IIA NEWS IN Ghana

 

Yasmin and her company received training through IIA’s Business linkage programme (BLP). The BLP is IIA’s $4m training and mentorship programme designed to assist small and medium enterprises to fast track their businesses from locally good to globally competitive. Yasmin’s company (Africa Bagg Recruitment) went on to win the Woman Entrepreneur Award at the Invest in Africa awards 2016.

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Lydia Tioko (Loteiteleit Company Limited, Kenya)

 

Lydia and her SME also accessed finance through Invest in Africa’s Invest in Africa’s Credit Guarantee Scheme (CGS).

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Below are other Woman led SMEs we’d like to recognise that we work with to provide new markets, skills and finance to.

Betty Gichuki (Create A Tee Limited)

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Rael Mzee Ochodo (Chairperson, Akiberan Aberu Suppliers Limited- Turkana County)

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Hadija Jama (Founder and Director, Darubini Screening International Co Ltd Nairobi)

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Victoria Joseph (CEO, Design One)

 

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For ‘Women in Business’ day this September, we are highlighting all the hardworking business women within Invest in Africa’s (IIA) network, partners and local economies (Ghana, Kenya and Senegal).

We’d like to recognise Akiberan Aberu Suppliers and Contractors Ltd, a wholly women-owned and run business based in Turkana, Kenya. Akiberan Aberu Suppliers were actually the first SME to secure a loan through IIA’s Africa’s Credit Guarantee Scheme (CGS).

Yasmin Boamah (African Bagg Recruitment, Ghana)

Yasmin and her company received training through IIA’s Business linkage programme (BLP). The BLP is IIA’s $4m training and mentorship programme designed to assist small and medium enterprises to fast track their businesses from locally good to globally competitive. Yasmin’s company (Africa Bagg Recruitment) went on to win the Woman Entrepreneur Award at the Invest in Africa awards 2016.

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Lydia Tioko (Loteiteleit Company Limited, Kenya)

 

Lydia and her SME also accessed finance through Invest in Africa’s Invest in Africa’s Credit Guarantee Scheme (CGS).

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Below are other Woman led SMEs we’d like to recognise that we work with to provide new markets, skills and finance to.

Betty Gichuki (Create A Tee Limited)

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Rael Mzee Ochodo (Chairperson, Akiberan Aberu Suppliers Limited- Turkana County)

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Hadija Jama (Founder and Director, Darubini Screening International Co Ltd Nairobi)

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Victoria Joseph (CEO, Design One)

 

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It’s been four years since Invest In Africa (IIA) kicked off its operations in Ghana. IIA is a not-for-profit organisation committed to addressing the challenges of identifying credible local suppliers, developing local content and driving cross sector growth across the economy as a whole.

Together with its leading partners, IIA does three main things:

1. Connects multinationals and larger businesses to credible local suppliers (SMEs);

2. Improves these SMEs access to skills, contracts and finance to build long term capacity; and

3. Helps improve the investment climate and quality of policy discussions in the country.

Access to Skills

The African Development Bank’s (AfDB) Fund for African Private Sector Assistance (FAPA) in 2013 awarded IIA a US$1 million grant, their first in Ghana, to deliver the Business Linkage Programme (BLP), a training and mentorship programme that offers SMEs the tools needed to improve their entrepreneurial, managerial and technical capacities. IIA’s partners have also committed over US$3 million benefit-in kind support to the programme. Through another subsdised programme called the Business Accelerated Programme (BAP), funded by the Dutch Development Agency (FMO), EY consultants are assigned to high potential SMEs on a one-to-one basis, to help improve their competitiveness. Also, through a collaborative partnership with Canon, 22 Ghanaian companies from the printing industry have been trained in the latest technologies to enhance their capacity and ability to meet international standards.

Through these flagship programmes and others, IIA has delivered over 25,000 hours of capacity building training support to more than 220 SMEs- many of whom have subsequently been linked to larger Corporates for new business opportunities and created at least two jobs

Access to contracts through the African Partner Pool

The African Partner Pool (APP) is an online marketplace launched by IIA in 2014 to bridge the gap between large companies with procurement needs, referred to as buyers, and SMEs. The rationale behind the APP was borne out of the difficulty local SMEs face in making themselves visible to larger companies. The APP, therefore, is a community where buyers and suppliers across can engage each another, discover new opportunities and grow their business. The APP directory allows SMEs to promote the products and services they can deliver and the standards they can deliver to, making it easier for big companies to find the right suppliers.

