Executive Director of the Ghana Enterprises Agency, Mrs. Kosi Yankey-Ayeh, has disclosed that “SMEs are the engine of growth” in the country.
According to her, the agency has resolved to see how best it can incorporate digital solutions to the drive growth.
Mrs. Yankey-Ayeh further indicated that the MSME sector will receive improved service from a stronger partnership between government and the private sector.
To achieve this, Mrs. Kosi Ayeh averred that the Ghana Enterprise Agency is working to make the sector a stronger pillar in economic growth.
“Many years, many speakers talk about engine of growth but very few people do much about this engine of growth. For us at Ghana Enterprises Agency, our goal is to really see how best we can turn these businesses into engines of growth using digital solution”.
Mrs Yankey-Ayeh averred that the pandemic has rapidly pushed digital solution to build and strengthen the economy. Due to that, most people have to “turn to digitization to find solutions to the problem”.
Government’s digitization programs
The GEA boss further commended government for its digitization programs. This includes the National ID, the digital address system and Land’s records digitization. Mrs. Yankey-Ayeh further noted that it was part of government’s plan in 2017, as “digitizing the economy was key”.
“And you can’t look at it in isolation because they all build on what SME resilience is all about. Without COVID-19, as I mentioned earlier, we would not have really realized the real impact and the need for us to take on and hold on to digital solutions for our businesses”.
Additionally, she stated that digital solutions can be used to integrate the SME sector and accelerate needed growth.
“But we cannot do that in isolation. This is why we are collaborating with organisations including the Association of Ghana Industries to use their database to have a better picture of where the SMEs are”.
Building resilience for businesses
Undoubtedly, the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted lives and economies. That notwithstanding Mrs Yankey-Ayeh revealed that it has taught businesses to be resilient.
She asserted the role of the GEA became more pronounced in ensuring businesses survive during the lockdown season. The agency, she noted, built a digital platform which ensured convenience for businesses to thrive and transact business.
“At the then National Board for Small Scale Industries, we set up a technology platform… that allowed us to register people across the nation”.
“Through this digital platform, we built a database of 900,000 MSME businesses in Ghana. The importance and relevance of that number cannot be underestimated [because] for the first time, technology has allowed us to have a clear view of what businesses exist in Ghana”.
Mrs. Yankey-Ayeh further intimated that the intention of the Ghana Enterprise Agency is for the development of the sector and formalize more businesses.
Meanwhile, the Divisional Head of Retail Banking at Access Bank Ghana, Stephen Abban, revealed that his outfit is always prepared to support the government to build a resilient economy to support SMEs.
“Access Bank has developed many digital solutions for our SMEs customer base and we are happy to welcome them to explore some of these solutions to access cheaper funds”.