Ghanaian MSMEs to benefit from financing Partnership deal to unlock full potential

Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in Ghana are to benefit from a partnership that will unlock their full potential and pave the way for innovation and job creation to build a brighter future.

The partnership between the African Guarantee Fund and the Zenith Bank will focus on strategically important sectors like agriculture, manufacturing, trade, and education aligning with Ghana’s development goals and maximizing economic impact.

Mr. Henry Onwuzurigbo, MD/CEO of Zenith Bank (Ghana), speaking at the signing event, said it was not just a celebration of a partnership but to mark a pivotal moment in their collective journey towards empowering the true heroes of the economy.

The partnership agreement aimed at providing access to finance to empower MSMEs in the country.

While estimates vary, there is evidence that highlights the enormous contributions of MSMEs to job creation, income generation, trade, and inclusive growth and they form the bedrock of the economy.

The World Bank indicates that MSM
Es represent about 90 per cent of businesses and more than 50 per cent of employment worldwide.

He said formal SMEs contribute up to 40 per cent of national income in emerging economies and these numbers were significantly higher when informal SMEs were included.

The CEO/MD said in Ghana, MSMEs were crucial drivers of the economy, employing over 80 per cent of the workforce and contributing to more than 70 per cent of the private sector output, surpassing global averages.

‘The domestic MSME sector, consisting of 2.1 million businesses, predominantly comprises 1.7 million micro-enterprises, creating 1-2 jobs each,’ he added.

He said Small enterprises, numbering 320,000, generate approximately six jobs per enterprise, while medium enterprises, though fewer at 85,000, contribute significantly with an average of around 46 jobs each.

‘These statistics underscore the vital role of MSMEs in fostering employment and sustainable economic development in Ghana,’ he said.

He said that despite their undeniable impor
tance, MSMEs face significant challenges, chief among them being access to finance, which has resulted in a huge financing gap.

He said several reasons have been proffered for this financing gap, financial services providers readily attribute their risk aversion stance for not lending to MSMEs to demand-side constraints, such as the lack of managerial capacity, inadequate collateral, poor record keeping and many others.

He said the road to success was with collaboration beyond Individual efforts and that was why ‘we are incredibly excited to announce our partnership with the AGF.’

He said with extensive experience and vast financial resources, AGF was a strong shoulder for them to lean on in their quest to empower MSMEs.

Mr Onwuzurigbo said the partnership was a powerful force multiplier and through it, ‘we unlock a multitude of benefits for MSMEs risk sharing with the Fund, through which we can offer loans to businesses that previously struggled to meet collateral requirements.’

He said through AGF’s Af
firmative Finance Action for Women in Africa programme, they would offer discounted rates and increased guarantee cover for women-owned businesses.

Mr Onwuzurigbo said recognizing the importance of sustainability, they would provide special incentives for environmentally friendly enterprises, promoting responsible growth and a healthier planet.

Mr Bendjin Kpeglo, Director General, AGF West Africa, said the agreement was a testament to a shared responsibility of supporting SME development in Ghana.

He said as part of the support, they would provide increased access to funding and technical assistance to these SMEs and the Bank itself, while boosting the economy of the country.

He said women-led businesses would be given some discounted rates and increased guarantees.

The partnership will provide financing support for 100 MSMEs at the initial start but will be scaled up to 300 based on their performance and review.

Mr Sampson Akligoh, Director, Financial Sector Division, Ministry of Finance, commended the
two institutions for supporting the MSMEs sector to grow.

He said the government would continue to support MSMEs and women-led businesses to contribute to the growth and development of the economy.

Mr Ismail Adam, Deputy Director, Banking Supervision Department at the Bank of Ghana, expressed the hope that the initiative would serve as a catalyst that would birth more strategic partnerships between AGF and the Banking sector to support more SME lending to help build inclusive, sustainable, and resilient economy.

