It is back to business in Accra, and throughout Ghana. The passing of the holidays brought the beginning of a new term for the president and a first term for several members of parliament.
When he was sworn in to office on 7 January 2013, President John Mahama assured the country that he would place emphasis on the needs of the business community. He stated, “I want to assure the business community that I will be an ally. I will extend whatever support I am able to reinforce your contributions to our development”. He continued with, “I recognise the vital role that our private sector, especially small and indigenous businesses, play in the expansion of our workforce as well as in the growth and stability of our economy.”
President Mahama’s inaugural address, delivered at the Independence Square in Accra has soothed the active minds of local businessmen. However, there are still calls for action from the community for the president to create an enabling environment for job creation and economic growth.
While the new government develops its plans and consolidates its growth, it does not mean that other institutions have ignored the call. International development and aid are continuing to boost the Ghanaian economy. For some entrepreneurs, it is time to step up to the next level. At least three young businesses have been given grants that will allow them to expand their operations. The money will be used to bump production, exports and local training.
Alex Osei-Kwame (Gonja Meat Company), Michael Graffin (Sardis Enterprise International) and Kwame Owusu Kyei (Viable Vision Industries) each received USD 100,000. This grant comes from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in conjunction with Western Union. They were awarded these grants based on plans to expand their businesses, and their operations, with an aim to employing additional Ghanaians.
It is not the only business development supported by USAID and Western Union in the region. The African Diaspora Marketplace (ADM) is funded by the same group, along with support from Ecobank, the US Department of State and others. The ADM has provided similar grants to improve entrepreneurial business in the region. According to USAID, the cause of poverty across Africa is due to widespread unemployment. Therefore, strengthening economies which already demonstrate stability and growth leads to the eradication of poverty throughout the continent.
Ecobank also supports other initiatives, as shown by their donation of GHC 10,000 to the Glaucoma Association of Ghana (GAG). Although this doesn’t quite rival their donation of USD 200,000 to the Children’s Block of the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, there are some bonuses that come with the donation to GAG. One additional benefit is clear; the association will provide eye screening for Parliament. Although this show of appreciation is for their Patron, the retired Honourable Justice Joyce Bamford-Addo, a former Speaker of Parliament, others will certainly benefit. It is good news for businesses who want to be certain the government keeps a keen eye on business initiatives and inflation rates.