Invest In Africa (IIA), a non-profit organization, has pledged to make available, USD 500 Mn worth of business opportunities for the Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) in Ghana over the next four years.
This pledge forms part of the organization’s mission to accelerate the growth of SMEs in Ghana, and possibly the rest of Africa. IIA said that the investment would see to the provision of 100,000 jobs across a variety of sectors in the country’s economy.
Clarence Nartey, the Country Director of IIA, who disclosed this information at organization’s 4th-anniversary celebration in Accra, said that IIA had always been committed to the creation of property in the local economies where their operations lie.
According to him, IIA works with a network of cross-sector partners to organize private sector efforts to build local content. He said that the initiative is also aimed at building capacity and skills needed in the local economy for sustained growth and creation of jobs.
Clarence also disclosed that IIA, as a result of the expansion challenges facing SMEs, has chosen to focus on three key needs; providing better access to markets, skills, and finance, all of which are considered by IIA as crucial in the improvement of SMEs’ competitiveness.
On the areas of access to finance, Nartey stated that the aspect had always been a major bottleneck facing SMEs in the country, primarily because lenders are usually skeptical about the ability of these small busi9nesses to repay the loans. In a bid to reverse the trend and improve the fund access chances for SMEs, IIA is working with various banking partners; Ecobank and GCB. According to Nartey, the organization has so far helped in the facilitation of nearly USD 1 Mn of credit support to SMEs.
According to him, 80 percent of the loan requests of value facilitated in the first half of 2018 was approved by IIA’s banking partners – an indication of the quality of SMEs in the organization’s pool, as well as the viability of their businesses.
IIA is also tracking the socio-economic impact and footprint of the organization’s work in the country in a bid to arrive at a better service for SMEs. As a local content provider, IIA follows the money from awarded contracts to ensure it is in the benefit of the local economy, and more than 70 percent of the USD 150 Mn of contracts awarded retained in the country, through household income, savings, profits, and taxes.
IIA has supported 30,000 jobs across 10 sectors, contributing to Ghana’s economic diversification, while partnering to earn a social license to operate in the local economy.