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Ghana, 3 others to benefit from COVID-19 private sector facility

BY: Timothy Gobah
Ms Valentina Mintah
Ms Valentina Mintah

Ghana has been selected among four initial countries in the world to receive financial support from the COVID-19 Private Sector Global Facility, established by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Global Compact (UN Global Compact) and the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC).

The other three countries are Colombia, the Philippines and Turkey.

 This was announced by the UNDP Administrator, Achim Steiner, at the SDG Business Forum held at the UN General Assembly last week.

Held on the theme, ‘Recover Better Together’, the event was the largest and most inclusive UN gathering of private sector leaders.

The global facility

The COVID-19 Private Sector Global Facility is a global initiative and a collaboration of public and private sector partners to help local communities recover better from the pandemic.

It is a response to corporates’ call to action for private sector leaders and governments to work together to address the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Supported by strategic partners — DHL, Microsoft and PwC — the global facility is open to other like-minded private sector organisations that are interested in joining the initiative.

The strategic partners are expected to add their expertise and technology to support that transformational recovery initiative.

To operate at both the global and national levels, the global facility is expected to create solutions tailored at the phase of the COVID-19 pandemic in each area and the specificities of the local private sector and government context.

The geographical scope and participating partners are expected to expand as the global facility develops.

Changing lives

Commenting on the facility, the Secretary-General of ICC Ghana, Mr Emmanuel Doni-Kwame, said in a statement that the pandemic had radically changed the lives of entrepreneurs and their countries’ economic environment, especially in Africa.

“As the focus is on Ghana, we are ready to support and scale up this global impact initiative to help redefine the future of business,” the statement said.

Practical support

In a video recording message played at the forum, an ICC Executive Board Member, Ms Valentina Mintah, said: “The Global Facility will provide practical support for the real economy, delivered through in-country projects targeted at the needs of SMEs.

“These will range from digital skills training to the delivery of major infrastructure projects. Ghana’s inclusion in the initial  four participating countries serves as a solid foundation for Africa, as the geographical scope expands and the facility develops,” she added.

Ms Mintah stated that small business owners and entrepreneurs wanted to have their challenges understood, their ideas heard, and their efforts to recover become better, recognised and built upon by others.

In that context, she said, “SMEs need a way to facilitate this vital exchange of ideas, learning and experience with each other and with organisations and institutions in a position to support them.”

Inclusiveness

Mr Steiner said as COVID-19 disrupted societies, development agendas must adjust accordingly.

“There is a need for inclusive multilateralism, drawing on the critical contributions of civil society, business, foundations, the research community, local authorities, cities and regional governments. By unlocking public-private and private-private cooperation for a sustainable response to COVID-19 challenges, it is possible to recover better and build more resilient economies,” he said.

Mr Steiner said the facility was the first of its kind, designed to join forces across public and private sectors to serve humanity in an imperative moment, adding "Solidarity to ‘Recover Better Together’ can boost our collective efforts not only to cope with the crisis but overcome it.”

“UNDP's footprint across some 170 countries and territories, combined with the UN Global Compact's network of more than 10,000 companies and 68 Local Networks around the world, and the International Chamber of Commerce's network of over 45 million companies, multiplies our collective capacity and potential,” she said.