Non-traditional export earnings remain strong despite COVID-19 challenges in 2020 

Cocoa paste and natural rubber earned US$463.41million and US$73.60million respectively with average earnings of the top-ten earners being US$170.37million

Revenue from non-traditional export earnings remain strong in 2020, amounting to US$2.846 billion, despite the disruptive effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the supply chain, the Ghana Export Promotions Authority (GEPA) has said.

The amount shows a slight dip of 1.84% over the 2019 earnings of US$2.899billion due to the impact of COVID-19 on global trade and a downward trend in the processed and semi-processed product sector’s performance, particularly cocoa-butter and canned tuna.

GEPA’s CEO, Dr Afua Asabea Asare, at a ceremony to launch the report on the analysis of non-traditional export statistics, said it was a solid performance considering the ravages of the pandemic.

She said during the pandemic, GEPA continued to play its role of trade facilitation, product development and promotion to ensure Non-Traditional Exports still chalked successes.

“Indeed more than ever before, SMEs and MSMEs looked up to GEPA for market destinations that required their products. The export fraternity did not relent during these tough times as they went all out to augment sales in their businesses by participating in virtual programmes such as business summits, trade fairs, seminars, webinars and made use of any available online opportunities intended to build their capacities.”

She reiterated GEPA’s commitment to ensuring that the US$25.3billion revenue target stipulated in the National Export Development Strategy (NEDS) was achieved by 2029.

“We remain committed to ensuring product transformation and value addition in alignment with the NEDS to achieve the set target by 2029. It may seem daunting, but with a collaborative approach with the necessary stakeholders’ Ghana will win,” she said.

The report showed that the manufacturing subsector of the NTEs, comprising processed and semi-processed products, accounted for 83.71 per cent and amounted to US$2.38billion in 2020, compared to US$2.46billion in 2019, representing a fall of 2.94%.

The agricultural subsector rose 0.65% at US$433million in 2020, compared to US$430million in 2019 while the industrial art and craft sector accounted for 1.08% of total NTEs and depicts an overwhelming increase of 110.88% over the 2019 year earnings.

The handicraft products in value terms contributed US$30.6 million in 2020, a huge leap from the US$14.5 million recorded in 2019.

The top-10 earners of the NTEs include cocoa paste, cocoa butter, cashew nut, articles of plastics, canned tuna, iron and steel, shea, refined palm oil, cocoa powder and natural rubber sheets in that order.

Explaining the subsector performance of these products, deputy director of Services and Manufacturers at GEPA, Banda Abdallah, said cocoa paste outperformed cocoa butter as the highest earner, with natural rubber sheets being the lowest earner among the top-ten leading products.

Cocoa paste and natural rubber earned US$463.41million and US$73.60million respectively with average earnings of the top-ten earners being US$170.37million. Indeed, the total value of the top-10 leading products amounted to over US$1.7billion representing 59.85 percent of total NTE earnings for 2020.

Cocoa paste, which was the biggest earner among the NTEs, contributed 16.50% while natural rubber sheets contributed 2.62%. Cashew nut was the only agricultural product that showed up in the top-ten leading products, with the rest all being processed and semi-processed products.

In 2020, NTE’s earnings from the processed/ semi-processed sub-sector amounted to US$2.382.99 billion, depicting a decrease of 2.94 per cent compared to US$2.455.21 billion earned in 2019.

The fall was mainly due to a plunge in the performance of cocoa butter, canned tuna, cocoa powder and aluminium plates, sheets, and coil.

The sub-sector remains the dominant NTE sub-sector with a contribution of 83.71% to the total NTE earnings in 2020. This sub-sector has unlimited potential for growth and is a major driving force for economic growth. Hence the government’s transformation agenda for economic growth through accelerated industrialisation and value addition.

In 2020, non-traditional export products were exported to 152 countries in European Union (EU) & the United Kingdom, the ECOWAS sub-region, other Developed Countries, the Rest of Africa and Emerging Countries.

Export of non-traditional goods into ECOWAS was US$ 783.83 million, a fall from US$ 836.51 million, representing a 6.30 decline from the previous year. ECOWAS represented a 27.54 per cent share of the total export market.

The EU & UK markets, the leading destination, contributed 34.35 per cent of the total market by absorbing US$977.68 million value of NTEs.

This market value, however, reduced by 11.57% relative to 2019 performance due to depression of demand for cut pineapples, fresh bananas, and canned tuna, as fallouts from disruptions in distribution chains.

Additionally, a fall in demand for aluminium ingots and a reduction in the average price for the product on the London Metal Exchange contributed to the dip in performance of the EU & UK markets.

The rest of Africa, other developed countries, as well as Emerging Countries, absorbed 1.46%, 10.93%, 25.73% respectively, of NTEs.

The report was launched by Yaw Asuo Banin, the board chairman of GEPA.

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