital and virtual modes, perfectly corresponds with GEPA’s strategy to provide a lifeline to its export promotion policies by making life easier for exporters by facilitating free access to online trade information in the Impact Hub.
She said the Hub gives and provides answers to questions such as buyer information for products, how to obtain financial partners to support businesses, standards to comply with to enter specific product markets, current market price of products, and the operational activities of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA).
Trade and Industry Minister, Hon. Alan Kyerematen, lauded GEPA for the initiative of opening the Impact Hub and said the Trade Ministry and its agencies have more work to do despite some notable achievements chalked.
As a recent export survey in January 2021, shows that only 45 percent of African SMEs are ready to take advantage of AfCFTA, the Minister said more work needs to be done to prepare and encourage young aspiring exporters, adding, “initiatives such as the GEPA Impact Hub provides an incubator to nurture the work of persons with an entrepreneurial mindset”.
Mr Alan Kyerematen is optimistic that the opening of the Hub, will work to augment Ghana’s chances of achieving a targeted non-traditional export earnings of US$25.3 billion by 2029.
He commended the GSA, the FDA, PPRSD, the GIPC and GFZA for their collaborations and intended partnership to make the GEPA Impact Hub, a viable initiative.
By Wisdom Jonny-Nuekpe