World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 

West African Companies Gain Export Markets


By Kathryn McConnell
USINFO Staff Writer

West African Companies Gain Export Markets with U.S. Assistance

Ghanaian crafters of wooden furniture and other home accessories wanted to increase sales so they could expand their small businesses.

But they lacked the business know-how and funds to do that.

Now, with help from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) West African Trade Hub (WATH) -- a competitiveness assistance center -- Ghana-based Premium Ex-Im Company is getting its products into thousands of homes in the United States by selling to the major U.S. retailers Target and Cost Plus World Market.

WATH taught Premium's owners how to style products for export markets, and ways to improve their operational efficiency.

Kweku Forson, one of Premium's founders, said the trade hub helped his managers learn how to fill the larger orders the business received as it expanded.

"WATH brought in technical assistance for us in design and production and in finance. With that assistance, we were able to complete 100 percent of [a large Target order] on time," Forson said.

The assistance center also helps producers exhibit at trade fairs and encourages them to contact it for information about businesses with which they may want to link.

The center also helped another Premium founder, Robert Ellis, learn how to serve as an export agent for other producers.

"For the first time in Ghana, producers can show their wares to international buyers at no cost during buyer visits. This is free international advertisement for them [producers], and their production is growing," Ellis said.

Individual producers and their families also benefited from the trade hub’s assistance.

"It used to be that artisans would work for a few days and then have to go search for more work. Now, with increased exports and regular orders, there is more job stability," Ellis said.

Job-creation has helped reduce local tensions, according to Forson.

"When people have no work to do they are more likely to cause problems in the community, and that has decreased," he said.

From two sites -- Accra, Ghana, and Dakar, Senegal -- the West African hub helps businesses in 21 countries take better advantage of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). It is one of three USAID trade hubs in Africa.

AGOA provides U.S. trade preferences to sub-Saharan countries that are making progress in economic, legal and human rights reforms.

"Going from local to global sales is a whole-scale change in product offering, target market[ing] and production and quality requirements," said Vanessa Adams, WATH business development director.

Nora Bannerman of the Ghana company Sleek Garments said the trade hub has help her solve a variety of problems experienced by small businesses wanting to export, in areas such as in marketing, negotiating prices and packaging products to meet international standards.

"I see that WATH assistance is a total package," providing trade show sponsorship and information about international standards, skills in price negotiation and buying quality production materials, Bannerman said.

"Handicrafts is a huge, international market. If we can grow and gain a larger part of the market, other Ghanaian companies will see how to do it too," Forson said.

The trade hub also provides training for people in business and government in customs documentation, and AGOA visa and product certification requirements.

ENDS

(USINFO is produced by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 


UN: With Region ‘at A Crossroads’, Palestinian President Calls On UN’s Guterres To Convene International Peace Conference
The President of the State of Palestine Mahmoud Abbas on Friday called on the UN Secretary-General to convene an international peace conference and said that to ensure that this initiative is not open-ended, Israel must withdraw from the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem within one year...More>>

Myanmar: Human Rights ‘Catastrophe’; UN Calls For Urgent Action

Urgent action is needed to prevent the situation in Myanmar from escalating into a “full-blown conflict”, the UNHigh Commissioner for Human RightsMichelle Bachelet warned on Thursday. Ms. Bachelet’s alert came in a new report from her office OHCHR...
More>>



Afghanistan: Healthcare System On Brink Of Collapse, As Hunger Hits 95 Per Cent Of Families

Afghanistan’s health system is on the brink of collapse, the head of the World Health Organisation, WHO, warned on Wednesday, while on the streets of Kabul, the hunger families are suffering is as acute in urban areas as the drought-stricken rural parts of the country... More>>


Focus On: UN SDGs

UN: Global Leaders Set To Act To Increase Energy Access While Reducing Emissions At First UN Energy Summit In 40 Years

Significant new commitments for financing clean energy, increasing renewables and improving access to electricity are expected to be announced on 24 September at the UN High-level Dialogue on Energy... More>>

UN: More Than 130 Countries Expected To Announce National Commitments At UN Food Systems Summit
The Heads of State and Government from more than 90 countries are expected to announce their commitments to transform food systems to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals at the historic UN Food Systems Summit next week... More>>

UN: Only 2% Of Covid-19 Vaccines Have Been Administered In Africa

More than 5.7 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered globally, but only 2% of them in Africa, said World Health Organization (WHO) chief, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Tuesday... More>>