29 Dec

Experts discuss land governance to increase agricultural investment

Representatives of farmers and of civil society organisations, providers of small, low-interest loans and Rwanda government officials met this Tuesday in Kigali to discuss how to mainstream land governance in agricultural strategies and plans

KIGALI, Rwanda, December 22, 2016/APO/ —

Land in Africa has become the safest asset for those with spare funds to invest.  With its growing population, Rwanda, like many other countries on the continent, has also been attracting progressively more property developers to construct thousands of houses, and thus address its urban housing challenges.

Under the land use consolidation-farming model, a policy implemented in 2008, the government of Rwanda has also been seeking to increase agricultural land and intensify its production. According to the government statistics, the agricultural land increased from 28,016 Ha in 2008 to 502,916 Ha in 2011.

Representatives of farmers and of civil society organisations, providers of small, low-interest loans and Rwanda government officials met this Tuesday in Kigali to discuss how to mainstream land governance in agricultural strategies and plans.

The meeting was organized by the Land Policy Initiative – an joint initiative of the UN Economic Commission (ECA), African Union Commission (AUC), and the African Development Bank (AfDB)- in partnership with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Government of Rwanda.

The participants discussed the project to mainstream Land Policy and Governance into the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP), a continent-wide project that seeks to strengthen inter-institutional collaboration on land reform programs, secure land rights, provide equal access to land, and promote responsible agriculture investments to advance agricultural and rural transformation.

According to LPI, Rwanda was chosen as one of six pilot countries to implement CAADP because it provides a great example of how land governance issues can be addressed. Other countries in the initiative are: Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Malawi and Tanzania.

“By conceptualizing an agriculture programme that has the securing of land rights and the consolidation of land use at its core, Rwanda has not only enhanced agricultural productivity but also harnessed economies of scale and  improved market access and incomes,” said Andrew Mold, Acting Director of ECA in Eastern Africa.

The CAADP project is expected to raise awareness and build the capacity of African countries to better address land governance concerns and support agricultural investment plans.

Distributed by APO on behalf of United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA

23 Dec

Benin invests in publicising its investment opportunities

Benin – a small, French-speaking, west African nation that borders Nigeria – is looking to attract foreign investment with its recently launched “Revealing Benin” programme. The aim is to transform the country’s economy through public-private partnership investments totalling €13.78bn (US$14.42bn) – the largest in its history. Sixty-one percent of this is expected to come from foreign and national private investors, with the government contributing the remaining 39%.

To assist in showcasing some of the country’s strengths and investment opportunities to international investors, the Benin government has hired the London-headquartered political consultancy and public relations agency, Portland Communications. The agency was founded by a former adviser to Tony Blair, and has experience working for different governments globally.

Some of the strengths Benin hopes to publicise are its geostrategic position (the country is situated in the Gulf of Guinea with access to the Atlantic Ocean), its agricultural opportunities and its untapped tourism potential. The country is looking to set itself apart from west African heavyweights like Ghana and Nigeria, both of which have been major destinations for foreign direct investment (FDI) regionally. For instance, FDI flows into Benin in 2014 totalled an estimated $377m, compared to $4.9bn in Nigeria for the same year.

“Benin benefits from several strong but under-exploited assets, and the objective of the programme is to make more value out of them,” says Benin’s minister of foreign affairs and cooperation, Aurelien Agbenonci.

About €10.8bn (US$11.30bn) of the total investment will be directed towards 45 major projects. These include the government’s plans to position the Pendjari National Park in north-western Benin as west Africa’s leading park. In addition, the government wants to upgrade its international airport in the country’s economic capital, Cotonou, and connect it to the city via an expressway. It also plans to create the International City of Innovation and Knowledge (CIIS) to promote centres of excellence in areas such as scientific research, entrepreneurship and higher education.

According to Agbenonci, the country’s infrastructure deficit also offers investment opportunities.

“The country’s need for infrastructure – such as new energy sources, nearly 200km of new roads, a national water supply network, and optic fibre coverage – offer unchartered territory for investors,” he says.

