In line with its five-year strategic objectives (2017 to 2022), the Ghana Exim Bank says it is focused on diversifying the Non-Traditional Export (NTE) sector in a bid to increase export revenue, create employment and add value.
Chief Executive Officer Exim Bank, Lawrence Agyinsam, made this known when he paid a five-day business visit to the Northern and Upper East regions from June 11 to June 15, 2018.
The visit offered the Chief Executive Officer and his team the opportunity to inspect projects financed by the Export Trade, Agriculture and Industrial Development Fund (EDAIF) between 2000 and 2016 in the Northern part of Ghana.
The projects include shea butter, mango and basket weaving enterprises.
The Chief Executive indicated that because shea nut is a natural endowment of northern part Ghana, the Bank would soon launch the â€˜â€™Shea Empowerment Initiativeâ€™â€™ to build the capacity of processors, empower aggregators who are mostly women and also finance the entire value chain.
An amount of GHS10 million has been earmarked for Phase One of this initiative.
This would embody the construction of four shea processing centres, training of 900 aggregators and 300 processors.
A portion of the funds would also be used to support the operations of cosmetics manufacturers who use shea nut as the main raw material for export production.
The commodity is one of Ghanaâ€™s ten leading NTEs by way of revenue with proceeds amounting to $33 million and $19 million respectively for 2015 and 2016 according to the 2017 Ghana Export Promotion Authority report.
This value addition to the shea nuts is expected to increase significantly when the nuts are processed before export.
This initiative and subsequent ones would continue the efforts of EDAIF which from 2000 to 2015 supported shea cultivation, processing and export.
Mango is one of the top ten leading agriculture export products in the country with total revenues of $7.6 million and $11.5 million in 2015 and 2016 respectively.
EDAIF has between 2000 and 2015 approved a minimum of GHS 35 million to support the cultivation of 10,100 acres of the fruit in the Greater Accra, Brong-Ahafo, Volta, Upper East and Northern regions.
The Bank continues to support the cultivation, processing and export of mangos to Europe and the Middle East.
The holistic approach is to finance the setting up of processing factories in the Northern, Brong Ahafo and Greater Accra regions to off-take, process and export the processed mangos.
Currently, these commercial farmers are being supported to maintain the farms and to harvest expected yield.
Further, the Bank would continue to engage the services of Technical Consultants to build the capacities of farmers with best agronomic practices.
As part of the working tour, the Chief Executive Officer and his team also inspected 12 basket weaving centres in Bolgatanga, Upper East Region.
These centres in the past, with the support of EDAIF, provided employment for about 600 women and integrated them in the export value chain.
The Chief Executive Officer indicated that the Bank would consider supporting these women and new entrants to acquire skills for production to meet the requirements of prospective off-takers.
Funds would also be availed to these off-takers for them to acquire the baskets in large quantities for export.
A key feature of the teamâ€™s visit was an SME Workshop held at the Modern City Hotel, Tamale, to educate and engage prospective entrepreneurs in their various endeavours.
At the workshop, the Chief Executive Officer discussed the Governmentâ€™s flagship One District One Factory (1D1F) Initiative to enable participants make an informed choices upon the various options on this initiative.
The workshop among others, explained the requirements for accessing facilities from the Bank under the 1D1F Programme.
The Bankâ€™s products and services were also discussed extensively to give prospective customers an idea of the operations of the Bank.
The team further paid a courtesy call on the Deputy Northern Regional Minister, the Yaa Naa Regent of Dagbon at Yendi and the Chief of Walewale where issues concerning new projects of strategic benefits to the respective regions and economy were discussed.