The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) says it is working on establishing a new country development corporation strategy for Ghana.
The move, said USAID has become necessary due to the government’s policy direction on Ghana beyond aid, planting for food and jobs among others.
Addressing a gathering at the USAID Trade Africa Sharing and Learning programme in Accra, Deputy Mission Director of USAID Ghana, Steven E. Hendrix said: “We are looking forward to establishing a new country development corporation strategy for a five year period with Ghana to use Ghana Beyond Aid to encourage self-reliance and promote investments in health, agriculture, education, power generation and so forth.”
“The people of America provide these investments to the Ghanaian people because we have a long and deep friendship between us,” Mr Hendrix added.
Ghana’s Deputy Minister for Trades Carlos Ahenkorah on his part said they have realized the need for more collaboration with donor partners in the drafting of economic support programmes. The Government of Ghana is preparing to roll out a roadmap for moving Ghana beyond aid. The West African nation is hopeful that the initiative will help it wean itself totally from donor support. “What we are saying is that we would appreciate it if the USAID and other donor partners take on the Ghana project not their project” Carlos Ahenkorah told journalists. “For instance, can the USAID handle a Ghana project for Ghana?” he asked. The program was organized under the theme; Enhancing Ghana’s Trade Competitiveness: Lessons from the Trade Africa Partnership.
Overview of Trade Africa
Trade Africa is an initiative of the United States Government announced in July 2013 by President Obama to strengthen the U.S. relationship with Africa in order to significantly expand U.S.–African private and public sector collaboration to increase trade with and within Africa. In 2013, the Trade Africa countries were Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda and in 2015, Trade Africa was expanded to include Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Mozambique, Senegal, and Zambia. Trade Africa targets key barriers to trade and investment and promotes regional integration and trade competitiveness, specifically aiming to increase intra-regional African trade and exports to the United States and reducing the time it takes to import or export from ports to land-locked interiors on the continent.
Trade Africa has four main components:
–Implementation of World Trade Organization’s Trade (WTO) Facilitation Agreement by working to reduce red tape and unnecessary formalities at border crossings to streamline border transit processes and reduce average transit times for goods.
–Implementation of WTO Agreement on Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary Measures to enhance Food Safety, Plant and Animal Health by engaging U.S. technological expertise to help Ghanaian exporters meet international safety and quality standards related to food safety and animal and plant health standards.
–Implementation of WTO Agreement on Technical Barrier to Trade (TBT): Trade standards, regulations, testing and certifications are part of the WTO Agreement on TBT. The U.S. will work closely with Ghanaian institutions to provide targeted training in this area, and to ensure that harmonized international standards are fully adopted.
–Implementation of Policies and Programmes to Facilitate Trade, Investment and Regional Integration: support Ghana and ECOWAS to advance regional integration, through bilateral and regional trade facilitation.
Trade Africa Activities in Ghana
–WTO Facilitation Agreement: Trade Africa is working with Ghana’s National Trade Facilitation Committee, Border Agencies, private sector and other donors to implement articles of the Trade Facilitation Agreement. Specifically, Trade Africa is supporting Ghana to strengthen its National Enquiry Point for import, export and transit information as well as help the country to be up-to-date on Notifications of its trade measures to the WTO. Other relevant support include strengthening
Risk Management, Post-Clearance Audits, and Border and Custom Cooperation.
–WTO Agreement on Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary (SPS) Measures: Trade Africa is implementing the Improving Food Safety Systems Program (IFSSP) in Ghana to improve access to markets for farmers by strengthening SPS compliance systems for Ghanaian fruits and vegetables. IFSSP will establish traceability systems to improve confidence in Ghanaian exports, increase trade, and thereby incentivize farmers to adopt good agricultural practices to produce food that meets SPS
Standards. IFSSP will deploy 60 volunteers who will provide technical assistance to at least 300 Ghanaian specialists and policymakers to implement product traceability systems.
–WTO Agreement on Technical Barrier to Trade: Trade Africa is providing capacity development to Ghana’s Standard Authority, particularly with regard to strengthening the National Enquiry Point on TBT, and the Ministry of Trade Industry (MOTI) and other stakeholder institutions to meet the information and transparency requirements of the WTO TBT Agreement. Often, it is difficult for manufacturers and producers to obtain information about the technical requirements their products must meet to be sold in other countries. A National Enquiry Point responds to requests for information on technical regulations from WTO members on technical standards, regulations and conformity assessment procedures in effect in their countries.
–Policies and Programmes to Facilitate Trade, Investment and Regional Integration: The support of this component includes:
- National AGOA Strategy: Assisting MOTI to develop a national strategy that will help maximize the benefits of the African Growth Opportunities Act (AGOA) which provides duty free and quota free access for export products from Ghana and other African countries to the U.S.
- Ghana International Trade Commission (GITC): the establishment of the GITC is to have a well-resourced, neutral, and independent decision-making agency that can provide opportunity for speedy and effective redress for affected domestic industries, exporters, importers, and consumers where unfair trade practices or even fair trade practices resulting from trade liberalization have hurt these parties.
- American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM) Ghana: providing support to the AMCHAM to help attract US foreign direct investment, leverage on AGOA as well as strengthen their advocacy work for an enabling business environment in Ghana.