By Kingsley Asare

Beverage companies in the country must take advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) initiative to export to other African markets, Deputy Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mark Okraku-Mantey.

He said with the implementation of AfCFTA, beverage producers in the country must look beyond the Ghanaian market and explore to other African markets.

Mr Mantey, who was speaking at the launch of the 6th edition of the Ghana Beverage Awards (GBA) in Accra yesterday, said AfCFTA had created a huge market for companies in Ghana to explore, saying “Beverage companies should realise they are currently selling to Africa and not only to Ghana.”

The 2021 GBA, which is on the theme: “Inspiring Excellence in Ghana’s Beverage Industry,” would be held in March next year.

Mr Okraku-Mantey said the Beverage Industry had contributed greatly to the development of the country through tax and job creation, adding that the industry had also supported the Tourism, Arts and Culture and helped to unearth talents in the music industry.

He said the government would continue to support the sector to thrive, and lauded the Global Media Alliance (GMA) for initiating the GBA to reward excellence in the beverage sector.

The Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Michael Okyere Baafi, commended GMA for introducing the GBA to promote the local beverage industry.

He said the introduction of the beverage industry tour to assess the available facilities and best practices in the local beverage manufacturing space was commendable.

Mr Baafi said government was committed to supporting Small and Medium-Scale Enterprises (SMEs), particularly those in the beverage industry.

“A collaboration with the Food and Beverage Industry is necessary for possible job creation avenues to absorb our growing population,”

The Chief Executive Officer of GMA, Ernest Boateng, said the GBA was introduced in 2016 to reward and to put the spotlight on the local beverage industry to promote both local and foreign beverages.

“The Ghana Beverage Awards is a prestigious awards scheme aimed at rewarding excellence in the beverage industry in Ghana annually,” he said.

Mr Boateng said in the past five years, GBA had remained the reference point to identify beverage companies that were in touch with their markets and contributing significantly to the Ghanaian economy.

The GMA CEO said the awards which started with 10 categories currently had 18, adding that “We will continue to welcome and acknowledge feedback from our stakeholders, particularly consumers who have been instrumental in the nomination phase.”

Mr Boateng said the award has 18 categories and mentioned some of them as International Spirit of the Year, International Beer of the Year, New Beverage of the Year, CSR Company of the Year, Manufacturing Company of the Year, Bitters of the Year, Energy Drink of the Year and Water of the Year.

He said nominations would be opened to beverage companies in February 2022, to submit their nominations after which the polls would be opened for two weeks in March for the public to vote for the ultimate award of the year, which is the Product of the Year.

Mr Akwasi Agyemang, the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Tourism Authority, commended GMA for the awards.

Read the original article on Ghanaian Times.

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