22 Dec

USAID Expands Farm Service Center Network

20 entrepreneurs and farmers’ cooperative unions to open new farm service centers in Ethiopia’s four main regions with financial support from the Feed the Future Ethiopia Commercial Farm Services Project

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, December 21, 2016/APO/ —

The U.S. Agency for International Development joined the Ethiopia Agricultural Transformation Agency, and the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources today to award grants to 10 private entrepreneurs and 10 farmers’ cooperative unions that will help them to establish farm service centers. Each recipient will receive a grant worth $50,000 to establish a center in their area—seven are in Oromia, six in Amhara, four in SNNP, and three in Tigray. Together with the six farm service centers already opened with U.S. assistance in the Oromia region, this will bring the total number of centers to 26. Farm service centers are one-stop shops where smallholder farmers can get advice, receive training and purchase quality, reasonably-priced, region-appropriate seeds, fertilizers and other supplies to increase production.

“The farm service centers serve as a model for expanding farm supply and service networks in Ethiopia and other nations of Africa,” said USAID Mission Director Leslie Reed. “Based on our past success, it is easy to see how the model will improve smallholders’ productivity, food security and income by nurturing the development of sustainable, private-sector driven agricultural supplies and services.”

Gizachew Sisay, project team leader, noted, “The grant award is one mechanism to encourage private investment into the agriculture sector.” He further indicated, “The fact that grantees are also expected to contribute at least 50 percent of the cost of establishing the farm service centers is a key element of effective public-private partnership in driving agricultural growth.”

The 20 new grants, totaling ETB 22 million ($1 million), are being awarded through the Feed the Future Ethiopia Commercial Farm Services Project, which has been implemented by the Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation Agency since 2015 in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources with technical support from Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture (CNFA). The three-year project provides grants and training to rural entrepreneurs, both men and women, to create Ethiopian-owned retail farm supply and service centers.

The Feed the Future Ethiopia Commercial Farm Services Project follows USAID’s successful Commercial Farm Services Program, implemented by CNFA from 2012 to 2014, which established six locally-owned, private retail and farm service businesses in the Oromia Region. The existing farm service centers already serve more than 30,000 farmers, have leveraged more than $3.2 in new private sector investments, and created more than 50 jobs.

Feed the Future is the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative. Through Feed the Future, USAID is helping vulnerable households increase economic activities and become more food secure.

Distributed by APO on behalf of U.S. Embassy Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

21 Dec

Lagos to host CashlessAfrica Expo 2017

CashlessAfrica Expo 2017: Industry thought leaders from more than 40 countries to address “The future of finance” at the Lagos Oriental Hotel, Lagos – Nigeria, March 22 – 23, 2017

LAGOS, Nigeria, December 21, 2016/APO/ —

Digital disruption is shifting the balance stay of power in financial services and influencing the way, millions of people bank their money, make payments, remittances and more, in a continent where mobile phone penetration exceed bank accounts and bank cards ownership, combined.

Africa’s highly regulated financial industry now needs to adapt itself to the on-going disruptions in the Fintech space and the increasing demands of young and energetic customers which represent a significant percentage of the continent’s population.

The CashlessAfrica (www.CashlessAfrica.com) conference is a platform for financial services supply side actors to share their innovation, rethink their current models and gain valuable market insight of the African digital financial services market.

The conference agenda, keynote and interactive sessions will focus on carefully selected topics such as:

  • The digital bank and evolution in a Competitive market;
  • The Future of banking, money and payments in Africa;
  • Disruptive technologies and their impact on Financial Services in Africa;
  • Balancing regulation against innovation;
  • Remittances in the digital age;
  • Fintechs and Banks: Collaboration or Competition;
  • Protecting the customer in a digitalized economy.

New for 2017, the expo will host a Hackathon session which will drive collaboration to co-create solutions to compelling financial services challenges across Africa and the CashlessAfrica champion awards, given to organizations that have made a significant contribution to the digital financial services industry in Africa.

Speakers already signed up from Helix institute, Pwc Nigeria, Oradian, Millicom, Voguepay, Barclays Bank, Musoni, Wallettec, Konga, Redcloud, TransferTo, Chamsmobile, ConnectAfrica, Hormuud Telecoms, Impala pay and M-paya.

Join them and 30 other thought leaders to learn about the future of Fintech, mobile financial services, remittance and digital financial services at CashlessAfrica 2017 in the energetic city of Lagos, the economic capital of Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy.

Media Contact:
West Ekhator

Distributed by APO on behalf of CashlessAfrica.

