Mrs Delese Mimi Darko, Chief Executive Officer, Food & Drugs Authority, says women are the gel that holds the society together even with the little entrepreneurial tasks they set their hands and minds on.
“I will encourage that as decision makers of our households and organisations, let us advocate for the patronage of locally made premium products,” she said.
Mrs Darko said this at the opening of the Maiden Edition of Women Icons Regional Exhibition of Women-Owned Led Businesses.
The event organised by the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) in partnership with Access Bank is on the theme: “Recognising Iconic Women for Economic Development.”
The three-day event aims at celebrating women of excellence for their role in business and national development by providing a platform for other businesses to showcase their products and services.
The event was also used to celebrate the zeal and positive impact created by women both dead and alive with the likes of Rebecca Naa Dedei Aryeetey, popularly known as Dede Ashikinshan, who believed in a Leader’s vision and ideals for country and people.
She said if households could ensure that about 90 per cent of their groceries, household detergents, fashion accessories and room décor pieces were proudly made in Ghana, “we will be in a good place to start talking about import substitution.”
However, Mrs Darko said the country could only achieve this if they were intentional with what they needed to do.
“This event is a great start to open our eyes to the exciting products available for our consumption to prevent the flight of our hard-earned forex while thinking of how to scale up our businesses, to export to neighbouring destinations to earn more,” she added.
She gave an assurance that the Authority would support in the best way they could in other regions to ensure that the common goal of keeping women in business to build the economy through import substitution and export was achieved.
Mrs Darko said irrespective of the challenges women-owned businesses go through, “we still hold in high esteem, women who have leveraged their entrepreneurial dynamism, to offer their unflinching support to nation-building in several ways.”
She said the African Continental Free Trade Area was one area that had in recent months been touted as having vast and varied opportunities and yet which remained “grey” for a lot of people on the continent.
“Like it or not, the choices we make as women, have a huge impact on the socio-economic well-being of the people around us and generations to come,” she said.
Mrs Francisca Opoku, CEO of Solution Oasis, said according to the Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs released in 2020, Ghana was ranked first in the World for the number of female businesses.
She said women have over the years held the economy whilst holding the home front together, yet, “we have not heard of the accolades of these unsung heroines.”
She paid tributes to some of the country’s women Icons both living and dead, in leadership and in Industry like Esther Ocloo, Kate Quartey Papafio and Elizabeth Villars.
Mrs Opoku called on women-led businesses to work together to contribute to the development of the country and increase their exports.
She urged them to continue to be creative and innovative in designing and producing high quality products and services to serve both the Ghanaian Market and globally.
Dr Afua Asabea Asare, the CEO of GEPA, said the event was deliberately created for women-led business to continue to contribute to the development of the economy.
She said the government in partnership with the private sector needed to be intentional about measures that would propel interest of women in business.
She said the exhibitions would be held in every region throughout the country to achieve the said objectives, improve networking and provide more business opportunities.
Exhibitors at the maiden event include Sector’s Hub, JAT Conture, MGL Naturals, Beauty 101, Seli Bites, Rosewood, Furnart Ghana Limited, Exa Ventures, Cefrag Ventures, Maria’s Fashion House.