First Lady Rebecca Akufo-Addo has indicated that women entrepreneurs have a pivotal role to play in achieving government’s vision of creating an entrepreneurial culture aimed at making Ghana the most business-friendly destination on the continent, and in the march toward a ‘Ghana Beyond Aid’.
Speaking at a fundraising dinner gala to mobilise GH¢4million to support physically challenged women in business in Accra, she said women entrepreneurs are creating jobs and wealth in various communities across the country, despite the numerous challenges facing them.
“Women account for over 50 percent of the country’s population and about 80 percent are engaged in various economic activities, predominantly in the informal micro- to medium-scale agriculture, manufacturing and services sectors of the economy.
“Aside from contributing to the global economy with innovative products and services that are transforming lives and creating jobs and wealth in our communities, there are more women entrepreneurs and women-run businesses than those managed by men, despite facing many challenges,” the First Lady said.
She encouraged women entrepreneurs to take advantage of the numerous opportunities and initiatives that are being rolled out by government under its industrialisation agenda – the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) and others – to push the ‘Ghana Beyond Aid’ agenda.
More importantly, Mrs. Akufo-Addo urged business associations promoting women entrepreneurship to intensify their advocacy activities to improve the lot of women entrepreneurs, especially the physically challenged.
The First Lady, in applauding the ministry for instituting a dedicated fund for disabled women entrepreneurs, said it is important for disabled women in business to be given the necessary support toward achieving inclusive and sustainable national economic growth.
“Women entrepreneurs face challenges with access to formal financial services and others, which makes it very tough for them to improve and grow their businesses into big brands.
“But when it comes to women with disabilities, these challenges are compounded. These women suffer discrimination and basic human rights violations.
“They get limited access to education, healthcare, decision-making and employment opportunities – thus aggravating their condition of poverty,” Mrs. Akufo-Addo highlighted.
Business Development Minister, Mohammed Awal, indicated in his remarks that the fund “will show that physically challenged women can do it if given the opportunity”.
He said the fund seeks to raise GH¢4million over the next two years, and will benefit about 1,000 entrepreneurs across the country as part of efforts to ensure that everyone in society is part of the national development agenda.