From Local to Continental: Equipping Ghanaian SMEs in Horticulture and Cocoa for African Markets


Trade in Africa presents vast opportunities. To support SME’s in Ghana in navigating this African trade landscape, last week the training “Exporting to African Markets” took place in the project “Upgrading business competences among SME entrepreneurs in Ghana’s horticultural and cocoa products value chains”.

Led by Dode Seidu of the Africa Trade Academy, the Exporting to African Markets 4-day training introduced participants to exporting as a way to engage in international businesses. The module presented the rationale for considering exports as a business growth strategy to address the risk of operating in limited markets. Participants were furthermore taken through frequent mistakes of exporters and how to overcome these challenges as well as the business model canvas for exporting businesses.

Navigating Africa’s trade landscape
Africa's integration is a slow but steady journey. The continent is divided into regional blocs, each with its own trade rules. Understanding these regional rules is a stepping stone to success in the larger African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). The AfCFTA aims to boost trade across these blocs. Its rules are new and require mastering for businesses to benefit. Despite challenges, Africa presents vast opportunities. Its growing population offers a market businesses shouldn't miss.

The AfCFTA is just starting (as a free trade area). By understanding its rules and tools, particularly market access, tariffs, and customs processes, small and medium businesses (SMEs) can gain a first-mover advantage. This knowledge will be crucial for utilizing the AfCFTA effectively and was emphasized on during the training week.

An interactive teaching mix
The course was a combination of theory, discussion and individual assignments on how the participants can navigate their own companies best in the African trading field. The SME’s participating in this training are active in the horticultural and cocoa where they focus on among others making chocolate, producing vegetables and revolutionizing farming.

Also, individual coaching sessions were part of the course offering, which gave participants the opportunity to get more in detail regarding the needs of their business.

Up next
The Exporting to African Markets was the third module that followed upon the modules of Agribusiness Marketing and Value chain Analysis for Strategy. The fourth module will take place in July and focuses on upgrading and exporting to Europe.

This Tailor-Made-Training is a joint initiative by four organizations: the Ghana Netherlands Business and Culture Council (GNBCC), the Cocoa Value Addition Artisans Association of Ghana (COVAAAGH), The Africa Trade Academy (ATA) and Maastricht School of Management (MSM). The trainers are from MSM and the ATA in Ghana.

Photo: GNBCC

Orange Knowledge Programme
This Tailor-Made-Training is part of the Orange Knowledge Programme (OKP) which is funded by the Netherlands’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and managed by Nuffic. For more information click here.

MSM's Expert Centre on Emerging Economies

This project is part of MSM's Expert Centre on Emerging Economies. The department is an expert centre on local economic development in emerging and developing markets.‚Äč We capacitate managers and professionals from government, private sector, NGOs, and post-secondary education in Africa, Asia, Middle East, and Latin America. We offer consultancy and customized training programs, and we manage complex projects in key sectors, e.g. water, agriculture and health. For more information click here.

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