The European Union (EU) has invested €120 million to boost the competitiveness of exports on the international market from Ghana and other West African countries.
In Ghana, over GH¢100 million has been injected into three main value chains, namely cassava, mango, and pineapple, and cosmetics and personal care products.
The investment in Ghana was to improve the competitiveness of Ghanaian exports on the global market.
The investment, made in the last three and half years, was the EU’s contribution towards the West Africa Competitiveness Programme (WACOMP), a partnership initiative between ECOWAS and the EU.
The program seeks to strengthen the competitiveness of West African products and to enhance the integration of ECOWAS countries into the regional and international trading system, including the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
The program, which was launched in 2019 for a duration of four years, will end in January 2024.
The Team Lead in charge of Trade and Microeconomics of the EU Delegation in Ghana, Timothy Dolan, who made this known at the WACOMP Ghana International Cluster Conference in Accra, stated that the program was adopted under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) through its regional integration program for an amount of €120 million, covering 16 countries.
“The project is being implemented under UNIDO’s (United Nations Industrial Development Organisation) five Cs of competitiveness, namely compete, connect, conform, coordinate, and credit, through the West Africa Competitiveness Programme,” Mr Dolan said.
The Officer in charge of Ghana and Liberia at UNIDO, Stavros Papastavrou, praised the joint implementation effort of the government, EU and UNIDO.
“What WACOMP-Ghana has done is to prove that small and medium enterprises (SMEs) do not need much to contribute to the economic growth of West Africa.
“SMEs need fair markets, fair trade, and access to finance on fair conditions to grow and become competitive. I am particularly happy for the Ghanaian government and the EU for successfully implementing the UNIDO Cluster Development Methodology in the cassava, cosmetics, and tropical fruits value chains,” he said.
The Chief Director of the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Yaw Nimo, representing the sector minister, said the government had prioritized key sectors reflecting the country’s commitment to restoring the economy on an irreversible growth path through transformative agriculture, trade, and industry.
He commended UNIDO and the EU for the quality delivery and coordination they had demonstrated over the years working with the government to promote cluster development, industrial competitiveness, and economic integration.
He underlined the cooperation with the ministry and the support of the government’s “10-Point Industrial Transformational Agenda”.
The conference meant to strengthen business clusters across the ECOWAS region and the use of cluster development methodology for integration, was attended by over 200 cluster experts, industrial experts, SMEs, and support institutions across Africa.
It was organized by UNIDO, the EU, and the ministry on the theme: “Ghanaian clusters, a driving force for the economy”.