The Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA), Albert Kassim Diwura, has urged young exporters and start-ups to collaborate and build good partnerships to access the single continental market.
Speaking at an interactive capacity-building session for owners of small-sized export enterprises, dubbed “Time with Seasoned Exporters”, in Accra, he said the continental market would be too tough to penetrate for such businesses without the right collaborations and linkages.
“AfCFTA is a huge market and, therefore, it’s not about competing against each other; it’s rather about collaborations. You cannot fit in the market alone. So, instead of competing with somebody, you must team up with local competitors to produce large volumes of your products to feed the market,” he advised.
“Time with Seasoned Exporters” is a coaching-styled platform that convenes start-ups or small-sized export enterprises to learn from the experiences and success stories of larger exporters.
A significant number of young exporters engaged in the production and trading of non-traditional export items were taken through the technicalities of the export business and how they could build the right linkages and competence to expand their market access.
“We believe that our [GEPA] capacity-building activities should not always be theory; we need quite seasoned exporters in the business to tell us their practical experience. This mentorship or coaching session is a rare pillar of one of the main functions of the authority, which is capacity building,” Mr. Diwura said.
His advice was buttressed by one of the facilitators, Francesca Brenda Opoku, Chief Executive Officer of Solutions Oasis Limited, who schooled the participants on the need for partnerships.
“As an exporter, you cannot get all the information you’ll need to enter every market; for instance, you need a partner that will survey the destination market to inform you to make the right decisions,” she shared.
She added: “If you want to go into Zimbabwe, you [must] find somebody in Zimbabwe who can do that. He’ll eat into your margins, but he’ll give you consistency; and also, don’t forget that gives you the presence that forms part of the branding for your product.”
Another facilitator, Dr. Felix Kamasah, President of Vegetables Producers and Exporters Association of Ghana (VEPEAG), said it was important for exporters to understand their business and the market they want to sell to, so they can acquire the relevant global certifications.