E. A. Countries should consider award programs for locally made products. Lesson from Ghana


Buy-Local-Slider-Graphic

The government of Ghana come up with a bright  life changing idea for her citizens. The entrepreneur Foundation of Ghana (EFG), under the authority of the of  Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ministry of Finance and the Ghana Standards Authority decided to appreciate local manufactures by awarding them with a “made in Ghana award”.  The Ghana-Made Products Awards, as it is officially known,  is a new program that saw some 30 outstanding  products receive nominations and final awards given to winners on October  26th 2013. Ghanaian company, Gihoc Distilleries Limited, was named Ghana Made Product of the Year 2013.

According to the Founder and President of EFG, Mr Sam Ato Gaisie, the award aims at celebrating successful Ghanaian indigenous products from small and medium industries by exposing them to Ghanaians throughout the country. “This is aimed at promoting and creating awareness and building product loyalty to meet the challenges of domestic and international markets” he said.

There is no better reason than  for the East African Community  to copy this idea. For East Africa to prosper, there has to be a way to reduce imports for products that can easily be available at home through local manufacturing . One way to do this is to encourage  investments in local manufacturing with proper funding available to back it up and then form recognition programs such as one created by Ghana. .

The government of Kenya already has a funding program named the  Uwezo fund. It is a program aimed at providing assistance to Youth and Women for local enterprises. Now, i hope, the minister for devolution, Ms. Anne Waiguru, can organize an achievement and recognition program  that showcases the various developments under this fund.  This would  create a competitive environment for growth among the youth and women receiving assistance.

Other ideas would be to create a “buy- local -day” where citizens  are encouraged to shop for locally made products such as clothing, art, ceramics, sugar etc. If this is created, there will be a rise in demand for locally made products which in turn would have a positive economic domino effect that will see many people working hard through out the year to make  products  available for sale on “buy-local-day“.  This type of program would work well in county governments with open markets available to neighboring counties. The aim  is to reduce unemployment, reduce imports  and improve the lives of citizens.

Working together to improve the lives of the citizens should be the goal of every elected official. It is not always about what they can gain for themselves but about leaving a life changing legacy  that will  follow them even after they are gone. It is my hope that East Africa will shine and become less dependent on foreigners for her development.

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Categories: Africa, Business, Opinion, Politics

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