Since the introduction of the APP, total volume of contracts won by suppliers has hit 111 (valued at US$151 million). Approximately US$116 million of the total value has been retained in-country. Today, the number of suppliers on the APP is over 1500. IIA through the APP has supported c.32,000 jobs in Ghana over the period.

Access to finance

This is arguably one of the biggest challenges facing SMEs in the country and indeed across Africa. Most banks are unwilling to advance loans to SMEs mainly because of their perceived risk (weak structures, poor financial records, etc) which do not make them bankable. IIA’s ‘Access to Skills’ pillar plays a crucial role in helping APP registered SMEs put in place the necessary structures that will make them less risky and bankable for banks to advance loans to them. So far, approximately US$1million of credit has been disbursed to SMEs through IIA’s banking partners.

These three platforms, have helped build the capacities of SMEs, improved their competitiveness and positioned them on an accelerated path to playing on a global stage.

Challenges

Even though IIA has made great strides in the past 4 years, success has not come on a silver platter. Whilst IIA’s focus on SMEs and multi-sector approach ensures it has a broad-based economic impact, it also means high risk exposure/vulnerability to economic shocks.

For example, the ongoing volatility in the financial sector has affected the IIA ecosystem in two key ways. Firstly, one of its local partners, UT Bank folded up. Secondly, the reduction in credit to the private sector has also affected the ability of some of their SMEs to source credit to operate/expand their business.

It also experienced relatively slower tender activity on the APP platform last year due to slower economic activity. As a result, it was not able to facilitate as many business linkages (and contracts) as it would have liked to for their suppliers.

The Country Director, Clarence Nartey added that, “the organisation has to constantly work to get the right balance between our bold ambitions and the resources needed to deliver them. Most of the time, especially in the case of a not-for-profit, the latter lags behind the former. But thanks to support from our partners, donors and promising self-financing initiatives we are currently pursuing the gap is narrowing.”

Going Forward

Mr. Nartey added that, “going forward, we want to build on the solid foundation laid over the past four years.

The first job to be done is a brand re-positioning one: to communicate our unique integrated brand proposition to our core target audience. We haven’t done this holistically and consistently in the past.

Secondly, we will get sharper on prioritisation by trading our wide breadth of scope for depth in our sectors of focus. Going forward we are prioritizing six key sectors of the economy which will form the basis of our local content efforts. These sectors are oil and gas, mining, financial services, ICT, agribusiness and construction. These are high growth sectors that are closely aligned with the Government’s sector priorities. They also have a strong developmental impact, especially from a job creation point of view. We have re-structured our organization to better align the team with this sector-focus. This approach will ensure we build relevant domain expertise, which will be key in our business partnering to key IIA partners in these core sectors.

We will also be driving a stronger inclusive growth agenda within the IIA ecosystem -as part of our sustainable growth strategy. Any growth plan that does not take into account supplier growth is not sustainable. For this reason one of the key initiatives we will be focusing on is the ‘Homegrown Buyers’ Project. We are identifying between 50 to 100 high potential SMEs who have the ability to grow to become buyers. We will work with these suppliers and build their capacities so that they can in turn sub-contract some of their procurement to ‘smaller’ SMEs on the APP platform.”

Mr. Nartey further stated that the APP platform will soon be re-launched (October 4th, 2018) with improved value-added features: providing more real-time business opportunities and making it easier for more buyer -to supplier and supplier-to-supplier interactions.

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GCB Bank and Invest In Africa (IIA) are pleased to announce the signing of an agreement that formally makes GCB Bank the newest partner of the initiative. IIA is a private sector initiative that brings together leading indigenous and international companies across sectors; actively working together to create a sustainable business ecosystem – by offering local enterprises access to finance, markets and skills that improves their competitiveness and accelerates their growth.

Launched in Ghana in September 2014, to date IIA has registered 1500+ SMEs, facilitated credit access of US$973K and tenders won valued at US$97.1M. GCB Bank’s Managing Director, Mr. Anselm Ray Sowah, explained that: "joining the Invest In Africa initiative further reinforces GCB Bank’s commitment to Ghana, to make a positive difference by supporting in the growth of local businesses.” On his part Invest in Africa Ghana’s Country Director, Mr. Clarence Nartey, stated that: “The partnership with GCB is yet another example of IIA’s commitment to building the right relationships to support SME development, local capacity building and job creation.”

