The National AfCFTA Coordination Office (NCO) in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have commenced an intensive sensitization of Micro-, Small- and Medium-Scale Enterprises (MSMEs) as part of their Market Expansion Project aimed at harnessing the full benefit of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
The collaboration also forms part of UNDP’s Integrated MSMEs support Programme, which is a commitment to support governments recovery efforts and support to MSMEs trade effectively under the AfCFTA.
This was disclosed during a capacity-building training for medium-sized enterprises in Paga as part of NCO’s mandate of assessing the readiness of 180 local companies’ export potential and supporting at least 50 SMEs to export under the AfCFTA regime.
The training provided business development services such as mentorship, good corporate governance, increased citizen engagement to prevent radicalization and energy efficiency capacity enhancement, and access to finance.
Speaking to Citi News, Programme officer at NCO, Divine Kutortse, said, government was committed to improving the capacities of SMEs under AfCFTA to create more jobs and increase their income.
“Government through the NCO is committed to mobilizing resources and implementing measures with a view to improving the export capacity of both formal and informal service suppliers with particular attention to micro, small and medium size, women, and youth suppliers.”
“Competitive youth-led firms have the potential to create more and better jobs, and foster production and trade of diversified goods and services across the continent, which, on the one hand, promotes access to a wide range of goods and services and increased income, thus ultimately improving the lives of the African people”.
According to the UNDP, more than 70% of cross-border traders are women and youth and most of whom were significantly and negatively impacted by COVID-19 pandemic. This was revealed by a COVID-19 Business Tracker survey, conducted by the Ghana Statistical Service supported by the UNDP and the World Bank, to ascertain the impact of the pandemic on their operations.
Edem Attor, a Partnerships Officer, UNDP says as a result of this, they are committed to supporting government recovery effort for MSMEs through an integrated and inclusive MSMEs support programme which is strengthening capacity for good corporate governance and creating awareness to prevent radicalization. The integrated support programme is also providing business development services support including energy and resource efficiency capacity, access to finance and training on the AfCFTA.
“UNDP and partners will continue to strengthen the capacity of MSMEs to accelerate their business growth beyond Ghana and to the One Africa market to drive a sustained and resilient economy.” Ms Attor stated.
Kassena-Nankana West District Chief Executive, Gerald Ataoge, was optimistic the training of MSMEs in the area will afford them the requisite soft skills and knowledge to expand their businesses and market share under AfCFTA to improve their livelihood and create jobs to reduce unemployment in the area.