The Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) has partnered two international bodies to equip exporters and companies in the export trade business with the relevant skills to face emerging challenges.
The authority collaborated with the Institute of Export and International Trade (IOE) and the International Trade Centre (ITC) to launch a one-year online diploma programme in export trade aimed at building the requisite human resource for the sector.
The programme was launched yesterday as part of efforts by the export trade facilitation and promotion body to prepare businesses to take advantage of the opportunities under the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
It is also meant to strengthen them in the face of risks emerging from the Covid-19 pandemic.
At the launch in Accra, the Chief Executive Officer of GEPA, Dr Afua Asabea Asare, said it was only by empowering Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to be globally competitive that we could talk about building their productive capacity to integrate global value chains and take advantage of trade opportunities externally.
“One of the ways we can do this is to encourage participants to sign up for this one-year modular programme. Advances in globalisation and international trade mean career prospects in the industry are both lucrative and abundant,” she said.
According to her, the speed at which Covid-19 spread around the world was a reminder of the risks associated with the deepening process of globalisation.
“The up-side is that there is a growing demand for persons who understand the management and operational requirements necessary to trade successfully in international markets with an ability to identify business opportunities,” she stated.
Dr Asare added that the launch of the Diploma in International Trade would serve as one of the many building blocks in the third pillar of Ghana’s National Export Development Strategy (NEDS), which sought to have a substantial number of trained men and women actively engaged in businesses in the industrial export product and services value chains countrywide.
The Course Coordinator and Deputy CEO of GEPA in charge of Human Resource, Mr Albert Kasim Diwura, said the one-year online Diploma in International Trade modular course would provide participants with a wealth of opportunities to understand how to trade internationally; how to develop the capability to manage, formulate strategic options and define business winning plans in an international trade environment.
He said a pilot programme for the same course which was in two folds, with the first being theory, had seen 21 out of 25 participants complete the programme.
“Now GEPA seeks to take the students through the practical aspects of export and we intend doing that under the ‘Students Support from GEPA’. We want to re-engage our sector experts to give the students tutorials depending on the module when needed,” he said.
He explained that study tours to some manufacturing firms would also be organised to enable them to have first-hand experience of the entire production value chain.
Ultimately, the professional qualification in International Trade is designed to help individuals progress as international trade professionals.
The Executive Director of the ITC, Ms Pamela Coke-Hamilton, gave an assurance of the ITC’s commitment to help Ghana diversify its Non-Traditional Exports (NTEs), that is the selection of Ghana as the first country in Africa for the programme.
“Continuous education and skills development are two core pillars of any country’s policy that seek to drive future development. Human capital is the biggest asset of any country. We want to help the youth and young professionals build on their fundamental export skills,” he said.