The European Union-funded Investment Promotion and Business Linkages Project under the Ghana Employment and Social Protection (GESP) programme has ended after four years of implementation.
The project was to improve the capacities of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to attract investment, improve suppliers’ linkages to larger companies and increase exports to the international markets.
Its implementation contributed to inclusive growth in Ghana and created formal jobs across the agri-business value chain and to reducing poverty and improving the living standards of the people.
The scope of the project included in-house training and field study tours to companies in Cape Verde, Burkina Faso and United Arab Emirates to enable agribusinesses to engage and negotiate with importers and prepare a roadmap to address key export-related challenges such as customs requirements, certification standards and products development options.
Speaking at the closing ceremony of the GESP Project in Accra yesterday, Mr Irchad Razaaly, the European Union Ambassador to Ghana, said the four-year project had witnessed tremendous success in Ghana, helping Ghanaian SMEs, especially agri-businesses and agro-processors to link up with bigger markets within the West African Sub-region.
He explained that, the agro-sector constituted an important component of the Ghanaian economy and the successes chalked through the implementation of the project would give a boost to the economy. On his part, the Chief Executive Officer of the AGI, Mr Seth Twum Akwaboah, said the testimonies from the beneficiaries confirmed the satisfaction the project has had on their businesses and believed it would have positive impact on the country’s export base in not too distance future. He said measures had been put in place to ensure the sustainability of the project to further help others who were not part, to also benefit.
Mr Timothy DOLAN, Team Leader, Macro-Economic and Trade Section of the EU, said the project had helped Ghanaian agribusinesses to solicit equity funding from other financing entities across the world.
The project, he said, had mentored SMEs to improve on procurement plan, book- keeping and negotiation skills and believed would help the real export potentials in the Sub-region.
The GESP Project comprised four components-employment, social protection; Technical, Vocational Education Training (TVET) and investment promotions and business linkages and believed that would improve Ghana’s export sector. The European Union expended 4.5 million Euros for the Investment Promotion and Business Linkages Project alone, which was implemented in collaboration with the AGI, GEPA and GIPC.