The Women Entrepreneurship for Africa (WE4A) project in Ghana has ended with a call on government to create the needed environment for women-led businesses to thrive.
The two-year project aimed at empowering African women entrepreneurs to foster economic growth and promote gender equality in the entrepreneurship space provided targeted training to 40 women-led businesses selected across the country.
Drawn from sectors including agriculture, clothing manufacturing, e-commerce, arts and craft, and technology, the women also received financial support and partnerships with some leading private sector entities.
The initiative by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, co-funded by the European Union and the Organisation of African, Caribbean, and Pacific States was implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and the Tony Elumelu Foundation.
Speaking at the close-out ceremony in Accra yesterday, the Cluster Coordinator, Sustainable Economic Development, GIZ Ghana, Gerald Guskowski, said women economic empowerment remains a very important issue for Africa, especially seeing that they are more economically active in Africa than anywhere else in the world, according to the ILO World Employment and Social Outlook Report (2019).
He said women have historically been underrepresented in formal employment, and while participation is increasing, there are persistent constraints faced by women in the labour market, including unequal access to education and skill.
“For the WE4A, the overall objective is to increase the economic inclusion and empowerment of women in order to create more decent jobs in African economies.
Specifically, it is targeted to increase the number of African women entrepreneurs who have enhanced business capacities, have access to formal financial services, are integrated into local and regional value chains, and contribute to employment creation in their communities,” he said.
He encouraged all stakeholders to continue to join hands to empower women-led enterprises even after the closure of the programme.
“To the 40 women entrepreneurs who have successfully completed this phase of the programme, I congratulate you and encourage you to make the most of everything you have learnt through this intervention, so that you will continue to be shining examples of economically empowered women to your communities,” he said.
Deputy Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Ghana Enterprise Agency (GEA), Anna Armo-Himbson, commended GIZ for the successful implementation of the project.
She expressed satisfaction at the outcome saying the promotion of SMEs is crucial to the attainment of the country’s socio-economic development aspirations.
Ms Armo-Himbson affirmed the agency’s commitment to partnering development partners to empower more women led businesses in the country.
For this part, the Team leader of the Employment for Skills and Development in Africa (E4D) at GIZ Ghana, John Duti, said the WE4A project achieved its success of empowering women entrepreneurs through comprehensive training in capacity building, bookkeeping, and investor readiness among others.
He said the women entrepreneurship programme also equipped the 40 businesses with various tools to enhance their growth adding; “these businesses have now collectively secured 217 jobs and created 103 new jobs.”
As part of the close-out event, beneficiaries shared their experiences, including their journey, opportunities, challenges, and valuable lessons acquired under the programme.