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23 February 2017

British Council moves to boost capacity of SMEs

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Country Director of BCG, Mrs Liliana Biglou

The British Council Ghana (BCG), a United Kingdom international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations, has launched an initiative aimed at boosting the capacity of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in sub-Saharan Africa.

Dubbed: “Enterprise Africa Summit,” the initiative is the first of its kind, and would assemble captains of industry, policy makers and successful entrepreneurs from across the world to share their practical and in-depth knowledge with young start-ups.

In an interview with the Daily Graphic, the Country Director of BCG, Mrs Liliana Biglou, said the three-day summit slated for March 22-24, 2017 at the Kempinski Hotel in Accra would help to empower and equip entrepreneurs in the sub-region to be more productive.

“Participants would have the opportunity to exhibit their products and services, get business development ideas from seasoned industry players, as well as enjoy mentorship and networking opportunities,” she said.

Entrepreneurship education

Mrs Biglou called for an early introduction of entrepreneurship in the educational curricula in Africa as a means of making entrepreneurship attractive to the youth at an early age.

She said the ballooning numbers of unemployed youth in Africa posed a big challenge to the continent and the world and, therefore, required a more sophisticated approach to lure the youth into SMEs.

“For instance, the United Kingdom’s annual turnover for SMEs is $1.8 trillion, accounting for nearly 47 per cent of all private sector turnovers and translates into 60 per cent of all private sector employment,” she said.

She pointed out that sub-Saharan Africa contributed only three per cent in terms of its gross domestic product to the world but could do more through a robust SMEs industry.

Recent World Bank report on jobs in Ghana revealed that about 48 per cent of the youth in the country between the ages of 15 and 24 did not have jobs.

AGI

At the launch, the Chief Executive Officer of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), Mr Seth Twum-Akwaboah, lauded BCG for initiating such a move, describing it as a ‘ground-breaking initiative’.

He said the business environment in Africa was hostile to SMEs and, therefore, there was the need to develop deliberate policies and programmes to cushion them to continue to thrive and play their role as the engine of growth.

 

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