Vice-President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia yesterday opened the World Business Angels Investment Forum (GBAF) office in Accra, to empower and finance start-ups, innovators and small and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs) in the country to scale up.
The office, the first to be established in the West African sub-region, will interact and engage with a wide range of institutions, including public and private, local and international and commercial and academic, to ensure economic development and help shape the global agenda.
The WBAF is an affiliate partner of the G-20 Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion (GPFI), an international organisation with the objective of supporting businesses and entrepreneurs to easily access finance and generate more jobs for the youth.
An agreement signalling the establishment of the office was signed by the Minister of Business Development, Dr Ibrahim Mohammed Awal, on behalf of Ghana while chairman of the board of WBAF, Baybars Altuntas signed for his company.
An affiliated partner of the G20 Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion (GPFI), the World Business Angels Investment Forum is committed to collaborating globally to empowering the economic development of the world.
Speaking at the event, Vice-President Dr Bawumia has reiterated government’s determination to digitise the economy as a means of driving up social capital.
He said that as part of government’s aim of ensuring a total digitisation of the economy, all government databases would be integrated by the end of March 2020.
This, he said, should help remove the lack of trust which has hampered the access of startups to banking facilities, which are crucial to their growth and expansion.
The Vice-President said the opening of the WBAF country office was timely as the WBAF is uniquely placed to help raise finance for businesses.
To facilitate the government’s plan of integrating of databases, the government will from August 8 deploy between 15,000 and 20,000 members of the Nation Builders’ Corps to tag about four million homes on the digital address platform.
According to Dr Bawumia, “We have failed since independence to build up social capital. Before, our ancestors trusted each other to engage in barter trade. Today, we cannot have that. So we will build a system which will be transparent and trustworthy. Already, we have piloted a system of revenue generation which has no human intervention and that saw revenue shoot up fourfold. It tells you the money was there, but it going somewhere.
“As a government, we are delighted that our commitment to make Ghana the preferred investment destination for investment is beginning to yield positive fruits.
“The Ghanaian entrepreneurial spirit is not in doubt, and the Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo government will continue to implement policies to create an investor-friendly environment for business start-ups and facilitate scale ups,” he added.
Chairman of the Board of WBAF, Baybars Altuntas said that the challenge of entrepreneurs today is greater than those of the past, as in the past, there was a ready market for new products, but due to the competitive nature of the start-up world, only truly innovative ideas break out of the pack.
He was, however, quick to stress the importance of innovators to the sustenance of any economy, as “innovation brings new jobs, and taxes”.
In spite of the crucial role that they play in keeping the economies of states healthy, he regretted that most entrepreneurs face financial challenges.
However, the GBAF was ready and prepared to partner and support inventors with innovative ideas that could create opportunities and provide more jobs for the masses.
He lauded Ghana government for creating a business-friendly environment for investors and businesses to thrive, saying that the nation was on the right path to economic success.
Business Development Minister, Dr Awal, who was instrumental in attracting WBAF to establish a country office, said that the financiers of WBAF committed $50 billion annually, of which Africa only gets 1%.
He expressed hope that the establishment of its first office in the West African sub-region would be the start of a new era.
He was of the belief that the GBAF Office in the sub-region would create more opportunities for young entrepreneurs and innovators to access finance to scale up.