Ghana’s non-traditional exports (NTEs) to the ECOWAS market increased by 12.8 percent in 2019, data from the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) have revealed.
In 2019 Ghana exported US$836.51m worth of NTEs to the ECOWAS market, consisting mainly of manufactured products. The earnings represented 28.9 percent of the country’s total NTE receipts.
NTE exports to the ECOWAS region recorded US$741.66m in 2018 and US$617.24m in 2017.
GEPA associated the rise in exports with the implementation of the ECOWAS protocol on originating industrial products, which allows products manufactured within the bloc to enjoy duty-free and quota-free access to the internal market.
The protocol, known as the ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme, has given a major boost to Ghana’s export of manufactured products to ECOWAS, the authority asserted.
As of 2019 there were about 625 manufacturing companies with more than 1,000 products registered under the scheme.
The ECOWAS market still has an untapped potential worth about US$518m for Ghanaian exporters to explore.
With a population of about 370 million and a GDP estimated at US$615bn, the ECOWAS market is the second-largest for Ghana’s NTEs, with Burkina Faso, Togo and Senegal as the top three destinations.
Exports to Burkina Faso recorded US$217.57m in 2019, to Togo US$199.59m, and to Senegal US$85.24m.
The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which will kick off in January 2021, is expected to boost intra-African trade, with leading economies like Ghana projected to realise net positive trade gains and improvements in welfare through the initiative.