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African Development Bank (AfDB) on Wednesday, November 26, 2014 signed a US $1 million Fund for Africa Private Sector Assistance (FAPA) grant agreement with Invest in Africa (IIA) to support a three-year Business Linkage Program in Ghana.
Multinational Corporations/SME Business linkages are potentially one of the fastest and most effective ways of upgrading African domestic enterprises, facilitating the transfer of technology, knowledge and skills, improving business and management practices and facilitating access to finance and markets.
Under the AfDB/FAPA Ghana Business Linkage Program, IIA, an independent non-profit organization established to actively develop investment in Africa, launched in London and Accra on October 23 and October 28, respectively, an initiative known as the African Partner Pool (APP). The APP is an online data base of local suppliers/businesses across sectors that can use the platform to gain visibility and be connected with potential foreign and domestic clients. Sam Brandful, Ghana manager of IIA, who signed on behalf of IIA, commented, “Foreign investors working in Africa need local businesses as partners and service providers. Through our commitment to responsible investment and local capacity, the APP initiative will provide a credible platform to connect Ghanaian businesses with international companies.”
The AfDB/FAPA grant will mainly be used to upgrade Ghanaian SMEs skills, governance and operations, enabling them to be effectively integrated into the value chains of multinational corporations as suppliers and be eligible for financing from partnering banks such as UT Bank Ghana and Ecobank. It is envisaged that the Ghana business linkage program will increase economic activity and development of trade through increased demand for locally produced goods and services, translating into additional income and employment generation.
Marie-Laure Akin-Olugbade, AfDB Resident Representative in Ghana, who signed on behalf of the Bank, said, “By facilitating market development, the Business Linkage Program will foster SME development and help build SME competitiveness. It will indeed create synergies and value achieved through collaboration and strategic alliances with non-indigenous firms.”
FAPA is a multi-donor thematic trust fund that provides grant funding for technical assistance and capacity building to support implementation of the Bank’s Private Sector Development Strategy. The Governments of Japan and Austria, and the African Development Bank are active contributors to the fund, which to date has provided over US $50 Million to 51 projects in 38 countries across the African continent. The FAPA portfolio includes regional and national projects aimed at improving the business environment, strengthening financial systems, building private sector infrastructure, promotion of trade and development of micro, small and medium enterprises. For more information, visit http://www.afdb.org/en/topics-and-sectors/initiatives-partnerships/fund-for-african-private-sector-assistance/enhanced-private-sector-assistance-for-africa-epsa-initiative/ or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.