Africa Business Communities

[Ghana] GEPA develops professional services directory

The Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) is developing a professional services directory for about 50 companies in the export of services to be used as a marketing tool in West Africa and beyond.

Mr Banda Zakari Abdallah, Head of Services, GEPA, said the directory would feature the profile of individuals, companies, services, e-mail and telephone numbers.

Speaking at a coaching programme for companies in the information technology and business processes outsourcing sector in Accra, Mr Abdallah said there was huge demand for services in the global market.

GEPA is partnering the Ghana-India Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence in ICT to coach information technology firms on export market dynamics.

He said the annual foreign exchange earnings from professional services export trade such as education, medical tourism and consultancy services was about five hundred per cent higher than the revenue accrued from the oil and gas industry.

In Ghana, it is estimated that professional services trade accounted for about US$2.5billion in 2013, just a marginal fraction of the world total services of US$4.64trillion but much higher than the net revenue of about $500 million that accrued from the oil and gas sector.

Mr Abdallah said the global demand was being fuelled by services, including transportation.

GEPA, he said, was focusing on four areas - medical tourism, education, business processing outsourcing and consultancy services - and the strategy was to enhance the competitiveness of Ghana through improving the export of those professional services over the next five years.

Mr Abdallah said the strategy to promote those sectors hinged on awareness-raising, identification and removal of constraints and sector specific promotion to achieve services export agenda.

He said while there was the potential for the service sector to become a vehicle for the country’s economic development, awareness creation at all levels was a challenge due to financial constraints.

He said there was the need to mainstream services exports into national trade programme to give it the needed impetus.

Mrs Agnes Gifty Adjei-Sam, Deputy Director of Trade Research and Information, GEPA, who spoke on the topic; “How to Export your Services Successfully,” urged the participants to ensure they established credibility in the eyes of their clients.

She said companies must know the needs of their clients and try to meet those through research.

They must also build partnerships which are often the best way for service firms to do business in most markets, since they could be effective ways to assemble capabilities and enhance the firm’s image and potential.

“Partnering may be a preferred approach if an individual or a firm is relatively new to the target market,” she said.

Mrs Adjei-Sam said export of service was being mainstreamed into national exports portfolio through activities such as awareness creation, strategy for the sector, and support with the formation of associations.

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