The Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) has expressed its readiness to work with Ghanaian universities to position education as a veritable export offer in the non-traditional export basket.
The Ghana High Commissioner to Nigeria, His Excellency Rashid Bawa, stated this at the first GEPA Students’ Recruitment Fair, organised in Lagos, in collaboration with 16 universities in Ghana and with the support of Access Bank.
Bawa, who was represented by the Consul General of Ghana in Lagos, Hajia Samata Bukari, said Ghanaian tertiary institutions have established and distinguished themselves as centres of quality education and learning, attracting students from all over the world, with particular reference to African students.
“With a foreign student population of over 5,000 in our tertiary institutions, Ghana is well positioned to become the Mecca for students from Africa, the Caribbean and many parts of the world,” he said.
Bawa added that the advent of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) opens up opportunities for the country to extend its reach beyond its traditional markets.
“Accessing this new frontier would require concerted efforts by all players in education. However, I must be quick to add that we can only get to that desired level if we streamline our processes properly, especially the cost structure of our fees, accommodation and other tenets of customer service.”
He said the fair falls in line with the strategic foreign policy of Ghana, which among others enjoins Ghana diplomatic missions abroad to: Promote tertiary and secondary institutions in host countries; host educational conferences, fairs, and seminars in host countries; liaise with Ghanaian educational institutions to facilitate the admission of foreign students.
Others are to collaborate with the Ministry of Education, Ghana Education Service and tertiary and secondary cycle schools in Ghana; assist in securing employment for English and science and maths teachers in other countries who will return after a period; and encourage Ghanaian professionals in the diaspora to come back home and support the education system, particularly in areas of science and technology.
In his remarks, the Deputy CEO of GEPA, Albert Diwura, stated that the recruitment fair also strategically aligns with and cascades into the broader framework of the National Export Development Strategy (NEDS). which recognises trade in services as one of the 17 priority sectors for tailored intervention by GEPA and other stakeholders in export trade.
He noted that non-traditional export currently contributes about USD 3.33 billion to the total merchandise exports of Ghana, with a projected increased earnings in 2022. “The NEDS, which hinges on three strategic pillars, projects earnings of USD 25.3 billion by 2029. GEPA is currently implementing the NEDS, with an ongoing district implementation agenda,” he said.
The two-day fair attracted prospective undergraduate and postgraduate students who got on the spot information on how to gain admission into the institutions.