GCB Bank, the largest indigenous financial institution in Ghana with 180+ branches and a strong digital banking backbone, promises IIA registered SMEs will benefit from short-to-medium term capital to enable them service tenders won on the African Partner Pool (APP); IIA’s flagship platform for accessing tenders. The partnership will also explore how SMEs shortlisted by GCB Bank for the Government’s One District One Factory (1D1F) industrialisation programme can benefit from the Business Excellence Programme (BEP); IIA’s flagship access to skills platform.

Large companies and organisations already supporting the initiative include: Tullow Ghana, MODEC, Newmont Mining, Ecobank Ghana, Societie Generale Ghana, Guinness Ghana Breweries, AB & David Law, the Millennium Development Authority (MiDA), the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC), EY, Africa Development Bank (AfDB) and Multimedia Group.

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On Thursday 25th May, Invest in Africa hosted an exclusive briefing event featuring the Ghana Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Hon. Robert Ahomka-Lindsay on Ghana’s investment prospects and opportunities at EY London.

Hon. Robert Ahomka-Lindsay shared the current administration’s priorities to, within the next four years, make Ghana the most attractive investment destination in Africa once again. According to the Deputy Minister, priority industries include aluminium, garment & textiles, industrial salts (alkaline), pharmaceuticals and petro-chemicals (gas and crude).

Nurturing and supporting the current job creators in the Ghanaian economy is another focus of the current administration. Hon. Ahomka-Lindsay discussed how the government have begun a stimulus programme for companies with the greatest job creation potential by providing them with tax breaks and other monetary incentives to help them stay in business and create more jobs.

The Deputy Minister also highlighted the country’s bureaucratic structures as an obstacle to doing free and open business, explaining how the government already has plans in place to successfully de-bureaucratise these systems.

He expressed his delight to be working with Invest in Africa to drive investment and create new opportunities with local SMEs. Invest in Africa’s online platform, the African Partner Pool (APP), connects SMEs to large companies helping SMEs access new tenders, training and finance.

With an historic election in the rear view for the country, Ghana sits at a crossroads in its economic and development strategy. Once the beacon of the Africa rising narrative, Ghana’s tumultuous economic growth, energy crisis and falling commodity prices in recent years have caused some panic and anxiety within the general public. However, Hon. Ahomka-Lindsay believes the country’s best days are still yet to come.

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On Thursday the 1st of June, Invest in Africa, in collaboration with Business Council for Africa, hosted an event featuring Ghanaian businessman and politician, Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom, on the economic climate in Ghana post-elections at Simmons and Simmons.

Increasingly, Ghana has been victim to setbacks in economic growth due to a power shortage phenomenon. However, the new administration has promised an end to this economic hardship and the rampant unemployment among youths.

Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom, with his experience in diverse business ventures and as founder of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP), examined the current business conditions to provide prospective solutions. He explained that while Ghana’s economic environment is good, systems need to be put in place to allow for the available opportunities to be cultivated. To achieve this, Nduom’s focus was on deregulation: the government must remove their influence on business transactions in the private sector. Furthermore, the underdevelopment of the infrastructure sector provides a promising opportunity for private sector actors to take advantage of; funding should be provided by the private sector and not the state.

Prosperous economies are characterized by increased efficiency, as transaction costs are reduced, and Nduom also suggested the re-allocation of the transportation, energy and water sectors to the private sector. In having focus and financial support fine-tuned to specific sectors, actors would not be overwhelmed with the responsibility and each can strive to achieve maximum functioning in their respective specialities.

Lastly, Nduom placed an emphasis on the importance of education, a sector where government expenditure should be directed. This will lead to an increase in the educated populace, the creation of more jobs and the potential for economic growth.

Invest in Africa’s (IIA) mission is to boost the economies in African countries. IIA strives to achieve this by pooling industry resources, knowledge and networks to support job creation and the development of local businesses. Their programmes, which include the Business Excellence Programme (BEP), function to improve human capital or the standards of local. In addition, the African Partner Pool (APP), a pioneer cross-sector business directory, makes local sourcing more efficient by connecting larger firms and local SME’s; thus creating a level playing field and delivering wide a socio-economic benefit.

Currently, the new administration in Ghana seeks to build the most business-friendly economy in Africa. The President believes this goal, which will create business and employment opportunities can be achieved through empowerment of the private sector.

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www.africanpartnerpool.com. Another initiative of Invest In Africa is the Business Excellence Programme, a combined Development Partners & Private Sector funded programme with the aim of building businesses to be more competitive.

 

Sam Brandful, the Ghana manager for Invest in Africa expressed the view that the collaboration with the GSA will guide local businesses to expand, understand and meet Ghanaian and international standards and empower local businesses to support the the Ghanaian economy while addressing major challenges which affect their growth.

