- €5m grant provided to help sustain at least 1600 jobs
The National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI) and the ‘Special Initiative on Training and Job Creation’ implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, have signed an agreement to support Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in Ghana. The grant agreement: a ‘COVID-19 SME Innovation and Digitalisation Support Scheme,’ is expected to provide Ghanaian SMEs with digital solutions as a strategy to adapt to emerging market demands brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The grant which would be channelled through the KfW Development Bank would help the NBSSI roll out a number of initiatives to ensure that SMEs are well positioned to transact their businesses online and remain relevant and survive the new normal. A third partner – the Digital Transformation Centre, also implemented by GIZ Ghana, will be responsible for supporting this project with technical expertise to implement digital solutions.
The COVID-19 Pandemic has had significant adverse and debilitating impact on global economies. Ghana is no exception. World governments and donor agencies have had to restructure their budgets and funding options and realign their priorities to ensure that the economies of the world do not come crushing. In Ghana, some businesses were compelled to fold up; “COVID-19 clearly exposed the defects of digital transformation in Ghana, as can be seen in almost all countries around the world; this is why I am really excited to see that we are able to overcome these challenges and that we managed to also explore the opportunities and positive sides of the pandemic,” explained Mr. Gerald Guskowski – Head of the Network for Inclusive Economic Development (NIED) Cluster at GIZ-Ghana. “This partnership will support the digitalisation of up to 500 growth-oriented SMEs, which will in turn help sustain at least 1600 jobs; we want to keep these businesses alive and strengthen their resilience during COVID-19, thereby sustaining jobs,” added Mr Guskowski.
The COVID-19 SME Innovation and Digitalisation Support Scheme seeks to support SMEs to make full use of digitalisation, to manage their business operations more efficiently, to become more responsive to clients’ needs, to better organise their business information, to have more efficient record keeping and financial management processes in place, thereby facilitating their access to finance and much more.
“With COVID-19 still lurking, digitalisation of SMEs remains a front burner issue on the SME policy agenda in Ghana. Consequently, the signing of this agreement marks a critical turning point for SMEs in Ghana, and we are happy to be spearheading this,” highlighted Mrs Kosi Yankey-Ayeh, the Executive Director of NBSSI.
“Our partnership with the Special Initiative on Training and Job Creation, provides an opportunity to increase process efficiency and competitiveness of SMEs by providing access to knowledge, technologies, and expertise in the field of digitalisation and process innovation. We stand a chance to better understand and learn more the needs and challenges of SMEs, even beyond digitalisation, to support the policy agenda,” added Mrs Yankey-Ayeh.
NBSSI is the main governmental body under the Ministry of Trade and Industry, mandated to strengthen, grow, and develop micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in Ghana. NBSSI has the largest footprint of any agency or organisation in Ghana in its work with entrepreneurs and women-led MSME development. It has a presence in the 16 regions and operates in 185 districts across Ghana.
Invest for Jobs
The Special Initiative on Training and Job Creation operates under the brand ‘Invest for Jobs,’ and was created by the federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) to support African, German and European companies and investors operating in Africa. The Special Initiative (Invest for Jobs) is implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and KfW Development Bank in eight African countries including Ghana. The Special Initiative offers advice, contacts, and financial support to investors to overcome their investment barriers. The objective is to create 8,500 jobs and improve the working conditions of 13,800 people in Ghana by December 2023 in close partnership with the private sector.