On Tuesday, 6th October, the President of the Republic, Nana Akufo-Addo and Co-Chair of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and his counterpart, the Prime Minister of Norway and Co-Chair of the UN Sustainable Development Goals launched the “For Better Business Together (4BBT)” program in Accra.
The Program which Ghana is being used as the pilot on the continent of Africa is a collaboration between the Ministry of Business Development in Ghana, the International Chamber of Commerce and its Ghana Office, the Business for Peace Foundation and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).
Speaking on the Eye on Port program following the launch of the “For Better Business Together (4BBT)”, its facilitators indicated that the program will provide an avenue that would help actualize the full potential of young Ghanaian entrepreneurs, help protect and provide the boost for small businesses to transform and grow, as well as reconcile innovative efforts that would help the world meet the 2030 agenda for the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
The program seeks to ensure improvement in the cooperation between public sector and private sector towards enhancing sustainability of businesses.
The Secretary General of the International Chamber of Commerce Ghana, Emmanuel Doni-Kwame revealed that Ghana was chosen in the whole of Africa as a first pilot for the project by the UN at their last General Assembly meeting to look at how best businesses can be supported to grow.
He said it was even more crucial for the allied facilitators of the program to come to the aid of business all over the world, especially in developing countries in the aftermath of the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The objective of the COVID-19 Private Sector Global Facility was to ensure that any stimulus effort would go down to the real economy where it is needed.”
He also disclosed that a digital platform is going to be introduced first quarter of 2021 that would serve as a hub to connect businesses, innovators to global investors.
According to Dr. Frederick Mugisha, the Economic Advisor at the UNDP Ghana, who was also speaking on Eye on Port there are so many investment opportunities investors, as well young entrepreneurs can take advantage of.
“There are opportunities in agriculture, electricity, digital technology and so on,” he said.
He cited for example that, due to increasing need for e-solutions in the educational sector, innovators who can contribute significantly to this objective, stand to benefit.
The Economic Advisor at the UNDP Ghana said one of the main roles of the facilitators of the program is to help young entrepreneurs better conceptualize their business ideas, and use their pull power and experience in industry to attract local and foreign investment for such startups in all sixteen regions of the country.
“Within the SDG investor maps, we would identify investment opportunities and link them with investors, and businesses could take advantage of that.” Dr. Mugisha explained.
He said the 4BBT program is also leveraging on the surveys being conducted by the Ghana statistical service through its business tracker which is assessing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on businesses in order to support businesses that were badly affected.
Mr. Doni-Kwame added that the second phase of the survey will also investigate the influence of the stimulus given by central government during COVID-19 lockdown, to ascertain whether it reached the real economy that needed such boost.
He said now that some SMEs have benefited from government’s stimulus package, it will be appropriate to liaise with the Ghana Revenue Authority to develop a template where SMEs can file their annual returns to allow the tracking the impact of the stimulus packages on businesses.
Dr. Frederick Mugisha also highlighted the need for facilitators of the 4BBT program to influence an economic atmosphere where borrowing for Small and Medium Scale enterprises is less expensive to promote business sustainability.
Touching on the African Continental Free Trade Area, the Economic Advisor at the UNDP Ghana indicated that, it was found from the first phase of the business tracker survey, it was found that there is inadequate education on the benefits of the trade agreement to the ordinary business operator, and according to him, that is worrying.
“What was profound was also that when you explain to them, what it is, about 78% were eager to jump on it because they see it as transformative,” Dr. Frederick Mugisha expressed.
He said it is the aim of the facilitators of 4BBT program to also provide enough information of the AfCFTA, in order to condition young businesspersons’ minds that their market range extends beyond their district or country, as well as the benefits thereof.