Finance Minister, Seth Tekper, says Canada is willing to help Ghana establish an export-import bank commonly known as an EXIM bank that will help facilitate trade between Ghana and other developed countries.
Ghana has been relying on Canada and other developed nations for more than three decades for foreign aid but that stopped when the nation was declared middle income after its economy was rebased.
In a bid to re-strategize, Ghana is therefore partnering with its development partners to facilitate more trade and investment rather than relying on them for aid.
The Need to move from Aid
The country has decided to establish specific instruments that will enforce trade. One of such plans is the establishment of an EXIM bank.
“What we are doing now is to embark on export led growth where we implement policies that encourage more exports,” Finance minister Seth Tekper told Freelance journalist Eddie in an interview in Ottawa, Canada.
Ghana’s Parliament on March 2, 2016 passed the Ghana Import/Export Bank (EXIM) Bill into law. The bank when set up will be autonomous and will serve as the link between government and exporters by providing guarantee for export financing.
Terkper said the establishment of the EXIM bank will help in the quest to shift the economy from relying solely on cocoa, gold and oil. The prices of these three commodities have declined sharply in the last few years.
“We launched the Ghana EXIM bank to give a better boost to non-traditional exports,” he said.
Terkper added “It’s a strategy to encourage businesses to export from Ghana to advanced economies.”
Increasing Ghanaian Exports to Advanced Economies
The finance minister together with a team of Ghanaian experts were in Canada to hold talks with his Canadian counterpart Bill Morneau and the minister of trade and development. The team also held talks with Canada’s Export Development Corporation (EDC), which finances most Canadian exporters.
“The discussions have been fruitful because the Canadians have seen an institution we are trying to set up by ourselves that will generate foreign exchange for us,” Terkper said adding, “we’re moving from import dependency.”
Ghana’s High Commissioner to Canada Dr. Sulley Gariba said the establishment of the EXIM bank will benefit a lot of Ghanaian entrepreneurs in Canada who wish to do business back in Ghana.
“Many Ghanaian-Canadian businesses do not know about all the facilities they could gain access to and we at the high commission through our diaspora office will be willing to help them,” he said.
Gariba said the establishment of the EXIM bank will boost trade between both countries and Ghanaian-Canadians will be the biggest beneficiaries.
“The Export Development Corporation of Canada can invest in their businesses as Canadians and as members of the diaspora, they can rely on the EXIM bank so it’s a
win-win situation,” he said.
“We’re trying to diversify our economy because we depend so much on our primary commodities,” said Dr. John Baffoe technical advisor to the finance minister.
“The economy suffered when the prices of these commodities fell, we must move on to more diversified commodities rather than cocoa, gold and oil,” Baffoe added.
The EXIM bank is expected to be fully operational by the last quarter of the year.