20 Dec

U.S. Provides Grants for 20 New Farm Service Centers to Help Ethiopian Farmers

Farm Service Centers are one-stop-shops where farmers can get advice, receive training and purchase quality, reasonably-priced, region-appropriate seeds, fertilizers and other supplies to increase production

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, December 20, 2016/APO/ — Please join Feed the Future, the United States Government’s Global Hunger & Food Security Initiative, the Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA) and Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture (CNFA) for a grant award ceremony on December 21, 2016.

Through grants totaling 22 million birr, the United States will support 10 private entrepreneurs and 10 farmers’ cooperative unions to open 20 farm service centers (FSCs) in four regional states. The 20 new centers are in addition to six centers already opened in the Oromia region. Farm Service Centers are one-stop-shops where farmers can get advice, receive training and purchase quality, reasonably-priced, region-appropriate seeds, fertilizers and other supplies to increase production.

You are invited to cover the ceremony:

Date: Wednesday, December 21, 2016 at 03:00 PM
Venue: Elilly Hotel   

Please RSVP to Zelalem Befekadu (091-150-9522) or Rahel Zewdu (096-128-4012).

Distributed by APO on behalf of U.S. Embassy Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

19 Dec

Africa Human Development Report 2016

The United Nations Development Programme and UN Women jointly launched the Africa Development Report 2016 under the theme “Advancing Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in Africa” in Juba on Monday. The event brought together government ministers, civil society, academia, and the private sector for an interactive panel discussion on the key findings of the report and how they apply to South Sudan.

“It is true that no nation can fully develop without harnessing the energies of its men and women. Indeed you cannot win a game with only half of your team playing,” said UNDP Country Director Kamil Kamaluddeen in remarks delivered on behalf of the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, and UNDP Resident Representative Eugene Owusu. “Our perspective is that gender inequality from the standpoint of human development is addressed by improving women’s capabilities and opportunities and contributing to better outcomes for present and future generations.”

The marquee panel to examine the Africa Human Development Report’s findings in the context of South Sudan featured insights from Minister of Roads and Bridges Hon. Rebecca Joshua Okwachi, Minister of General Education and Instruction Hon. Deng Deng Hoc, Executive Director of Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO) Mr. Edmund Yakani, Director Operations of Equity Bank and author of “Impact of Political Stability on Economic Development: Case of South Sudan”  Dr. Addis Ababa Othow, and the Director for the Institute for Transformational Leadership at the University of Juba Dr. Angelina Mattijo-Bazugba.

The panelists fielded questions and comments from university students, members of Parliament, and fellow academics and civil society leaders on implications of the report on the policies currently shaping the lives of women and girls in South Sudan.

“When you empower women, you empower women in all spheres of development,” said Dr. Bazugba, underscoring that gender equality is a critical accelerator and enabler of all development, however, “In South Sudan, we have brilliant policies [to accelerate gender inequality] but we lack implementation.”

The panellists supported the report’s call for increased collection of gender disaggregated data for improved decision-making, informed policy change and mid-course correction.

“As civil society, we need to do more than just talk. We need to walk the walk,” said Mr. Yakani, emphasizing the role of civil society to catalyze implementation of government policies, and specifically sited support for building critical infrastructure necessary for rural girls to attend and complete primary and secondary school education.

“Primary education should be compulsory and free, for boys and for girls. People who resist sending girls to school should be brought to justice according to the law,” said Minister of General Education and Instruction Hon. Deng Deng Hoc, further stressing that education leads to a pathway of economic empowerment and allows South Sudanese citizens to move beyond a cycle of subsistence living.

Minister of Roads and Bridges Hon. Rebecca Joshua Okwachi declared participation, inclusion and ownership as keys to empowering women in South Sudan. Hon. Rebecca also seconded a proposal for a database of current and past female leaders in South Sudan.

“Don’t dump your history,” said Hon. Rebecca. “South Sudan did not start today. We have done a lot [in South Sudan] in terms of women leadership. Women sitting here will testify to what we have done. Where are these leaders who came before us? We need to have a database, so we can learn and have access to information about them.”

“Supporting women in business and providing access to finance is an empowerment process which will lead to improvement of women’s contributions in their own economic and social prosperity as well as of their country,” said Dr. Othow. “Equity Bank has continued to innovatively develop entrepreneurial capacity aimed at empowering women businesses to grow to regional markets.”

Deputy Country Representative of UN Women Lansana Wonneh grounded the discussion in an overview of the status of women’s empowerment in South Sudan.

