A total of 8,000 micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in Ghana, Kenya and Senegal have been selected to benefit from a $1.69 million recovery package to enable them to navigate commercial challenges created by the pandemic.
The package, to be rolled out soon, is an initiative of Invest In Africa (IIA), a not-for-profit organisation with the vision to create prospering African economies, in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation.
“The ‘Business Advisory and Support Programme’, with a commitment of $1.69 million from the Mastercard Foundation COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Programme, aims to restore local economies by creating more sustainable businesses and generating work opportunities for Africa’s young people,” a statement issued by the IIA and signed by its Marketing Lead in Ghana, Ms Tina Boadi, said.
Dated July 16, 2020, the statement explained that the programme would support businesses and young entrepreneurs to build immediate and long-term resilience through online learning resources, provide guidance on accessing markets and finance, and foster greater inclusion of young people, particularly young women.
“The programme consists of two components and will run until June 2022. The first is a virtual training programme, an expansion of IIA’s ‘COVID-19 SME Survival Toolkit’, which will enable an additional 8,870 MSMEs in Ghana, Kenya and Senegal to access online masterclasses, peer-to-peer sessions and a repository of practical guides,” it said.
It added that the second component of the programme would provide Ghanaian SMEs with technical support and enhance business linkages in the manufacturing, agriculture, extractive and ICT sectors where there were supply shortfalls. These SMEs will also be supported in building relationships with lenders and investors.
The statement quoted Mr Francis Kofigah, the Managing Director of Dough Man Foods, a local Ghanaian doughnut bakery and beneficiary of the Business Advisory and Support Programme, as saying, “I am excited about Invest in Africa and the Mastercard Foundation’s joint programme because of the new nuggets of wisdom I’m going to pick up that will allow me to strengthen my business and push it to the next level.”
It also mentioned the IIA’s CEO, Mr William Pollen, as saying the survival and continued development of SMEs were critical in restarting economies and resuming their previous positive growth trajectories.
The country director, IIA Ghana, added that cash flow management and liquidity were the most pressing concerns to local Ghanaian businesses “and we are directing our efforts to helping them connect with potential financiers, opening access to around $10 million of capital”.
The Mastercard Foundation’s Regional Director, Western, Central and Northern Africa, Ms Nathalie Akon Gabala, explained, “We are committed to working with partners such as IIA to help mitigate the impact of the pandemic on Africa’s youth and to support economic recovery so that communities can rebuild for the future.”