THE Initiator/ Lead of Guzakuza, Nana Adjoa Sifa, has said Africa must harness the full potential of women in Agribusiness to help drive economic growth on the continent.
She said investing in their skills, providing access to resources, especially finance, and creating supportive environments, would pave the way for a more sustainable and prosperous future for the continent.
Speaking to the 2023 Women in Agribusiness Week (WAW) in Accra, she said “Women in agribusiness have the inherent potential to lead economic growth, charting the course for the continent’s future and leaving an indelible mark on its overall development.
Join us to empower women, and nurture the growth of agribusiness that will leave an enduring impact in the lives of Africans. We know governments in Africa are doing their best but we want them to do more, we need friendly policies that will enable women agribusinesses to thrive.”
Organised by Guzakuza the week-long conference was held in the theme: “Sustaining African Agribusiness: Leveraging on Digitalisation, AfCFTA, and Climate Resilience for Food Security.”
It aims to strengthen collaborations among women in Agribusiness and stakeholders as well as celebrate their achievements.
Women entrepreneurs play an important part in Ghana's micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) sector, which is the country's economic backbone.
According to the World Bank, women own 44 per cent of MSMEs in Ghana. In terms of formal sector employment, women account for over half of all full-time jobs, and this percentage is likely even higher in the informal sector.
Currently, 85 per cent of economic activity in Africa is carried out in the informal sector where women account for nearly 90 per cent of the informal labor force.
In addition, at least 30-40 percent of total intraregional trade is composed of informal cross-border trade, the overwhelming majority of which, about 60-70 per cent, is accounted for by women who are owners of mainly micro, small and medium enterprises.
In a speech read on her behalf, the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA), Kosi Yankey-Ayeh, said despite the significant contributions, women-led entrepreneurs lag behind their male counterparts due to limited access to finance and non-financial resources, new technologies, information and markets, societal support, time and mobility constraints, information/communication technologies, relevant human resources, and compliance with regulatory procedures.
She said recognizing these constraints and the valuable contributions of women entrepreneurs to the country's entrepreneurial ecosystem, the government of Ghana, through GEA has implemented several initiatives to support and equip these businesses with good business practices, technology, technical support, and access to finance.
“GEA is leveraging its expertise and networks, both nationally and globally, to mobilize relevant resources and develop the entrepreneurial landscape. This empowers women entrepreneurs to access the necessary support for business growth and expansion.
The digitalization of agriculture will transform every part of the agri-food chain, which, in turn, could lead to greater food security, resilience, profitability, and sustainability,” she said.
Mrs Yankey-Ayeh assured MSMEs of GEA’s continuous ability to enable them to have access to resources that will stimulate their growth and help them to produce world-class products and services to compete both locally and internationally.
An awards night was held to climax the activities organised by Guzakuza to celebrate 2023 Women in Agribusiness Week – which included the Women in Agribusiness Forum, Women in Agribusiness Tour and Women in Agribusiness Expo.
According to the awarding board which comprised nine members from various African countries, 750 applications were received across the 19 categories for this year’s awards.
19 women across Africa were honoured for their significant impact on agribusiness in their respective countries.
Seven out of 19 categories were won by Ghanaians who demonstrated dominance that night.
Edith Wheatland, a poultry farmer, received the ultimate award: African Agribusiness Woman of the Year.