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Ghana: Independent certification key to accessing marketsTuesday, March 31, 2015 > 09:30:53
The Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) is calling on manufacturers, especially export-oriented agro- and food processing firms, to voluntarily avail their operations to independent certification and standardisation of processes and systems to give them a competitive edge in the global market.
The Director of the Inspectorate Division of the GSA, Mr Eugene Adarkwa-Addae, who made the call, said third party assessments gave credibility to products and could offer an advantage to manufacturers who wished to access retail markets and shopping malls or export their wares.
At a business forum organised by the Ghanaian-German Economic Association (GGEA), Mr Adarkwa-Addae said the new era of independent certification, which the GSA had capacity to assist manufacturers and exporters with, gave confidence to products, services and processes.
“The business operator is responsible for the quality and safety of products, while the government must provide the enabling environment for businesses to achieve certification,” he said, adding, “Quantity and price are negotiable, but quality and safety are not.” Ghana, Germany businesses
The Deputy German Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Bernard Abels, who represented the German Embassy, said the forum, dedicated to how businesses in Ghana could navigate their way into doing business in Germany or with German enterprises, was timely because it came at a time when Ghana was facing economic challenges, and thus created opportunities.
“Germany has a lot to offer, not only the big names, but also the small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs),” he said, noting that the country had produced a lot of enterprises, including over 1,250 companies which were all world market leaders in their fields.
Mr Abels said when it came to power challenges, which Ghana and other countries across the world were faced with, Germany was doing well on that front, having installed renewable energy capacity which is able to contribute 25 per cent to their grid and about 50 per cent in summer when the sunlight was plentiful.
“This shows how much Germany can offer when it co-operates with Ghana in many fronts,” he said.
A representative of German Trade and Invest, Mr Carsten Ehlers, briefed the gathering on how his office assisted German businesses with information on Ghana and other West African countries and helped foreign investors to access the Ghana office and market. Finance from Germany
The forum was laced with an anecdotal testimony by Mr Isaac Mensah-Bonsu, the Director of Operations of Hippo Group of Companies, who recounted how one such forum organised by GGEA paved the way for his company to secure a credit line from Germany to procure trucks to set up a haulage subsidiary, which now has a fleet of 130 M.A.N Diesel trucks.
Hippo’s association with the German truck manufacturer was also firmed up during a trade fair in Hannover, Hannover Messe, which yielded a large credit line from Lenz Finance.
GGEA is one of two local representatives of Lenz Finance, which grants a minimum of one million euros up to any amount at 10 per cent interest rate to local companies which procure their supplies or products from Germany.
The President of the GGEA, Mr Stephen Antwi, urged local firms which intended to access the European Union market to take trade fairs and missions to Germany, EU’s biggest economy, seriously.
“Doing business with EU’s biggest economy is important to every business person. But Ghanaian businesses do not know how to access it and this is why we have organised this forum,” Mr Antwi stated.
Mr Antwi expressed the hope that the forum would help Ghanaian businesses to engage German businesses better and hence access the German and EU market more.