Chief Executive Office of the Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industries (GNCCI), Mark Badu Aboagye, has bemoaned the plight and challenges of women in their bid to export goods outside the country.
Speaking at a Trade Facilitation West Africa Validation workshop organised by GNCCI, he questioned stakeholders present whether they have been able to “provide support services” to women in such situations.
Mr Aboagye explained that the shared experiences and challenges of women will also help the Chamber to “assist” them and “small scale traders”.
“The objectives of this validation are to strengthen the capacity of business associations. In fact, in most of the trade facilitation in West Africa that probably we might have heard, the training goes to those who are involved in the trading. This particular one is very unique in the sense that we want to build the capacity of business associations for a sustainable support to women traders in Ghana”.Mr Mark Badu Aboagye
Challenges of women in intra border trade
The GNCCI boss indicated that the Chamber has realized that there are a number of challenges that traders go through across the borders. The first, he noted, has to do with “informalization of large proportion transactions”.
Following this, Mr Aboagye emphasized on the high “transaction cost of moving goods” across borders which he described as a bigger challenge.
“After the ECOWAS Trade Liberalization Scheme (ETLS), the purpose of it was to ensure free movement of goods and people. But what is on the ground is totally different from what is in the books. That is why we are gathered here also for the women to share their experiences with us. In fact, research actually indicate that cross border trading actually has a lot of women, about seventy to eighty percent involved in cross border trading”.Mr Mark Badu Aboagye
Highlighting on what the Chamber has done to help address issues of intra border trade, Mr Aboagye explained that in collaboration with institutions such as World Bank, they have gathered data to understand what they need to “provide support services” to women and cross border traders.
On his part, Deputy Director and Head of Trade Facilitation at the Trade Ministry, Mr Kyeremeh, expressed plans by government to resolve the challenges incurred by traders with a new trade facilitation desk. He also hinted on a special dispensation for Ghanaian women traders.
“After signing the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement, there was a requirement that we set up what we call the national trade committee. We meet every now and then to discuss issues and policies that affect trade facilitation. Now, what we are doing is to set up a gender subcommittee… to look at gender specific issues”.Mr Kyeremeh
Mr Kyermeh indicated that other things that government was considering to help women trade includes the joint border post initiative.
“I am happy to tell you that we are championing the cause of working around the clock to ensure that the joint borders between Ghana and Togo becomes operational. Although we know it’s very operational there are other challenges, so that it will serve the transit trade corridor…”Mr Kyeremeh