Invest In Africa Secures $1 Million Grant For Training

Invest in Africa (IIA) has signed a US$ 1million African Development Bank (AfDB) grant that would enable it support a unique business skills training programme for Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs), in Ghana. The grant to IAA Ghana is being financed with resources made available by the Fund for Africa Private Sector Assistance sponsored by the governments of Japan and Austria. AfDB�s Resident Representative Marie-Laure Akin-Alugbade and Invest in Africa�s Ghana Country Manager, Sam Brandful signed the agreement at a ceremony in Accra. IIA would use the grant provided by the AfDB�s Fund for Private Sector Assistance (FAPA) to implement a Business Linkage Programme designed to upgrade the capabilities of selected SMEs registered on IIA�s recently launched African Partner Pool (APP) online directory. The Business Linkage Programme is the next phase of the APP: an online directory supporting local businesses to gain visibility and connect with international and domestic clients. The three year training programme would focus on creating long-term and sustainable partnerships by ensuring that local businesses are able to deliver to the quality, time and scale required by large companies. The programme would use specialist trainers and IIA Partners, including Ecobank, EY, Ghana Guinness Breweries and AB & David to deliver training followed by management coaching and mentoring tailored to the individual needs of each SME. �By facilitating market development, this training programme will foster SME development and help build competiveness within the industry,� said Mrs Akin-Alugbade. She said the Ghana Business Linkage Programme was designed to nurture mutually beneficial business relationships between large corporate entities operating in the country and about 150 small and medium sized enterprises. Mrs Akin-Alugbade said by increasing the productivity of participating SMES, facilitating market development, and access to finance, the programme would foster SME development and help build their competitiveness and ultimately supporting private sector growth. She said the Linkage Programme would also operate in line with the National Local Content Policy to guarantee active participation of Ghanaian SMEs in oil and gas activities in order to stimulate growth of indigenous capacity. Mrs Akin-Alugbade expressed the hope that participating SMEs would be able to deliver the quality, timeliness and scale required by large companies. Beginning in the second quarter of 2015, a total of 120 successful applicants would be selected from companies already registered on the APP for the programme. Those with fully completed profiles and best able to demonstrate their determination to grow, improve governance structures, and meet international standards would have an increased chance of being selected, she said. Mr Brandful said: �The programme sets the stage for us to build up the capacity of the selected SMEs to position themselves appropriately to be able to increase competitiveness. This would help drive revenue and provide them with a better chance of accessing finance,� he said Invest in Africa would also host a number of best practice forums to share knowledge and experience of IIA�s partners, graduate SMEs, global experts and investors to continue to raise standards, win business and support other Ghanaian SMEs on how to access new markets and finance.