Vice Minister, Ministry of Economic Development, Carlo Calenda, said on Tuesday in Rome that Italian Export Credit Agency (SACE) and other Italian companies are viewing Ghana and Ethiopia as a priority in its plans to become African leading trading partners.
The minister who led the team on tour of two countries said the trade relations had become imperative because Sub-Saharan Africa was an important market for the future and its attractiveness had been confirmed by the government mission.
Calenda said the Italian Government had launched several initiatives to boost exports to the region, which reached a billion Euros in the third quarter of 2015.
“Almost four times as much as in the same period of 2014.
“In 2014, Italian exports to Ghana amounted to 160 million euros. In the first eight months of 2015, these grew by 30 per cent over the previous year,” he said.
He said the main sectors for Italian exports were mechanical engineering, food and metallurgy.
“Ghana’s mining sector offers the best opportunities for Italian companies as the number of gold mines is expanding and oil and gas production are strengthened, leading to further growth in related industries.
The Vice Minister said for Ethiopia, the country’s Growth and Transformation Plan 2015-20 aimed to boost industrialisation would open great opportunities for Italian exports, in particular mechanical engineering related to sectors such as textiles and clothing, leather and tannery, chemical and pharmaceutical products.
He said in 2014, Italian exports to Ethiopia amounted to 263 million euros, in line with the previous year, and concerned in particular mechanical engineering, transport and electrical appliances.
“SACE has set up the ‘Frontier Markets’ programme in sub-Saharan Africa, dedicated especially to SMEs.
“The agency offers assistance from its offices in Johannesburg and Nairobi and provides lines of credit to companies to support business with local partners,” he said.
Calenda said it also supplied consultancy services to evaluate the sectors with the greatest potential and the underlying risks “credit, political, regulatory, environmental.
Italy’s primary export markets are Nigeria, Angola, the Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, South Africa and Sudan.