He urged the parties to ensure that a lot more SMEs benefit from the initiative and ‘l expect that even lower interest rates will be offered to SMEs in time.’

Source: Ghana News Agency

Two women granted GH?5,000 bail each for fighting in public

The Ashaiman District Court has granted bail in the sum of GH?5,000 with one surety each to Obaa Yaa Annan and Lydia Koomson for fighting in public.

The court, presided over by Mr Derick Parden Eshun, granted the two persons bail after they pleaded not guilty to charges of disturbing public peace.

Police Inspector Kwajo Danso, prosecuting, said Annan, a 41-year-old trader, and Koomson, 25, a hairdresser, both resided at Nkansa, close to Downtown Ashaiman.

On August 7, 2023, at about 0930 hours, there ensued a misunderstanding between the two on the proper disposal of wastewater, leading to a fight between them.

The two fought in the open (at the sight and hearing of the public), injuring themselves and Annan then went to the Katamanso Police Station to make a complaint, where she was given a medical form to attend hospital and return the form after treatment, prosecution said.

Koomson was subsequently arrested for investigation, which revealed both the initial complainant and the supposed perpetrator en
gaged in a fight in a public place to disturb the peace of others.

The two accused persons both bit each other during the fight and they were, therefore, arraigned and charged with the offence.

Source: Ghana News Agency

GACL undertakes repair works on the ceilings at terminal 3, KIA

The Ghana Airports Company Limited (GACL) is undertaking repair works on the ceilings at Terminal 3 of the Kotoka International Airport (KIA).

The contractor has currently been engaged to begin works on the areas affected.

A statement issued in Accra by the Company said Management had identified the areas of Terminal 3 which had leakage marks on the ceilings and was working to resolve the issue.

It said the challenge stemmed from condensation of air condition pipes which caused the pipes to drip onto the ceiling.

The statement said work has been scheduled in a way that would have minimal inconvenience to their cherished passengers.

It said the public would be kept informed of the progress of works and its completion.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Introduce Measures to support families of persons with disabilities – Disability Manifesto

The Ghana Federation of Disability Organisations (GFD) has called on political parties to introduce measures to support families of persons with disabilities in their various manifestoes.

The GFD specifically called on political parties and policy makers to support those who act as informal carers, to support and empower them to manage their caring responsibilities, to remain active in employment, to maintain good health, and to have a life outside of caring.

Such measures, the GFD said, should also seek to prevent situations where family members with caring responsibilities are disadvantaged or discriminated against.

The Advocacy Committee of the Ghana Federation of Disability Organizations (GFD) has spearheaded the development of a Disability Manifesto for the 2024 elections.

Mr Auberon Jeleel Odoom, Chairman of the Manifesto Committee told the Ghana News Agency that the manifesto will serve as a roadmap to guide policymakers and political leaders in formulating inclusive policies and implementing effe
ctive measures to ensure the full participation and empowerment of persons with disabilities in all aspects of Ghanaian society.

The manifesto also advocates for the establishment of comprehensive social protection programmes that provide financial support, healthcare, and other essential services to persons with disabilities, families affected by disability, and caregivers of persons with disabilities.

Mr Odoom said over the years, political parties have often not involved organizations of persons with disabilities in the development of their manifestoes, which mostly resulted in limited consideration for disability issues in their manifestoes.

‘With the 2024 elections approaching, political parties must give due attention to the concerns and aspirations of this marginalized segment of society.’

The GFD’s Disability Manifesto represents a collective effort to address the challenges faced by persons with disabilities in Ghana and to chart a path toward greater inclusion and empowerment.

The Manifesto was
arrived at through a nationwide process of consultation within the Ghana Federation of Disability Organizations and its members, as well as its regional branches.

The Manifesto represents a collective effort to address the challenges faced by persons with disabilities in Ghana and to chart a path toward greater inclusion and empowerment, Mr Odoom Said.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Adama West Africa engages cocoa industry players on its products

Adama West Africa Limited, manufacturers of pesticides, insecticides, and fungicides, has engaged stakeholders in the cocoa industry for feedback on use of their products.

