Mrs Kosi Yankey-Ayeh, the Executive Director of National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI) Friday said the Board will continue to support the development and sustainable growth of the Micro Small & Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) sector.
She also commended all entrepreneurs in the Shea industry, especially women for unrelenting effort in making MSMEs sector a vibrant one.
Mrs Yankey-Ayeh was speaking at the launch of the Maiden Edition of the World Shea Expo in Accra.
The event was on the theme: “Repositioning the Shea industry to Accelerate Ghana Export Diversification Agenda; within the Context of Ghana Beyond Aid.”
The Expo, which will bring partners within the value chain such as Processors, women pickers, Farmers, Researchers, Aggregators, various Associations and women groups, financial institutions is aimed at promoting the product and creating both local and international markets for businesses.
She said the theme for this launch was of paramount interest to the Board, since the promotion and development of the MSMEs sector was crucial to the attainment of the objective of ‘Ghana beyond Aid’ agenda.
“MSMEs are known worldwide as the bedrock of economic development,” she added.
She said this was because they play a crucial role in job creation, wealth generation, improvement in quality of life and socio-economic as well as political stability.
The Executive Director said, however, the potential that MSMEs have in triggering the country’s development was hindered by a set of challenges, paramount among them features access to markets.
She said an intervention such as the Expo, which seeks to achieve inclusive growth through increase diversified export portfolio, was a solid step towards making markets accessible especially for the Shea industry.
Mrs Yankey-Ayeh said the NBSSI over the years in collaboration with Development Partners has created a conducive and a vibrant entrepreneurial environment for the MSME Sector through the provision of Business Development Services across the country.
She said it has put a great deal of emphasis on the development of the Shea Industry and has implemented a number of interventions to enhance activities of the various value chain actors especially the women, who gather and process the Shea nuts.
These interventions have mainly involved the following: Entrepreneurship and Managements Training, Technical Skills Training and Upgrading, Kaizen Training, Access to Market through Trade Shows.
She said the impact of these activities has been substantial in terms of building capacities of the chain actors and enhancing their processes to improve productivity and quality of their products.
“We believe that this Expo would substantially serve to achieve the desired outcomes as it seeks to recognize the efforts and contributions of women, youth and MSMEs in the Shea Industry,” she said.
Mr Rashid Zakaria, the Chief Executive of Savannah Golden Tree Limited, organisers of the Expo said strategically, positioning the Shea industry would speed-up efforts by government to diversify export commodities and find worthy competition for the country’s primary export cash crop.
He said the Expo was structured to publicly recognise the efforts and contributions of women, youth and the small to medium enterprises, who dedicated their time to picking less than 40 per cent of nuts in the bush annually.
He said it was to promote and highlight the contributions of Shea butter in the development of the rural women in the seven Northern Ecological Zones that had the comparative advantage over the production and processing of the Shea nut and butter for the international market.