“South Sudan has made significant strides in creating a legal, policy and institutional frameworks promote gender equality,” said Mr. Wonneh. “But, efforts to end the systematic discrimination against women and girls can only be fruitful when these frameworks are translated into concrete actions. The event to launch the 2016 African Human Development Report in South Sudan is therefore hoped to serve as a renewed call for a sustained positive action by both the duty bearers and rights holders”

The Africa Human Development Report 2016 finds gender inequality is costing sub-Saharan Africa on average US$95 billion a year, peaking at US$105 billion in 2014 – or six percent of the region’s GDP – jeopardizing the continent’s efforts for inclusive human development and economic growth, according to the report.

The report proposes four strategic pathways to greater gender equality and women’s empowerment – adopting legal reforms, building national capacity to accelerate women’s involvement in decision-making, adopting multi-sectoral approaches in promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment, and accelerating women’s ownership of assets and management of resources.

“We need to commit to deliver gender-disaggregated data and gender analysis as an organizing principle to enhance human capabilities and create conditions for human development, including ending the conflict and revitalizing the different sectors of economy,” said UNDP Senior Economic Advisor Mr. Frederick Mugisha, during a presentation of key findings of the report.

The launch of the Africa Human Development Report 2016 builds upon UNDP and the Government of South Sudan’s unveiling of the first-ever National Human Development Report earlier this year. That report found gender inequality in South Sudan specifically contributes to a 19.5% loss in the country’s overall human development index value.

Human development is about expanding human choices – the richness of human life, rather than simply the richness of economies. This idea focuses on people, and their capabilities and opportunities. UNDP’s Human Development Reports use this approach to analyze some of the most pressing challenges facing humanity to achieve sustainable progress. This is the second-ever Africa Human Development Report, following the inaugural report in 2012.

Distributed by APO on behalf of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

16 Dec

Dialogue on Democracy, Human Rights and Governance in Africa

The event was held in Arusha, Tanzania, jointly by the AU Organs with a human rights mandate

ARUSHA, Tanzania, December 14, 2016/APO/ —

The High Level Dialogue (HLD) was part of the celebrations of 2016 as the Year of Human Rights in Africa with Particular Focus on the Rights of Women. The event was held in Arusha, Tanzania, jointly by the AU Organs with a human rights mandate. The Vice President of the United Republic of Tanzania was the guest of honour during the Opening Ceremony.

The opening ceremony of the Fifth Annual African Union (AU) High Level Dialogue (HLD) on Democracy, Human Rights and Governance in Africa: Trends, challenges and prospects held in Arusha, Tanzania from 23-26 November, 2016 was graced by the Vice President of the United Republic of Tanzania, Hon. Samia Suluhu Hassan on behalf of the president of the United republic of Tanzania, H.E Dr. John Pombe Joseph Magufuli. It celebrated under the theme “Reflecting, celebrating and advancing Human and People’s Rights in Africa with a special focus on the Rights of Women” following the AU’s declaration of the year 2016 as the African year of Human Rights with particular focus on the Rights of Women.

The Vice President of the United Republic of Tanzania, Hon. Samia Suhulu Hassan, in her opening remarks, extended words of welcome to the distinguished participants and underlined that, the dialogue comes at an opportune moment when many countries in Africa are at the stage of transforming their economies to middle income economies emphasizing on the importance of incorporating human rights in business. Hon. Samia Suhulu commended the African Union for the achievements that have been attained over the years, particularly in the area of human rights but underscored that “we should not be blinded by these successes and headways, rather we should be able to assess whether they have made significant impact to the majority of our people in the continent.”

Hon. Samia further highlighted that despite the existing intricate correlation between human rights and women rights, Africa still continues to experience, among other things the practice of female genital mutilation and early marriages, few education opportunities, low wages, human trafficking, domestic abuse and gender based violence. She therefore urged all African human rights institutions to continue their efforts in addressing challenges related to the promotion and protection of these rights in order to maintain their relevance.  […]

You can read the full story @IPO

15 Dec

Mining and development in Central Africa: much still to be done

Such is the conclusion contained in an ECA report on “the state of progress and next steps in the implementation of the African Mining Vision in Central Africa”

13 Dec

Crowding the private sector into Africa’s climate action

It is in the enlightened self-interest of African private sector to begin to mobilise investment capital for Africa’s climate action

