The Ghana Export Promotion Authority says its initiative to honor women in manufacturing and exports will sustain gains made in the Authority’s Non Traditional Exports Strategy.

The authority is on a nationwide tour identifying and decorating outstanding female players in industry and exports with honors of Regional Women Icons.

In the Ashanti Region, the Chief Executive Officer for UNI-JAY Company Limited Janet Abobigu picked the top position after a three day exhibition which saw massive attendance in the Central Business District of Kumasi.

Mrs. Janet Abobigu could not hold back tears when the Ghana Export Promotion Authority conferred on her, Ashanti Regional Women’s Icon.

For lack of funds, the brilliant Janet born to a settler Watchman, dropped out of school and begun working as a head porter and later a roasted corn and groundnut hawker on the streets of Kumasi.

Her dream which has now culminated in the huge garment and clothing manufacturing company was birthed after she gathered money and courage to learn how to sew.

Describing her journey as tough, Mrs. Abobigu encouraged young persons, both graduates and less literate, to embrace technical and vocational skills as unemployment continues to surge in the country.

“I always say no art, no world and art is TVET. Education Is the Key but TVET is the master key that can open many doors,” she noted.

“In my industry, some of the people doing very well in technical and vocational jobs are university degree and masters graduates. Left to me alone if you finish your masters, you can do TVET and use your academic background to partner people with skills to make their businesses work,” she advised.

Uni-Jay Company which produces unisex clothing, scraps, school and occupational uniforms employs 240 direct customers and engages over 400 non-permanent workers.

The company is yet to complete a larger factory facilitated by government’s 1District 1Factory initiative; to engage up to two thousand five hundred employees.

Commending her efforts, The Chief Executive of GEPA Dr. Afua Asabea Asare challenged more women to scale up manufacturing to reduce Ghana’s heavy dependency on foreign aid and imported goods.

“She has not attained education to any appreciable level but look at where she has taken entrepreneurship. She has her own factory employing a lot of women some of whom she is training for free. It is our wish to discover, unearth and honor all of these women in all the regions.”

Dr Asabea Asare observed, “Even though statistics shows that women are at the fore front of entrepreneurship in Ghana, most of them are not as courageous enough to scale it up to how the men will build big factories. But some women are daring and doing it big and these are the women we want to champion,”

Dr. Afua Asabea Asare mentioned that the Authority has so far chalked significant successes in its Non Traditional Exports Development Strategy aimed at growing the sector to some 25.3 billion dollars by 2029.

“When we took over in 2017, it was in the negatives but by 2018 we had sent export growth to 10%. Even with the COVID blip, we have raised it up again to some 6% which stands at 3.5 billion for goods. For services gave us 8.2 billion” she outlined.

The icon event crowned a three day exhibition which allowed manufacturers to showcase local manufacturing prowess in fashion, cosmetics, groceries, pharmaceutical, healthcare, grooming, technology, and service-related goods.

The Ghana Export Promotion Authority is banking on the icons initiative, the Export School and other gender and youth targeted programs to introduce more local manufacturers to the export market.

By: Ivan Heathcote – Fumador