Mastercard Foundation, in partnership with the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI), an agency under the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MOTI), has announced the creation of an Emergency Program to support micro-small-and-medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) and start-ups in Ghana affected by the Coronavirus pandemic.
The program, known as the NBSSI Mastercard Foundation Recovery and Resilience Program for MSMEs, has an initial commitment of approximately GH¢90 million from Mastercard Foundation and NBSSI, and is in line with government’s support for Ghanaian MSMEs and will receive additional investment from other donors and institutions.
A statement issued in Accra said the Program would focus on supporting MSMEs who need support to survive the COVID-19 pandemic and businesses in growth sectors where the employment of young people, especially young women, will be negatively impacted as a result of business operation disruptions, supply chain challenges, liquidity shortages, declining sales and profits, and business closures.
Other beneficiaries would include businesses providing services that will be in demand during the pandemic and that have the potential to grow and positively impact communities affected by COVID-19 and businesses that will focus on digitization to support MSMEs.
About the programme
The programme will provide financial assistance, in the form of grants and soft loans, through participating institutions including banks, microfinance, mobile lenders, non governmental organisations (NGOs) and Business Development Services, to eligible, qualified micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises, both in the formal and informal sectors.
It indicated that the amount and type of financial support provided to a beneficiary would vary depending on the size of enterprise, their need and repayment capacity.
The statement explained that the creation of the program for MSMEs follows the Foundation’s recent announcement of its West, Central and Northern Regional office opening in Accra to drive its Young Africa Works strategy in the region.
Young Africa Works, developed in consultation with young people, policymakers, educators, and entrepreneurs, is Mastercard Foundation’s strategy aimed at extending dignified work to 30 million young people in Africa, with three million in Ghana and 70 percent of young women, over the next 10 years.
“The effects of COVID-19 are multifaceted and unfolding rapidly. We expect that the prospects of young people in Ghana, and the rest of Africa, will be deeply impacted,” says the and Chief Executive Officer and President of Mastercard Foundation President, Ms Reeta Roy.
“We will continue working with young people to better understand their needs, amplify their voices, and co-create solutions that will enable them to reach their full potential. We are also keenly considering what lessons we can glean during this time to better equip young people for a future in which work will be increasingly digital.”
For her part, the Executive Director of NBSSI, Mrs Kosi A. Yankey-Ayeh, said “MSMEs are always at the heart of the work of NBSSI. It was based on this that the MSME Emergency Program was conceived and set up, and it is the first of a series of interventions outlined to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on MSMEs. This is extremely vital for economic sustainability to support the MSMEs in these challenging times.”
She further stated that “the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, prioritizes supporting the contribution of MSMEs and the need to ensure their survival and growth to reboot the economy in Ghana. This initiative will be enhanced to provide the platform for various partners to support all the interventions that will alleviate the impact of COVID-19 on MSMEs, the backbone of our economy.”
The Mastercard Foundation’s Regional Head for Western, Central and Northern Africa, and Country Head in Ghana Ms Nathalie Akon Gabala explained that “MSMEs employ over 80 percent of Ghana’s workforce and we need to move quickly to support the engines of the Ghanaian economy.”
“If MSMEs are going to weather the storm, and even thrive during these uncertain times, then proactive measures such as working capital, grants, and advisory services are essential to ensure they survive COVID-19’s ripple effect on business, productivity, revenues, and employment,” she said.
The statement hinted that NBSSI will put out a call to MSMEs and start-ups to apply for funding through a centralised web-based platform once participating institutions have been on boarded.
Additionally, it said, information will also be made available via NBSSI’s 178 Business Advisory Centers and 37 Business Resource Centers across the country.