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We’ll continue to support industrialisation drive - UNIDO

BY: Kester Aburam Korankye
Patrick Yaw Nimo (left), Chief Director, Ministry of Trade and Industry, interacting with Fakhruddin Azizi, United Nations Industrial Development Organisation Representative to Ghana, at the conference. Picture: MAXWELL OCLOO
Patrick Yaw Nimo (left), Chief Director, Ministry of Trade and Industry, interacting with Fakhruddin Azizi, United Nations Industrial Development Organisation Representative to Ghana, at the conference. Picture: MAXWELL OCLOO

The United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) will continue to support the country’s industrialisation drive, its representative in Ghana and Liberia, Fakhruddin Azizi, has said.

He said the organisation was empowering entrepreneurs and building the competitiveness of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) through the development of standards.

It is also procuring equipment to augment the efficiency of testing and measurements in the laboratories of the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) and the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA).

“Supporting SMEs and clusters is a strategic approach to ensure inclusive and sustainable industrial development to ensure that no one is left behind. Women can also fully take advantage of the opportunities offered by the African Continental Free Trade Agreement,” he added.

Cluster inclusiveness

Mr Azizi was speaking at the first cluster international conference for SMEs to strengthen inclusiveness for small businesses in Accra last Wednesday.

A cluster exhibition was also held on the sidelines of the conference to give development partners an insight into how the country’s SMEs can improve their products and compliance to international standards to gain market access.

The conference was hosted by the EU-funded West African Competitiveness Programme (WACOMP), which is being implemented by UNIDO and the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MoTI), in collaboration with the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) and the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI).

It was also aimed at promoting the nation’s cluster results and strengthening connections between SMEs as a sustainable way to enhance the country’s competitiveness and integration in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

More than 120 SMEs attended the conference which also showcased products from Ghanaian entrepreneurs benefiting from the WACOMPGhana project.

Cooperation

Mr Azizi further said that there was strong cooperation between UNIDO and the government in its commitment to the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development, especially in relation to areas such as energy and environment, investment and quality standards.

He said the successful achievement of WACOMP could become a reference in the region in terms of enhanced value addition, low carbon, sustainable production and processing, and increased access to regional and global markets.

The Chief Technical Advisor of WACOMP – Ghana, Charles Kwame Sackey, said business clusters were core actors of change in the country’s industrial strategy and that strengthening their resilience and capacity to cooperate and trust each other should be the target of policymakers.

“This first cluster conference will contribute to ensuring knowledge sharing in the region and also allow the country’s clusters to learn from each other and capitalise on networking and collaboration,” Mr Sackey added.