The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) with support from the Swiss Government through the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) and Government of Ghana through the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MOTI) celebrate 10 years of joint cooperation towards improving trade facilitation .
The event, which marks ten years of support which UNIDO and SECO have given Ghana to ensure sustainable growth and development through its Trade Capacity Building (TCB) Programme, is expected to bring together donor partners, UN agencies, quality and certification agencies, supported SMEs, manufacturers and other stakeholders in Ghana.
The purpose of the one-day celebration event is to celebrate the remarkable achievements of the joint efforts and to highlight the wide results of the TCB Ghana programme in the development of a comprehensive quality infrastructure system in the country.
As part of the event, an exhibition of the new services and products developed by the project’s beneficiaries under the TCB Ghana programme and a photo exhibition depicting the work done with several institutions and companies by the programme was held.
In the afternoon, a special presentation was also given on the innovative application of blockchain technology for traceability to foster transparency along the value chain, from the farm to the consumers. The workshop will serve as a forward-looking tool to identify stakeholders for a blockchain pilot application in the cocoa sector.
For the past 10 years, UNIDO, SECO and MOTI’s cooperation helped Ghana lay the foundation for a national quality infrastructure policy, and to develop numerous standards for the wood, fish, cocoa and fruits industries.
National Institutions such as the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA), Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), CSIR – Forestry Research Institute (FORIG), CSIR – Soil Research Institute (CSIR-SRI), Forestry Commission – Timber Industry Development Division (TIDD), and COCOBOD – Quality Control Company (COCOBOD-QCC), increased capacity in various inspectorate and testing departments to institutionalise consumers’ protection and quality.
The programme also helped develop an export market hub for Ghana being hosted by the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA), built capacity at various testing and inspectorate divisions and supported several enterprises of the private sector to implement quality management standards and be certified to relevant schemes.
In an address on Swiss support to trade in Ghana, Swiss Ambassador to Ghana, His Excellency Markus Dutly, reiterated that: “Quality is an area of great commitment for SECO. Government of Switzerland’s support through the UNIDO TCB Programme for the past 10 years has made Ghanaian SMEs and the private sector become more competitive in international markets”.
“This celebration highlights the commitment of the government of Ghana and our implementing partner UNIDO,” he said.
“We believe that the more competitive broad-based private sector, the more prosperous of an economy Ghana will become,” he added.
UNIDO Representative to Ghana and Liberia, Mr Fakhruddin Azizi, affirmed that UNIDO will continue to support enterprises in their efforts to offer competitive, safe, reliable and cost-effective products in world markets.
“For us at UNIDO, enabling enterprises to manufacture products with high-export potential in the quantities and at the level of quality required by the markets is evidence of our commitment to improving market conformity to relevant international standards, buyer requirements, and technical requirements,” he said.
Mr. Juan Pablo Dávila, Project Manager to the TCB-Programme revealed that UNIDO and SECO have developed a programmatic approach to address sustainably the quality and standards compliance challenges in SECO priority countries.
Ghana, one of the countries receiving such support, “will witness the launch of the Global Quality Standards Programme (GQSP), together with the support of MOTI”.
By PRINCE BANKESE