Indigenous businesses urged to look beyond local markets as INDUTECH Fair 2018 opens in Kumasi
Indigenous businesses have been tasked to reposition themselves to take advantage of emerging market opportunities, with the coming of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).
The Chief Executive of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), Seth Twum-Akwaboah, said the biggest threat to local industries is competition, but reckoned that it is something businesses should be prepared to face.
This is owing to the country’s plans to join one of the single largest markets of the AfCFTA, which among others, he said, presents both opportunities and threats – and has serious implications for the growth of companies.
He explained that in all this integration, there will be winners and losers, but it will depend on how local businesses put measures in place, produce in large quantities at competitive price, and export to other countries among others.
However, he asserted that those who might lose will be businesses which “wait for their markets to become saturated with goods from other countries without looking at areas where they have comparative advantage to produce and supply”.
The Chief Executive of AGI, who was speaking on behalf of the AGI President, Dr. Yaw Adu-Gyamfi, at the opening of Industrial and Technology (INDUTECH) 2018 Fair in Kumasi, said growth of the manufacturing sector has not been encouraging over the past few years.
For instance, he said, the sector’s contribution to GDP in 2017 was estimated at 4.2 percent; “which is below the 22 percent average in middle income countries.”
He reiterated that there must be a clear national strategy to revamp the manufacturing sector. It is in this regard that he said the AGI has embraced government’s ‘One District One Factory’ initiative, stimulus package, and other initiatives to support the industrial sector.
But notwithstanding the progress made so far, he opined that government should make adequate provision in next year’s budget to support these initiatives.
Mr. Twum-Akwaboah used the occasion to encourage participating businesses in the INDUTECH 2018 Fair to capitalize on the platform to showcase what they can offer to consumers, while also networking among themselves.
The Ashanti Regional Minister, Simon Osei Mensah also speaking at the ceremony, noted that the issues of hunger, poverty, economic malaise, stunted growth, crime, and unemployment can all be effectively reduced with thriving and lucrative local enterprises and industries.
He said the country cannot afford to be left behind in the competitive global market, adding that benefits of local industries dominating the international market are enormous.
To this end, he said: “We must do our best to reach there”. He said the networking, branding, research, surveillance, negotiations, order-taking and the general training that will be acquired at the Fair will help propel industries to achieve a global presence.
The five-day Fair, which is being held under the theme ‘Accelerating Industrial Growth in Ghana, Exhibiting What We Have’, he said provides a unique and great opportunity for our local industrial players – to not only advertise their products but also, importantly, learn new and innovative ways to increase both the production and quality of their products.
The Chairperson of AGI Ashanti and Brong Ahafo, Mrs. Gyamfua Owusu-Akyaw, said the Fair, since its inception, has been instrumental in the development and promotion of made in Ghana products, locally and internationally.
She said given the potential of the local markets – Ashanti having the biggest open market in West Africa and BA with the largest SME farms – existing and prospective investors should take advantage of the Fair to establish and grow their businesses for effective competition in the sub-regional market.
This year’s Fair, which also coincides with the AGI’s 60th Anniversary, was organised with support from the Ministry of Trade, KNUST Business School and Christian Service University College in Kumasi.