Germany supports SMEs for improved performance

BY: Maclean Kwofi
 Mr John Duti (left), Team Leader, Invest for Jobs, addressing participants in the event
Mr John Duti (left), Team Leader, Invest for Jobs, addressing participants in the event

The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development has awarded a grant of €100,000 for the training of 90 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Ghana to improve on their competitiveness, including workplace practices.

The grant was made possible through the support of the Management Development and Productivity Institute (MDPI) to build the capacity of SMEs under an initiative dubbed: “Sustaining competitive and responsible enterprises (SCORE)”.

The programme will be implemented in partnership with the German Development Agency (GIZ) as part of an “Invest for Jobs” a programme of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Key objectives

Speaking to the media at the launch of the training programme in Accra yesterday, the Team Leader of Invest for jobs, Mr John Duti, said one of the key objectives of the programme was to enhance the efficiency and competitiveness of SMEs, as well as their job-creation capacity. 

"We are, therefore, excited about this strong partnership with the MDPI and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to achieve these objectives,” he said.

Mr Duti explained that owing to the huge contribution of SMEs to Ghana’s gross domestic product (GDP), the need to make them locally and internationally competitive could not be overemphasised.

He stressed the need to strengthen their resilience against external shocks, especially in times of crisis, as was currently being witnessed in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Industrialisation agenda

The Director-General of  the MDPI, Mr Kweku Odame-Takyi, said the SCORE programme spoke to the government’s industrialisation agenda, as it sought to create a generation of productivity awareness operatives, develop cordial management and staff relationship, as well as ensure workplace safety and security.

He said the MDPI joined the SCORE project in 2013, and that the programme had since trained 250 enterprises, many of which had experienced increased productivity and profit.

"As the ILO exits sponsorship, the BMZ has gracefully joined to provide the needed financial support, for which the MDPI and its implementing partners are most grateful.

"With Germany currently hosting our President, I think our cooperation is well grounded, in line with the existing collaboration between Ghana and the Federal Republic of Germany," Mr Odame-Takyi added.

For his part, the National Coordinator of the ILO in Ghana, Mr Samuel Asiedu, said the organisation and GIZ had had many successful development cooperation projects in the country.

"And so we had high expectations of the collaboration with the MDPI. We believed the MDPI would show leadership and work seamlessly with the other implementing partners (SCORE Training Solutions Ghana, the Sekondi Takoradi Chamber of Commerce and Industries and HoCo Consult) to implement the project successfully.

"The goal is to build enterprises that will do business globally, create jobs and improve the economy of Ghana. We have no doubt they will perform creditably and sustain this partnership with GIZ into the future," he said.

He urged the implementing partners to use the opportunity to further strengthen the existing bond among the governments of Ghana, Germany, Switzerland and Norway.  

SCORE is an ILO global programme which seeks to improve productivity and working conditions in SMEs through practical classroom sessions and in-factory consulting.

It demonstrates best international practices in the manufacturing and services sectors and helps SMEs participate in global supply chains.

Funded by the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), Switzerland, and the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD), SCORE was first introduced in Ghana in 2011.