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Business News of Tuesday, 29 January 2019


Invest in Africa honours SME’s at excellence awards

Successful businesses and individuals were awarded in various categories  on the night Successful businesses and individuals were awarded in various categories on the night

Invest in Africa (IIA), as part of its mechanism to recognize and celebrate businesses has honoured nine Small Medium and Enterprises (SMEs) at the second edition of its SME Excellence Awards in Accra.

The SME Excellence Awards is a platform that showcases and celebrates the achievements of successful businesses and individuals of entrepreneurial excellence, who have experienced IIA’s three benefit platforms; ‘access to skills’, ‘access to markets’, and ‘access to finance’.

The awardees are: Georgette Barnes Limited-Woman Entrepreneur of the year, Agriaccess Ghana Limited- Young Entrepreneur of the year, Ricks Logistics Limited- Business Transformation, and Right Consult and General Supplies Limited-Business Linkage.

The rest are Consolidated Shipping Agencies Limited-Business Technology Growth Award, Liranz Limited- Business Innovation of the year Award, Ricks Logistics Limited- Mentorship Recognition Awards, Right Consult and General Supplies Limited- Scale-up Business of the year Award - the IIA Star Award for Excellence went to AIDEC Holdings Limited, a downstream fuel retailing and petroleum haulage company.

The award was on the theme, “Supporting SMEs – Key to Accelerating Inclusive Growth and Prosperity.”

Mr Kweku Awotwi, the Chief Executive Officer of Tullow Ghana Limited said there was the need to continue to support SMEs to accelerate the growth for the prosperity of the nation.

He said the critical role played by SMEs in the country’s economy could not be overemphasized, adding that 85 percent of SMEs provide employment opportunities and contribute 75 percent to the country’s GDP.

He said Tullow was committed to local content and uses the services of local suppliers in most of their procurement activities.

“Local content has significant input and influence in our procurement processes.

“We currently have 75 percent of contracts in our procurement plan earmarked for indigenous companies and joint ventures between indigenous companies and foreign companies, who can transfer knowledge, skills, experience and technology to the indigenous partners,” he added.

He said “since 2010, Tullow Ghana Limited has invested $15billion on rigs, well development among others and $9.5billion out of the amount was awarded to companies that have joint venture partners in the country.”

Mr. Clarence Nartey, the Country Director of IIA, said there was the need for SMEs to be supported to grow, since they employ between 60-90 percent of Africa’s population and supporting them would enable them contribute more to prospering African Economies.

He said IIA has in the past four years provided $150 million worth of contracts to Ghanaian SMEs registered on the African Partner Pool, $1.2 million worth of credit support to SMEs, trained 230 SME’s and supported 32,000 jobs.

He said going forward, IIA has prioritised six strategic sectors for support as part of its long -term broad-based growth strategy.

These are; Financial Services, Agriculture, Construction, Extractives (Oil, Gas and Mining) and ICT.

“IIA is investing millions of dollars to build the long-term capacity of local suppliers across these sectors in order to drive sustained growth and job creation,” Mr. Nartey said.

He reiterated IIA’s vision 2022 agenda to provide $500 million worth of contracts to SMEs and 100,000 jobs to be created for Ghanaians.

He commended the government for recognising the important role of SMEs play and taking appropriate steps to create the enabling environment for their growth.

“It is great to see that our Government through its 10-point Industrial Transformation Agenda has rightly identified SMEs development and Industrial subcontracting exchange as two key growth pillars”, he added.

Mr. Nartey lauded the effects of the Ministry of Trade and Industry for formulating the Draft National MSME Policy, which is a necessary first step towards creating a true entrepreneurial ecosystem in Ghana.

Dr. Sebastian Okeke, Country Programme Manager for the African Development Bank reiterated the commitment of the Bank to continue to support SMEs through its Fund for Africa Private Sector Assistance programme.

“AfDB has created various instruments to ensure that Africa’s private sector is well equipped to rise above its current challenges,” he said.

Mr. Hector Awaana, the Accounts and Finance Manager of AIDEC Holdings Limited, who received the award, expressed gratitude to management of IIA and its partners for the support being offered to SMEs.

“The training in entrepreneurship we received from IIA has enhanced our operations and we are grateful”, he added.