The engagement was to afford management of Adama West Africa the opportunity to elicit concerns and recommendations from managers, chief farmers, and Produce Buying Companies (PBCs) in the cocoa value chain on the efficacy and potency of applying their products on cocoa farms as part of a Cocoa Enhancement Programme.

Mr Joshua Banana Awutey, Marketing and Development Manager of Adama West Africa, speaking at the event said the engagement was part of measures to provide a robust cost-effective supply network to enhance productivity of cocoa farmers.

He said with an extensive global presence and direct reach to farmers, his outfit was committed to addressing problems cocoa farmers faced through innovative technology and digital solutions.

Mr Awutey mentioned that their products such as Banjo Forte 400 SC, EMA STAR 112 EC, Nicogold 400 OD
and Maizine 30 OD among others, were effective and incident-free chemicals which dealt with the blackpod and other diseases on cocoa farms.

He encouraged farmers to always read instructions or seek advice from extension officers before spraying chemicals on their farms to avoid complications.

Mr Samuel Osei, the Western-South Regional Manager of Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), said the news from the Chief Executive Officer of COCOBOD that Ghana had lost over 500,000 hectares of cocoa farms to swollen shoot viral disease was a source of concern to the cocoa sector especially, the Cocoa Health and Extension Division.

He said cocoa production had declined in the last three years thereby affecting the local economy, adding; ‘COCOBOD, therefore, welcomes the collaboration with the Adama West Africa company for crop protection and streamline activities in the sector to increase productivity.’

He said as part of the Cocoa Enhancement Programme, COCOBOD had earmarked 900,000 hectares of cocoa farms for pruning throu
ghout the country this year, with 222,708 hectares of the total figure being in the Western-South Region.

Mr Osei said: ‘As part of an agenda Restoration, COCOBOD will assist massive cooperative-led pruning exercise and application of organic fertilisers on cocoa farms to help boost our chances of meeting our target of producing 300,000 metric tonnes of cocoa Western-South Region this year’.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Be vigilant but don`t take the law into your hands – NCCE to Students

Mr Joachim Elbazar, the Nabdam District Director of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), Upper East Region, has advised students at the Kongo Senior High School to be vigilant and desist from indulging in mob justice.

He said various crimes were punishable by law under the 1992 constitution and until a court of competent jurisdiction found one guilty of a crime, no one had the right to subject a suspect to undue suffering.

According to him, such acts could open the floodgate for violent extremism and give rise to rebels that had the tendency of causing instability in the country and called on the students to be guided and act according to the laws of the country.

Mr Elbazar said this when he addressed the students on the sidelines of a video show on the activities of violent extremists as experienced in neighbouring countries.

He said, ‘being vigilant entailed saying something when you see something suspicious in your community by reporting to the rightful authorities, including the securi
ty agencies, Assembly members and the chiefs’.

The event formed part of the Preventing and Containing Violent Extremism (PCVE) project with funding support from the European Union (EU) and being implemented by the NCCE across eight border regions of the country.

The regions include Upper East, Upper West, North-East, Northern, Savannah, Bono, Bono East and the Oti Regions.

The project aimed at creating awareness about violent extremism, facilitating activities to engender, among the citizens of Ghana, Security consciousness, social inclusiveness, community cohesion, and situational awareness.

It also aimed at engaging citizens on the threat of violent extremism, to prevent the invasion of extremists in Ghana as has been reported in other neighbouring countries.

Master Abaa Joseph, a student who spoke on behalf of his colleagues thanked the NCCE for the education and said, ‘it will shape our behaviour as we have seen the negative impact of war in the other countries, and we don`t want that to happen in ou
r country’.

He urged his fellow students to desist from all acts of violence and appealed to the NCCE to continue to have such engagements with them periodically to keep them alert.

Source: Ghana News Agency