Ghana: Enabling Women in Cross-Border Trade

An event series to empower female traders through information on customs processes

The assumption that trade policies are gender neutral has been debunked in recent times. The actual conditions on the ground prove it wrong. There are different impacts of trade on men and women due to the distinct economic roles they play. On average, women spend more time on unpaid care and domestic work than men. The restricted time availability and the limited access to education and information hinder female traders. Women bear disproportionately negative economic effects if the inequality is not addressed. It is necessary to put appropriate mitigants in place.

In partnership with the Ministry of Trade (MoTI) and the Trade and Gender Sub-Committee of the National Trade Facilitation Committee, the German Alliance for Trade Facilitation organized 4 sensitization events for female traders across Ghana. The event series ‘Women in Cross-Border Trade’ was initiated in recognition of the need for gender-sensitive approaches in trade facilitation. Relevant information on trade procedures is ought to enable women and thus unlocking the full scope of their entrepreneurial potential.

The events aimed to raise the awareness of women-traders on required cross-border trading documentation. The covered topics included:

  • Customs procedures and processes
  • Simplified export declaration
  • Rights and obligations of traders
  • Handling of shipper complains
  • The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement and its benefits

The information was provided by the Ministry of Trade, Ghana Revenue Authority (Customs Division), the Ghana Shippers Authority and Ghana Link Network Services (operators of Ghana’s single window).

Over 350 women participated in the events. This is expected to reduce their time spent at the borders in the short term. The event provided the women a platform to express their concerns regarding trade barriers and capacity-building needs.

“We face a lot of frustration with customs at the borders. This sensitization event has helped us to know our rights. If anything happens, we know where to report.”

Vivian Adogba, trader from the region Ho

“I have learnt how to get my documentation right. With the right documentation, nobody can take you for granted at the border point. Now I am empowered.”

Elorm Tordzi, trader from the region Ho

Sustainable social change needs a basis through policy. The event was organized not just to create awareness but also to collect inputs for the negotiation team at MoTI. This is going to support Ghana’s position on Phase 2 negotiations on the Women and Youth protocol under the AfCFTA.