Invest in Africa (IIA), a private sector initiative to develop local enterprises, has secured the partnership of African Development Bank (AfDB) to train 150 small and medium enterprises in Ghana to enable them to secure contracts with multinationals operating in the country or Africa.
The SMEs are those prequalified and approved by the Africa Partner Pool (APP), an online directory of credible Ghanaian businesses from across sectors by IIA, to match them with multinationals/big companies to facilitate transactions among them.
The APP Manager, Mr Benjamin Yaw Manu, who disclosed this to the GRAPHIC BUSINESS after the launch of the platform, said the initiative as well as the training and mentoring associated would prepare local SME adequately to participate competitively in international contracts competitively and can increase the country’s local content in the private sector.
“AfDB will help improve the capacity of businesses in Ghana and West Africa and help to close the skills gaps of the SMEs on the APP, whom we have prequalified, verified and validated to live up to the bill and demands of these international companies,” APP manager said.
So far, 200 Ghanaian businesses ranging from light industry, manufacturing, procurement and logistics are registered on the platform, while 240 others are in the process of completing registration formalities.
The launch saw a wide retinue of business executives and representatives of public sector collaborators. Service and product buyers on the platform include UT Bank; AB & David Law, Vodafone and Ecobank.
The list also includes Tullow Plc, which was instrumental in the formation of IAA, Lonrho, Ernest and Young; Clyde & Co; General Electric, DHL and Newmont. The Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) is also a partner of IIA.
Local businesses registered on the APP will have a profile page to promote their business on, while international and domestic companies will be able to use a search tool to help them find suppliers with the qualifications, experience and standards they need.
A tender’s notice board will also feature buyers’ tenders from across sectors, giving local businesses greater visibility of opportunities.
The platform cuts across agribusiness, financial services, oil and gas, information technology (IT) and the training will cut across management and skills, depending on the needs of the SMEs.= Partners
The Chief Executive of GIPC, Mrs Mawuena Trebarh, expressed confidence in Ghanaian companies. “Ghanaian businesses are more than able to produce internationally competitive products and services. Examples abound but I will mention just one – Soft Tribe.”
Soft Tribe, an indigenous software development company, developed the APP which brings buyers and local sellers together to understand themselves better.
Mrs Trebarh encouraged SMEs to register on the platform and thanked Tullow, Invest in Africa and their partners for investing in APP.
“The African Partner Pool is the core of IIA’s work in Ghana. This directory will assist local suppliers promote their businesses and increase their ability to tender more competitively. It will also help them to access training and support from Invest in Africa’s Partners and the African Development Bank to build capacity and grow their businesses,” Ghana Country Manager of Invest In Africa, Mr Sam Brandful, said.
APP was developed in response to a survey dubbed “David and Goliath: Creating a level playing field for Ghanaian SMEs”, which the IIA commissioned in early 2014. The survey was to understand the obstacles faced by local and international companies and subsequently devise solutions to create and support local market growth.
According to the research, international companies seeking local partners faced difficulty identifying validated local SMEs from which to procure goods and services. Whereas, according to the survey, nearly eight in 10 SME managers reported facing obstacles when trying to win contracts from international companies, due to a lack of access to information about the international companies’ procurement activities.
About 92 per cent of companies registered with Ghana’s Registrar-General’s Department are said to be SMEs.
They are estimated to provide about 85 per cent of manufacturing employment, contributing about 70 per cent to the country’s total productivity (GDP), and therefore have catalytic impacts on economic growth, income and employment.
source : Graphic Online