Ghana Standards Authority joins the cross sector group of companies that IIA is currently working with through various initiatives. These include: Tullow Ghana, EY, AGI, AB & David Law, Ecobank, Modec Ghana, UT Bank, GIPC, Millennium Development Authority (MiDA), Newmont Mining, Guinness Ghana, GE, AFDB,FMO, B&FT, Multi Media Group (MMG) and Dun and Bradstreet.

 

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Ghana Standards Authority and Invest in Africa have signed a joint Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that aims to make Ghanaian businesses, especially SMEs, become more competitive locally and globally through improved quality and access to financial and technical support.

Following the 2016 African Partner Pool (APP) Business Forum which was held under the theme of “Creating Thriving Businesses through Taxation & Quality Standards,’ the relevance of information on quality standards for business growth was evident and this has led to the signing of this Memorandum of Understanding to help bridge the knowledge gap of Ghanaian businesses, especially the SMEs.

This MOU will allow Invest in Africa to advertise the services of the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) on the Invest in Africa and African Partner Pool websites, with direct links to the GSA website so as to inform and simplify the process of accessing the services of GSA.. SMEs will also have the opportunity to participate in events, training programmes and forums that focus on quality standards and their application to business growth and development.

The Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) which is the National Standards body was established by the Standards Act 1973 (NRCD 173). The Authority is also the custodian of the Weights and Measures Act (NRCD 326, 1975). These legislations together mandate the Authority to undertake: national standards development and dissemination, product certification scheme, pattern approval of new weighing and measuring instruments, destination Inspection of imported high risk goods, advise the Ministry of Trade, Industry, on standards and related issues amongst others.

Signing the MOU, the Executive Director for Ghana Standards Authority, Prof Alex Dodoo pointed out the need to create awareness for the services of the Authority, and their readiness to facilitate, direct and assist SMEs to produce quality made in Ghana goods and access their services to meet the required standards.

Invest in Africa (IIA), a cross-sector partnership of companies with the vision to create thriving African economies, has been set up to give businesses access to skills, finance and new markets. This is done through its key initiatives the African Partner Pool (APP), an online business platform that connects international companies to validated local businesses. www.africanpartnerpool.com. Another initiative of Invest In Africa is the Business Excellence Programme, a combined Development Partners & Private Sector funded programme with the aim of building businesses to be more competitive.

Sam Brandful, the Ghana manager for Invest in Africa expressed the view that the collaboration with the GSA will guide local businesses to expand, understand and meet Ghanaian and international standards and empower local businesses to support the the Ghanaian economy while addressing major challenges which affect their growth.

Ghana Standards Authority joins the cross sector group of companies that IIA is currently working with through various initiatives. These include: Tullow Ghana, EY, AGI, AB & David Law, Ecobank, Modec Ghana, UT Bank, GIPC, Millennium Development Authority (MiDA), Newmont Mining, Guinness Ghana, GE, AFDB,FMO, B&FT, Multi Media Group (MMG) and Dun and Bradstreet.

 

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Invest in Africa Ghana has announced the appointment of Mr Clarence Nartey as its new Country Manager effective 4th September 2017. He succeeds Mr Sam Brandful, who has successfully lead Invest in Africa for the past 4 years.

Mr Nartey founded 3i Consult Ltd – a Pan-African Marketing Strategy & Talent Development Consultancy in 2016.

Prior to setting up his consultancy, he was the Marketing Director for Unilever Ghana (and also served on the board of directors) from July 2013 to end of 2015.

His corporate career (with the multi-national giant, Unilever) spanned 15 years. During this period Mr Nartey held several senior multi-functional roles in operations, audit, marketing and strategy development across South Africa, Turkey, Singapore and Ghana.

Mr Nartey assumes responsibility for the running of IIA Ghana after a number of landmark achievements, overseen by his predecessor Mr Brandful, including the launch of the African Partner Pool (APP), an online portal connecting Ghaian businesses to larger corporates tenders, as well as the the Business Linkage Programme (BLP), a business skills accelerator scheme run specifically for Ghanaian SMEs.

Invest in Africa (IIA), is a cross-sector partnership of companies that has been set up to provide access to new markets, skills, and finance to SMEs while reducing the risk of Multi National Companies (MNCs) or larger companies doing business in Africa.

Key partners of IIA include: Tullow Ghana, EY, Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), AB & David Law, Ecobank, Modec Ghana, GIPC, Millennium Development Authority (MiDA), Newmont Mining, Guinness Ghana, GE.

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