Twenty wood processing companies are participating in a ‘Ghana-Germany SME Training and Exchange Programme’ supported by Invest for Jobs, an initiative of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.
The programme was officially launched on Monday in Accra and marks the second round of the SME Training and Exchange Programme.
A first round of 20 SMEs from the agri-processing, cosmetics, and shea nut processing sector already participated in the programme in April 2021. At the end of the entire programme in 2022, the capacities of a total of 60 growth-oriented SMEs will be strengthened and their competitiveness in international markets increased.
The contribution of the wood industry in Ghana cannot be underestimated. It contributes significantly to the economy in terms of foreign exchange earnings, increased employment, and opportunities for local development. The industry is dominated mainly by private small and medium enterprises (SMEs), that averagely account for about 6% of GDP.
The sector is the fourth most important foreign exchange earner accounting for 11% of GDP after Minerals (36%), Cocoa (35%), and Tourism (12%). It provides direct employment to more than 100,000 people in logging and processing mills as well as in public institutions. It also contributes about 4% of the national tax revenue in Ghana (Macrothink Institute, 2017).
The SME Training and Exchange programme is implemented and managed by COGNOS International and supported by ‘Invest for Jobs.’
The Special Initiative on Training and Job Creation – official title of Invest for Jobs, is implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, among others. “Small and medium enterprises are the backbone of the Ghanaian economy and are central for job creation.
It is therefore imperative that they are supported to grow and expand their frontiers by joining international markets. This falls in line with the key mandate of the Special Initiative which aims to boost the competitiveness of growth-oriented SMEs and to create strong linkages between Ghanaian businesses with European companies,” stated Mr John Duti – Team Leader of the Special Initiative on Training and Job Creation at GIZ Ghana – at the launch.
The official launch of this second round marks the beginning of a two-week kick-off workshop for the 20 SMEs operating in the field of wood-processing, furniture production, and furniture accessories companies.
Timo Tekkhaus of Cognos International told participants that 99% of companies registered in Germany are SMEs, therefore they are the backbone of the German economy since they produce 2/3 of the skilled workers in the German labour market.
He also said the 2-year duration of the workshop aims to create 300 jobs for about 60 SMEs to increase the supply chain to make them less dependent on imports from places like China.
Following this, a two-week management training will take place in Germany, where Business-to-Business (B2B) meetings will be held with German companies to learn at first-hand, experiences on production, quality management, and supply chain management from German companies. Finally, the programme will close with peer and expert coaching in Ghana. The 20 SMEs in this second round of the programme, emerged as finalists after a competitive application selection process with over 105 high-quality applicants.
A third batch of 20 SMEs will participate in a similar programme in March 2022 to boost their competitiveness on the international market.
To open up more prospects for the future, particularly for young people in the country, the Special Initiative on Training and Job Creation of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) is encouraging long-term private investment.
The aim of the Special Initiative, which is operating under the Invest for Jobs brand, is to create more and better employment. Thus, it contributes to the implementation of the Marshall Plan with Africa and the G20 investment partnership ‘Compact with Africa.