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Second edition of Ghana Women Entrepreneurs Summit, Deputy Trade Minister launches

He said formalization and online trade is non-negotiable for micro , small and medium enterprises ( MSMEs) to thrive and advance in the coming years.

Mr Ahomka-Lindsay said the move would open up a broader market for companies and erase boundaries established by geographical authority.

There has not been much exposure to this field of trade and commerce. Let’s show once more, as women, that we can do it and be better at it. “Let’s prove that, once again, we are the backbone of Ghana’s economic recovery plan after COVID-19,” he said.

The outbreak of COVID-19 posed a threat to many women-led and women-owned enterprises in Ghana, Mr Ahomka-Lindsay said.

In line with the government ‘s vision of delivering incentive packages under the Coronavirus Alleviation Program for Industry (CAP BuSS), he thanked the National Board for Small Scale Industries ( NBSSI) for its commitment to women enterprises.

To date, the data reveals that the CAP BuSS service has supported over 110,000 women-led and women-owned MSMEs.

He said the new initiative to support resilient MSMEs by the NBSSI and the Mastercard Foundation was also positively skewed against women.

Around 70 per cent of the beneficiaries are projected to be female-owned and female-led. “I assume that such a plan is the best way to delay the economic recovery of COVID-19,” he said.

Mr Ahomka-Lindsay said the summit aimed to unveil female entrepreneurs’ creative abilities to harness and expand untapped talent in the field of job creation and economic development.

GWES 2020 aims to affirm the importance of women to the Ghanaian economy, to analyze government policies and services from a female viewpoint, and to create viable networks capable of extracting capital from women entrepreneurs, to lobby for a shift in negative social norms that hinder women ‘s development, and to highlight digitization to facilitate the growth of women ‘s enterprises.

While the number of women in the active economic development sectors has increased dramatically, few obstacles remain; access to finance and finance prices, conventional barriers to development and ownership of businesses, etc. Others are responsible for these variables and manners that make this summit important.

The need to reconsider our way of engaging in industry is another main factor for this summit. COVID-19 has taught all of us that ‘durability is the latest advancement.’

The turbulence of the pandemic was sustained only by businesses who displayed resilience. For months, companies had to shutter, employees had to be laid off, and it became extremely impossible to balance the accounts.

Mrs. Anna Armo-Himbson, Deputy Executive Director, said that while COVID-19 posed a number of obstacles, it also exposed some possibilities and opportunities for companies to build on, including women-owned and women-led companies.

She said there were open doors to digitization for several organizations to thrive.

They became resilient and they were digitizing themselves. They registered their firms, traded online and, by clicking only a button, made their goods and services available. “I suggest to you that” Digitization is indeed the new resilience “as” Resilience is the new development.

“With many more Ghanaians pursuing contactless services, combined with the prevalence of telephone technology in Ghana, phones will be the future of the industry and it is now time to become a market leader in this sector,” she added.

“Currently, this sector boasts over 2.5 million merchants, producing about GHC 1.5 billion in GDP. With 5 million merchants in the next 5 years, this figure is expected to rise to about GHC 5 billion. There are countless possibilities in this business. And, it’s only made possible by digitization.

She said the recent encounters with the Market Support Scheme for the Coronavirus Alleviation Program (CAP BuSS) re-enforced the need to help digitalization for micro , small and medium enterprises.

While more than 240,000 MSMEs gained from the CAP BuSS stimulus package, the exercise uncovered significant weaknesses in our conventional MSME management; many firms did not have bank accounts and others used inaccurate mobile money numbers.
There were no tax identification numbers (TINs) for a large number of company owners. The TIN belonging to relatives was used by many and that made their applications invalid.

The NBSSI is persuaded at this stage that it is not negotiable to support MSMEs go digital. It would make it easier to gain funding from the government and other development institutions for company owners.

This will open them up to wider markets and more prospects for the business. I hope that at this conference, digitization and sustainability will take center stage.

“The GWES takes place in collaboration with the Young Africa Works Project of the Mastercard Foundation on the theme:” Ghana Woman Entrepreneurs, the backbone of economic resilience.
Source: GNA


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