European Union Injects €120 Million to Enhance Export Competitiveness in West Africa
The European Union (EU) has strategically invested €120 million to amplify the competitiveness of exports originating from Ghana and other West African nations on the global stage.
Within Ghana, a substantial sum of over GH100 million has been strategically infused into three key value chains: cassava, mango, pineapple, and cosmetics and personal care products.
This investment within Ghana was meticulously orchestrated to elevate the competitive edge of the nation’s exports on the international market. The EU’s commitment to fostering export potential materialized over the course of three and a half years, as part of the collaborative West Africa Competitiveness Programme (WACOMP). This initiative, established through a partnership between the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the EU, stands as a resolute endeavor to fortify the competitiveness of West African merchandise. The program is also dedicated to further integrating ECOWAS member countries into regional and international trade networks, including the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
Launched in 2019, the program is scheduled for a four-year duration, culminating in January 2024. Timothy Dolan, the Team Lead for Trade and Microeconomics at the EU Delegation in Ghana, highlighted this significant undertaking during the WACOMP Ghana International Cluster Conference in Accra.
He elucidated that the project was conceived within the framework of the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) and allocated an impressive sum of €120 million. This funding spans across 16 nations, constituting a steadfast commitment to invigorate economic prowess within the region.
Dolan elaborated on the strategy behind the program’s implementation, which adheres to the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation’s (UNIDO) five Cs of competitiveness: compete, connect, conform, coordinate, and credit. This approach, encapsulated within the West Africa Competitiveness Programme, aims to propel industrial growth and sustainable economic progress across the West African landscape.
Stavros Papastavrou, the Officer in charge of Ghana and Liberia at UNIDO, praised the synergistic execution of the government, EU, and UNIDO. He applauded the program’s demonstrated effectiveness in fostering the contributions of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to the region’s economic development. Papastavrou emphasized the vitality of equitable markets, fair trade, and accessible finance for SMEs to flourish and bolster competitiveness.
Yaw Nimo, the Chief Director of the Ministry of Trade and Industry, affirmed the government’s commitment to rejuvenating the economy through transformative agriculture, trade, and industry. He lauded the quality delivery and collaboration demonstrated by UNIDO and the EU in tandem with the government’s initiatives to promote cluster development, industrial competitiveness, and economic integration.
The conference, a collaborative effort by UNIDO, the EU, and the Ministry, convened over 200 cluster and industrial experts, SMEs, and support institutions across Africa. Centered on the theme “Ghanaian Clusters, a Driving Force for the Economy,” the conference spotlighted successful outcomes and innovations in the cassava, cosmetics, and tropical fruits value chains. This exhibition of progress underscored the program’s pivotal role in invigorating the economic landscape.