The Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA), the European Union (EU) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) successfully launched the third phase of the Business Sector Advocacy Challenge (BUSAC) Fund on September 20, 2017.
Present at the meeting were dignitaries including the Danish Ambassador to Ghana, H.E. Tove Degnbol; the EU Ambassador to Ghana, H.E. William Hanna; the USAID Ghana Mission Director, Sharon L. Cromer; the Minister for Labour and Employment Relations, Hon. Ignatius Baffour-Awuah; Chief Director of the Ministry of Business Development, Mr. Joe Tackie and the Vice Chairman of the BUSAC Fund Steering Committee, Mr. Prince Obeng.
Among key activities at the event was the signing of a joint cooperation agreement by the Fund’s three development partners (DANIDA, USAID and EU) who have committed an amount of USD 19 million to fund the third phase of the BUSAC Fund programme which is aimed at supporting private sector business advocacy initiatives in Ghana.
To officially mark the commencement of the Fund’s grant making processes, the Fund presented grant awards in the form of dummy cheques to four business associations namely the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), CUTS Accra, Tour Operators Union of Ghana (TOUGHA) and Black Star International Film Festival (BSIFF).
As a component under DANIDA’s Support to Private Sector Development Phase III programme, BUSAC III, which runs from July 2016 to December 2020, will foster an improved business environment for the Ghanaian private sector. BUSAC III also complements the support provided by the EU in Ghana to boost technical and vocational training and job creation through the Ghana Employment and Social Protection programme.
In a speech read on his behalf at the Launch of BUSAC III in Accra, the Minister for Business Development, Mr. Ibrahim Awal, commended DANIDA, the EU and USAID for supporting the third phase of the BUSAC Fund programme. Mr. Awal further stated that the BUSAC Fund programme is playing a significant role in shaping government’s policies towards the Ghanaian private sector.
“Data which has been generated in the first and second phases of the BUSAC Fund programme will be of immense benefit to government and will help to shape government policies”, Mr. Awal remarked.
He further pointed out that the BUSAC Fund had significantly enhanced the advocacy skills of the Ghanaian private sector, thus enabling the sector to demand better services from public sector organizations.
The Minister for Employment and Labour Relations, Mr. Ignatius Baffour-Awuah, lauded the timely introduction of the BUSAC Fund by the development partners, saying that the Fund’s interventions had assisted the government to bridge the gap between the private and public sectors.
He emphasized that the Ministry was committed to supporting the BUSAC III programme as it was in line with the government’s vision of tackling the unemployment problem in the country.
“As a government, we need a very strong private sector to provide the needed jobs for the public, so government is prepared to create the enabling environment for businesses to thrive,” he said.
The Danish Ambassador to Ghana, H. E. Tove Degnbol pointed out that DANIDA’S support for the BUSAC Fund formed part of the Danish government’s efforts to develop the Ghanaian private sector, adding that the Fund had helped to create vibrant Private Sector Organizations that are helping to create employment for the youth.
Ms. Degnbol further stated that the Danish Embassy had been encouraging Danish companies to explore opportunities to do business with the Ghanaian private sector. The Ambassador then hinted that the Queen of Denmark will visit Ghana in November as part of efforts to strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries.
The EU Ambassador to Ghana, H.E. William Hanna also indicated that the EU had scaled up its support to the BUSAC Fund from three to seven million Euros in the third phase.
He mentioned that the BUSAC Fund had helped to transform businesses of beneficiary associations across the country, indicating that the Fund had shown that the public and private sector could collaborate to create an enabling business environment for the growth of the Ghanaian private sector.
In her remarks, the USAID Ghana Mission Director, Ms. Sharon L. Cromer stated that the BUSAC Fund was an excellent example of a development programme which harmonises the efforts of development partners and promotes effective service delivery.
The Fund Manager, Mr. Nicolas J. Gebara, pointed out that the third phase of the BUSAC Fund programme was designed to consolidate gains made in the first and second phases of the Fund to foster an improved business environment for the private sector.
He indicated that over the past 10 years, the Fund had provided more than 780 grants worth over $40 million to various private sector organizations across the country. He noted that these grants had yielded some remarkable results, such as the “Unity and Progressive Women Farmers’ Co-operative Society Limited which successfully advocated women’s access to arable farmlands in the Ghana’s Upper West Region.”
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