The Ghana Export and Import (EXIM) Bank has launched a plan to explore the economic potential of non traditional exports, with a special target on products in the northern part of Ghana.
It is in line with its five-year strategic objectives (2017-2022), which is focused on diversifying the Non Traditional Export (NTE) Sector towards an increase in export revenue, employment creation and value addition.
In that regard, the Chief Executive Officer of the EXIM Bank, Mr Lawrence Agyinsam paid a five-day business visit to the Northern and Upper East Regions from the last week.
The visit offered the Chief Executive and his team the opportunity to inspect projects financed by EDAIF between 2000 and 2016 in the northern part of Ghana. These include Shea butter, Mango and Basket weaving enterprises.
The Chief Executive Officer indicated that with Shea being a natural endowment of Northern Ghana, the Bank would soon launch the ‘’Shea Empowerment Initiative’’ to build the capacity of processors, empower aggregators who are mostly women and also finance the entire value chain.
An amount of GHS10 million has been earmarked for Phase One of this initiative. This would embody the construction of 4 shea processing centres, training of 900 aggregators and 300 processors. A portion of the funds would also be used to support the operations of cosmetics manufacturers who use shea as the main raw material for export production.
The commodity is one of Ghana’s 10 leading Non- Traditional Exports by way of revenue with proceeds amounting to USD 33m and USD 19m respectively for 2015 and 2016 (GEPA Report 2017). These values, however, would increase significantly should the nuts be processed prior to export.
This initiative and subsequent ones would continue the efforts of the Export Trade, Agriculture and Industrial Development Fund (EDAIF) which from 2000 to 2015 supported shea cultivation, processing and export.
Mango is one of the 10 top leading agriculture export products in the country with total revenues of USD 7.6m and USD 11.5m in 2015 and 2016 respectively. EDAIF has between 2000 and 2015 approved a minimum of GHS 35m to support the cultivation of 10,100 acres of the fruit in the Greater Accra, Brong-Ahafo, Volta, Upper East and Northern regions.
The Bank continues to support the cultivation, processing and export of mangos to Europe and the Middle East. The holistic approach is to finance the setting up of processing factories in the Northern, Brong Ahafo and Greater Accra regions to off-take, process and export the processed mangos.
Currently, these commercial farmers are being supported to maintain the farms and to harvest expected yield. Further, the Bank would continue to engage the services of Technical Consultants to build the capacities of farmers with best agronomic practices.
As part of the working tour, the Chief Executive Officer and his team also inspected twelve (12) basket weaving centres in Bolgatanga, Upper East Region. These centres in the past, with the support of EDAIF, provided employment for about 600 women and integrated them in the export value chain.
The Chief Executive Officer indicated that the Bank would consider supporting these women and new entrants to acquire skills for production to meet the requirements of prospective off-takers. Funds would also be availed to these off-takers for them to acquire the baskets in large quantities for export.
A key feature of the team’s visit was the organisation of an SME Workshop at the Modern City Hotel, Tamale, to educate and engage prospective entrepreneurs in their various endeavours. Here, the Chief Executive Officer discussed the Government’s flagship One District One Factory (1D1F) Initiative to enable participants make an informed choices upon the various options on this initiative.
The workshop among others, explained the requirements for accessing facilities from the Bank under the 1D1F Programme. The Bank’s products and services were also discussed extensively to give prospective customers an idea of the operations of the Bank.