The global community for climate action was spooked by the November 8 election of Donald Trump as the next President of the United States. The US President-elect had earned the sobriquet of “climate denier,” for his claim that climate change is a hoax. However, there is cautious optimism that his presidency will not overturn the global agenda on climate change. Hopefully, his views on climate change will change and align with reality when he settles into the Oval Office. Policymakers also believe that global climate agreements cannot be reversed easily.
In the meantime, stakeholders are pressing on with formulating strategies for climate change mitigation and adaptation. The 22nd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 22) to the United Nations’ agency on climate change held on November 7 – 18 in Marrakech, Morocco. At the climate talks, Australia, Japan, United Kingdom, Pakistan and seven other countries ratified the December 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. A total of 111 countries, including the United States, China and Member Countries of the European Union ratified the agreement by the time COP 22 concluded.

Since the Paris accord entered into force on November 4th, quite earlier than anticipated, global action against climate change has effectively shifted to strategic programming. Therefore, in Marrakech, Canada, Germany, Mexico and the United States published their plans to significantly decarbonize their economies by 2050. A group of 47 developing nations also committed to running entirely on renewable energy sources “as rapidly as possible.”

Some of the plans are already gaining traction. Investments in renewable energy totalled $286 billion in 2015. This surpassed by 3% the previous high of renewable energy investment achieved in 2011. Data gleaned from Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2016, a joint publication by United Nations Environment Programme and Bloomberg, further revealed that last year, coal and gas-fired electricity generation drew less than half the record investment made in solar, wind and other renewable energy sources.

The trend in renewable energy investment is a mixed bag, even in developing countries. China alone accounted for 55% of total investment last year; Africa’s share was less than 5%. As climate change mitigation is being driven by investment in green energy, Africa is already taking the familiar position at the back seat on the ‘green energy train’.

This was not unanticipated by climate policymakers. Although China is the clear leader in investment in renewables, other developing countries, in particular the low-income countries, are not expected to be able to keep pace without international assistance. But the advanced countries appear to be reneging on their pledges to help finance both mitigation and adaptation frameworks in the developing world, including Africa. This generated some rumblings in Marrakech, with regard to the commitment by the developed countries to raise $100 billion annually by 2020 to support climate actions in developing countries.

Disappointing as this is, the prospects of improvement in international assistance at the required scale are not assuring. One, virtually all the advanced countries have been bedevilled by over half a decade of weak economic growth. This has put investment in infrastructure below ideal levels, suggesting near-term pressure on the fiscal regimes to close the infrastructure gap, create domestic jobs, and boost economic growth.

Two, the economic malaise is also driving populist nationalistic sentiments in Europe and the United States. The backlashes for the emerging isolationist regimes are expected to include decline in international trade, further political uncertainties, shrinking and closed borders, and volatility in financial markets – acting together to further put downward pressure on economic growth and constrict foreign aid.

Three, the developing world has ceased to be monolithic. A handful of the countries have recently made significant economic and financial advances. These countries, including the BRICS economies, and the countries of the Gulf States that have amassed huge reserve savings, are expected to underline their climate strategies by investment. The less fortunate countries will continue to rely on overseas development assistance, although the gap between pledges and delivery will continue to widen. Without a united front, commitment to pledges for climate change mitigation and adaptation will continue to slack, with consequences for vulnerable populations.

Africa that is left behind in the transition to the green economy will be worse off than it is today. As the drive towards decarbonisation gathers pace, Africa’s oil economies will face more intense fiscal challenges. Given the strong link between government balance sheets and private sector balance sheets, this will result in serious constraint for business growth and profit. Therefore, it is in the enlightened self-interest of African private sector to begin to mobilise investment capital for Africa’s climate action.

For starters, the private sector is best suited to take the lead role in innovating climate solutions and green development. In Africa, the frontiers for the innovations are in power and agriculture. These are sectors that have been far less developed, compared to services sectors. Happily, countries including Nigeria have recently enacted reforms in both their power and agriculture sectors. These reforms are geared towards mobilising private sector resources, having relaxed statist control and incentivised investment.

Accordingly, the private sector can leverage reforms that have relaxed the centralisation of the power grid to innovate and finance off-grid electricity solutions. Opportunities for Public Private Partnerships are also opening up as subnational governments are seeking to accelerate improvement in the power sector. These are happening in the region that is well endowed with solar energy and wind resources.

