The Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA), intends to make enrolment into its export school compulsory for all Ghanaian exporters and businesses in the non-traditional exports (NTEs) sector.
The school will also be open to entrepreneurs who desire to expand their businesses through exports.
In an interview at the ongoing Lagos International Trade Fair in Nigeria, the Chief Executive Officer of GEPA, Mrs Afua Asabea Asare, noted that the exporting community faced challenges when it came to exporting, especially into the European market, hence the need for a school to educate them on how to go by standards to make their products exportable.
She expressed worry about how some exporters send their products out only to encounter challenges, a situation which affected the reputation of GEPA as an organisation and the country as a whole.
“We are hoping that eventually it will be made compulsory so we don’t have that issue of people having their goods returned because they have issues. It affects the rest of the industry when one person does that,” she said.
Mrs Asare said it was necessary to organise capacity building programmes for the exporters so they would know international best practices that prevailed in those markets.
All these, she said, were aimed at ensuring that the sector met set targets and contributed to total exports from Ghana.
The export school
The Ghana Export School is set up to respond to international trade training needs to improve export competitiveness of Ghanaian companies.
The training programmes are usually organised for exporters, export facilitating institutions, some exporting companies and the media.
The export fundamental programme covers topics such as market research, standards, costing, pricing, trade negotiations and financing.
Other specialised courses focus on post-harvest losses; quality management; agricultural best practices; storage and transportation of products to the ports.
Ultimately, the school seeks to improve the management and marketing skills of the export communities and creating awareness of export marketing opportunities outside.
Authorities said through the instrumentality of the export school, most exporters were now aware of the requirements and demands in the international market.
The GEPA’s support services to the exporter community is through various services and not directly finance.
This includes market access and development (trade missions, contact promotion programmes and group marketing schemes). It has over the years facilitated more than 800 export companies and institutions to participate in different market promotion activities in the West African sub-region, United States of America, Middle East, Asia and the European Union.
Others are product development and supply base expansion for selected priority products, export trade information dissemination and communication support, export, human resource capacity.