EU, ECOWAS inject €6.5m through WACOMP to boost MSME export competitiveness


The European Union (EU) has, through the West Africa Competitiveness Programme (WACOMP), made available €6.5million to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in Ghana with the goal of strengthening their competitiveness in export through an enhanced value chain process.

The EU Ambassador to Ghana, Irchad Razaaly, announced this when he paid a courtesy call on the Northern Regional Minister, Shani Alhassan Shaibu, in Tamale, accompanied by officials from the UNIDO and EU offices.

The stop formed part of a wider working visit to inspect some UNIDO-EU-funded WACOMP projects in the Tamale Metropolis and Sagnerigu Municipality of the Northern Region.

Mr. Razaaly recalled that the four-year project, which is being executed in partnership with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), coordinated by the Ministry of Trade and Industry and implemented by the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), is aimed at improving the performance and growth of three value chains – cassava, fruits (mango and pineapple), and cosmetics and personal care products by raising their quality for export.

He said it will also strengthen the competitiveness of ECOWAS integration into the regional and international trading system, including the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

The EU Ambassador said both the EU and UNIDO were committed to partnering with Ghana to invest in human resources, knowing it has the potential to create jobs which will spur economic growth.

He added that investing in the shea value chain remains critical for the economic empowerment of pickers and processors across the northern belt.

Mr. Shani Alhassan Shaibu commended the EU and UNIDO for their continued support to the region to boost the businesses of the local industries.

He said the five regions of the north have good vegetation that could be turned into opportunities for job creation, especially the shea sub-sector, which he described as “the cocoa of the north.”

“Building the capacity of the local industry players would enable them to produce quality products to meet the international standards,” he said.

He noted that shea picking, especially, has been left to the women groups, and the lack of protective gear, storage facility and market linkages remain a challenge; however, the support of the EU and UNIDO would go a long way to motivate participants in the space.

Another challenge of the shea value actors is the inability to add value to their products; as such, they sometimes fail to meet the demand of the market. If the women are well-resourced, it will help to improve their productivity, he stressed.


Touching on terrorism, the regional minister commended the European Union (EU) for supporting the region’s counter-terrorism efforts, adding that the serene and peaceful environment has attracted a lot of investors to the northern regions.

He added that the security agencies are on the ground to ensure that peace and tranquility prevail so that traders and businesses go about their normal activities to contribute to the growth of the country.

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