-As AGA affirms commitment to diversify local economy
This year’s local trade promotion in the Obuasi Municipality and its enclaves, dubbed the ‘Obuasi Trade Show’ (OBS), has taken off with much anticipation of re-growing the local economy while promoting its diversification.
The week-long business fair, which has run for the past three years, is expected to see high patronage at the back of AngloGold Ashanti (AGA)-Obuasi Mine commencing operations.
The programme opened to the public on Monday, and is sponsored by AGA in partnership with the local assemblies and Obuasi office of the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI), with some 100 exhibitors already displaying their wares.
According to the Senior Sustainability Manager-AGA, Mr. Emmanuel Baidoo, OBS is in line with the mine’s commitment to revitalise the local Obuasi economy with enhanced support to local enterprises.
He explained that AGA has developed a three-year Social Management Plan aimed at contributing to diversification of the local economy. This has led to the development and implementation of a number of interventions across all sectors of the local economy.
“One key intervention is in the area of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) and trade promotion,” he emphasised.
Mr. Baidoo was speaking in an interview at the official opening of OBS, and explained that in line with the mine’s objective, the annual trade show has been repackaged “to ensure that its relevance is increased, such that participation will be enhanced”.
Also, he mentioned that due to the restrictions and limitations brought by COVID-19, there has been some enhancements – including the use of virtual platforms to deepen patronage of the event.
The Senior Sustainability Manager added that the mine has additionally pursued some campaigns to promote the ‘Kunka’ Market in Obuasi, constructed through a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement.
The facility was receiving low patronage earlier, he said, but it is now buzzing with trade activities as a result of the campaign-related local trade promotion efforts.
He observed that participation this year has significantly improved, due to the marketing training offered exhibitors prior to start of the event.
Meanwhile, businesses which took part in the previous trade exhibition continue to enjoy some incentives following their participation. It is against this background that he hopes the event will become the norm for people of Obuasi and its environs.
He entreated the public to strictly observe the COVID-19 protocols as they participate in the trade fair.
The Head of NBSSI-Obuasi Municipality, Mr. Kelvin Ofori Atta, while recognising the event’s importance noted that it is the core mandate of the NBSSI to develop and promote the activities of micro-, small and medium-scale enterprises.
He said developing MSMEs mostly depends on the training that’s offered to build their capacity. It is in view of this that he acknowledged the support received over the period from various stakeholders, especially AGA, toward MSMEs in the Municipality.
He mentioned that most of this year’s exhibitors have received certification from the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), which he indicated to be a major boost for the sales event.
He reaffirmed that a total of 87 businesses – previous year’s exhibitors – have received some grant support to expand their businesses.
Mr. Ofori Atta said his outfit intends to carry out an impact assessment after this year’s event, among others to demonstrate to the public the benefits which the organising OBS brings to the Municipality.
As part of activities lined up for the week-long event, he observed that there will be a business forum as well as other engagements with other regulatory bodies, including the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT).