Chairperson of the Business and Financial Times (B&FT), Dr. Edith Dankwa, says Ghana’s COVID-19-adjusted economic recovery will only be successful with the backing of a thriving Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) sector.
Speaking on Joy FM’s morning show, the recently crowned Chartered Institute of Marketing GHANA (CIMG) Marketing Woman of the Year 2020, therefore, called for deliberate policies to develop the Ghanaian SME sector.
According to her, the country’s economic recovery or otherwise “hinges squarely on how successfully our SME sector is thriving. We need to support these small businesses to grow because that is what will make us competitive,” she stated. “We are looking at a Ghana that is strong but can become stronger on the continent and then globally, as well as become very competitive.
“We want to see a Ghana that is enviable. I know we are, but if we can do more in terms of our products. I am very concerned about how we can get into that space and be recognised as a very competitive country with competitive products. We are not too far from there. I think we just need the support and environment that can help, especially, small businesses get into this space; to support small business to grow,” she added.
Some owners of small businesses across the country have started accessing their share of the new round of stimulus packages introduced by government to cushion micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) from impacts of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
The Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA) began disbursing GH¢13million to 212 applicants under the first tranche of the GH¢145million Ghana Economic Transformation Project (GETP) grant last week.
The beneficiaries were selected out of 21,000 applicants after meeting the rigorous criteria designed by the GEA, World Bank and other partners. They include businesses in the agro-processing, food and beverages, health care and manufacturing industries. They received between GH¢10,000 and GH¢20,000 grants to support their operational cost among other things.
Touching on the African Continent Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), Dr. Dankwa said hosting the AfCFTA’s secretariat in Ghana provides the country with a huge opportunity to lead the continent as the preferred and suitable destination for investments.
“If we can leverage and take advantage, package ourselves well and become competitive on the continent and also globally…. I think that we sit at the right place to push this country forward,” she said.
She, therefore, pledged the B&FT’s support in pushing the ‘Ghana First’ agenda, saying: “And for us to provide accurate and relevant information to support this growth process of the country, I think we are fortunate to be part of this as well as being the leading business newspaper in Ghana. It’s exciting… and it’s rewarding to know that although we have our challenges, we try to do our best to get out there and contribute our quota”.
The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) covers a market of 1.2 billion people and a gross domestic product (GDP) of US$2.5trillion across all 55 member-states of the African Union. In terms of number of participating countries, AfCFTA is the world’s largest free trade area since formation of the World Trade Organisation.
A highly dynamic market, the population of Africa is projected to reach 2.5 billion by 2050; at which point it will comprise 26 percent of what is projected to be the world’s working-age population, with an economy estimated to grow twice as rapidly as those of the developed world.