Similarly, various reforms in the agriculture sector have factored the need for climate resilience in national food security policies. But there is significant knowledge gap in Africa’s agriculture which cannot be left to the smallholder farmers and governments to fill. Private investments across the agriculture value-chain are needed to help close the knowledge gap and support adaptation mechanisms in rural farming communities.

Token actions towards building the green economy cannot remain an option for Africa’s private sector. The risks are dangerously stacked. Without adequate climate action, African farmers could lose between 40% and 80% of their croplands for growing grains. Also, the effects of biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation are dire for even urban populations.

But the question remains: how will private sector resources be mobilised? No doubt, significant capacity lies with the African financial institutions, including the development finance banks and to a lesser extent the export credit agencies. But there has been risk aversion and shortage of risk-sharing market instruments. In the Nigerian banking industry, for example, aversion towards risk in agribusiness has hampered funding by financial institutions. And funding pooled at the instance of Central Bank of Nigeria for on-lending to agro-SMEs has historically under-performed. A further drag is the macroeconomic conditions, which are driving interest rates more and more beyond the affordability of agro-entrepreneurs and smallholder farmers.

To unlock private sector funding, therefore, the blockades at both demand and supply sides of the credit market have to be addressed by smarter policies and more faithfulness with implementation. But this will not be enough. There has to be a framework for sharing expertise on the continent. The good news is that such frameworks that pool resources, help to mitigate risk, and share knowledge in mobilising climate actions already exist. At the supra-national level, the African Risk Capacity (ARC) was founded in 2012 as an agency of the African Union with the mandate to finance climate resilience and crisis response.

In line with its mandate, the ARC is planning to roll out an Extreme Climate Facility, which will issue multi-peril, climate change catastrophe bonds. The securitization instruments will bring scale and knowhow to Africa’s climate risk management and climate change adaptation efforts, with tremendous benefits to the agriculture sector. XCF’s catastrophe bonds are expected to attract not only investment from indigenous African banks but also from international financial institutions. One hopes that the XCF will soon be deployed, and the rigorous risk modelling it plans to have in place will serve other market initiatives.

Necessary as it is for Africa to take responsibility for its resilience to climate change and to develop its adaptation mechanisms, the continent should not be denied ‘climate justice.’ The heavily-industrialised countries account for overwhelming proportions of the emissions that are heating the planet and are intensifying climate risks for vulnerable populations in less-industrialised developing countries. This makes the delivery of aid towards adaptation in developing countries quite mandatory. Foreign aid is also required to catalyse market frameworks in developing countries, and secure part of the moral planks on which the much-celebrated Paris accord rest.

Distributed by APO on behalf of Financial Nigeria International Limited.

05 Dec

Political Parties should put Small & Medium Business high on Agenda as Ghana votes

Ghana should also look at how investments in roads, power and telecoms – in partnership with the private sector – might drive growth by lifting productivity; it could also be a way to create opportunities for small businesses through procurement

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, December 5, 2016/APO/ —

The party that emerges as the winner of Ghana’s general election, to be held on 7 December, should seize the opportunity to drive economic growth by creating policies and a legislative environment where business builders can thrive.

That’s according to Magnus Nmonwu , Regional Director for Sage in West Africa, the market and technology leader for integrated accounting, HR & payroll, and payment systems. He says that improving the ease of doing business as well as setting sound macro-economic policies would help to generate GDP growth for the Ghanaian economy. Small & Medium Businesses are an engine for job and wealth creation in several growing economies around the world.

Business-friendly environment

Says Nmonwu: “Ghana has been an exemplary democracy for the past two decades and made some impressive progress in reducing poverty during the last commodities boom. With its sound legal system and a regulatory environment that gives businesses stability, it is one of the most business-friendly countries in sub Saharan Africa.”

“We believe that the time is now ripe for the government to collaborate more closely with the private sector on ways to create jobs and raise income levels. With an estimated 90% of businesses in Ghana being Small & Medium Businesses, this sector generates and drives much of Ghana’s income and employment. Supporting it can rekindle economic growth for the country.”

Nmonwu says that one of Ghana’s most significant economic opportunities lies in diversifying its economic base and boosting exports. Government can support these opportunities through targeted investments in infrastructure, education and vocational training, and small business financing. “We have seen some interesting initiatives in recent years,” he adds. […]

You can read the full story here: SAGE