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Ghana and Denmark moving to strengthen female entrepreneurship

19.06.2018  11:48
Women entrepreneurs are turning their voices into action. Together with President Nana Akufo-Addo, the ambassador of Denmark, Tove Degnbol, is promoting female entrepreneurship in Ghana.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and Ambassador Tove Degnbol had time to interact during their common support to women entrepreneurship at the GWES. Also in the picture is British High Commissioner Iian Walker.

Supported by Denmark, the first Ghana Women Entrepreneurship Summit (GWES), organized by the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI), was held in Accra on 4-5 June. During the summit, Ambassador Tove Degnbol and President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo emphasized the need to support female entrepreneurship in Ghana, and Tove Degnbol highlighted how Denmark is playing a role by supporting the BUSAC Fund:

“In joint partnership with the BUSAC Fund, NBSSI has initiated a number of actions aiming at enhancing women entrepreneurship in Ghana. This summit represents the fruits of the joint collaboration to strengthen the contribution of women in Ghana's economy,” said Ambassador Tove Degnbol.

The President – very engaged in the matter - stated some of the initiatives that are to strengthen the foundation of women entrepreneurship in Ghana. Among the initiatives, the President was very poignant in declaring that to support women enterprises, the government has instructed the Micro-Finance and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC) to disburse 50 percent of its loans to women engaged in small-scale farming and businesses.

Two examples of entrepreneurship
In her speech, Ambassador Tove Degnbol gave two examples of how women entrepreneurship has excelled in projects supported by Danida.

“I visited Biriwa in the Central Region and met with the Biriwa Market Women Association. Agnes Mensah, one of the traders, explained their advocacy actions supported by the business advocacy fund BUSAC. Their efforts had resulted in the building of a new market”, Tove Degnbol said and continued with another example:

“Madame Swaniker is both an artist and a carpenter and her Art and Design Institute offers courses in craftsmanship skills, in wrought iron arts, and in furniture making.  Her work can be found in a wide range of hotels, private homes, offices and diplomatic missions both at home and abroad. She is defying the odds by embracing as her profession what is traditionally deemed the natural vocation for men. By so doing, she is encouraging young women to aspire to succeed in technical and vocational-related employments.”

One of the many displays from female entrepreneurs present at the GWES.

Female entrepreneurs are meeting many challenges, and Ambassador Degnbol underlined the importance of organising and establishing a dialogue with public authorities to improve the business environment:

“Collective action is important, and it has to be realised that it is a continuous effort to improve the business environment. It is never possible to lean back and celebrate an achievement. A new one comes soon after, and women have to support each other to obtain what they want,” said Tove Degnbol.

1,000 participants at summit
About one thousand participants made up of women entrepreneurs, state officials, and stakeholders within the business community attended the two-day summit, which was organized with the support of BUSAC Fund and its development partners: Danida, USAID, and EU. Also JICA and UKAID supported the summit.

Under the theme ‘Ghanaian Women Entrepreneurs: From Voices to Action,’ the aim of the summit was to open a discussion about methods of enhancing economic empowerment among women entrepreneurs as well as to accelerate their progression globally. Furthermore, the summit provided an opportunity to identify innovative ways of accelerating the success of female entrepreneurs, creating jobs and furthering industrialization.