A day’s dissemination and policy workshop was held on Tuesday, 21st May, 2019 to discuss the results and implications of a recent study by the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER), University of Ghana and the Kiel Centre for Globalization, Kiel, Germany. It was to present the results of the study and elicit responses from experts. In attendance were officials from the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ghana Investment Promotion Council (GIPC), private sector players, representatives from SMEs, industry and manufacturing companies, key associations like the Private Enterprise Federation (PEF), the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) and civil society groups. The study was on “Can trade foster development? Firm-level evidence for SMEs in Ghana”. The venue was the Swiss Spirit Hotel and Suites Alisa in Accra.

Welcoming participants, Dr. Charles Ackah, Senior Research Fellow at ISSER and co-investigator of the study traced its antecedent to the fact that free and fair trade can contribute significantly to economic development and poverty reduction in developing and emerging economies. He noted that the study provides new evidence on the benefits of exporting and importing among small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) in the Ghanaian manufacturing sector. He hoped for a fruitful engagement to enrich the outcome and for policy makers to take on board recommendations of the study.

A co-investigator of the study, Prof Holger Gorg from the Kiel Centre for Globalization, presented the findings of the study. Touching on policy implications of the study, he stated that promoting exporting activity among manufacturing SMEs can be a route for fostering development through providing additional employment opportunities and increased wages. He stressed the need for further investigations to find out why Ghanaian SMEs cannot benefit from importing.

On gender, Prof Gorg pointed out that policies pursuing gender equality should consider giving targeted support to female entrepreneurs whose businesses have export potential. The study recommended to policy makers to invest more in data collection to facilitate quality empirical research on Ghana.

The research was conducted on behalf of the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and supported by GZI GmbH.

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