USAID supports BUSAC Fund with $4m
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) have signed a delegated cooperation agreement under which USAID would contribute $4 million to the Business Sector Advocacy Challenge(BUSAC) Fund.
This is the first time USAID would be funding a project and delegate authority to a leading donor organization to implement on its behalf in line with the “Paris Declaration” singed in 2005 between Ghana, Denmark and USA.
Under the declaration, the signatories of the declaration committed themselves to use the comparative advantage at sector and country level by delegation, where appropriate, to lead donors for execution of programmes, activities and task.
The BUSAC Fund is a grant initiated by DANIDA with the support of USAID and DFID to support private sector development in Ghana between 2004 and 2010.
The second phase of the project started in 2010 with a budget proposal of $20 million which DANIDA had already committed $8 million.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, the Head of Development Cooperation of DANIDA, Mr. Jan Poulsen, said establishment of BUSAC Fund was based on the belief that when private businesses in Ghana flourish, many people would get decent jobs and would help many families to move out of poverty.
He said under the first phase of the project, 362 organized private sector groups were assisted to advocate on the local, regional and national levels to get local authorities and policy makers to create the enabling business environment for a profitable and competitive private businesses in Ghana.
Mr Poulsen said the signing of the agreement between USAID and DANIDA is an indication that USAID had trust in the structures and policies of DANIDA and BUSAC.
Mr Poulsen expressed his appreciation to the staff of DANIDA, BUSAC Fund and USAID for signing such landmark agreement which offer unique opportunity for development partners to harmonize their activities and ensure greater aid effectiveness.
He expressed the hope that the collaboration between DANIDA and USAID would encourage other development partners to harmonize their development activities to reduce transaction cost, avoid duplication and increase the impact of development cooperation with Ghana and appealed to other development partners to contribute to the BUSAC Fund.
The Ghana Mission Director of USAID, Ms Cheryl Anderson, said by the agreement the USAID had increased its support to the BUSAC Fund from 1.2 dollars to the Phase I of the project to $4 million for the implementation of the Phase II.
She said the agreement under which USAID offers its support to another development partner is a pilot project and when it succeeds in Ghana it would be replicated in other countries in the relationship of USAID with other development partners and agencies.
Ms Anderson said the US government assistance to BUSAC gave voices to the private sector to advocate for legal and regulatory reforms of the business environment such that business could thrive, generate more revenue and employment and move Ghana forward economically.
She said the USAID firmly believed that the building of the capacity of the private sector to advocate persuasively on its own was an effective and sustainable alternative to other more traditional approaches.
The Co-ordinator of Trade Sector Support Programme of the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Mr Joe Tachie, said the government would soon announce the structure for the implementation of the Private Sector Development Strategy (PSDS) II to enable the private sector to engage the public sector in responding to their challenges.
He said the PSDS I enabled the public sector to appreciate the challenges of the private sector and how to support the expected growth of private businesses.
Mrs Elizabeth Joyce Villars, Chairman of the BUSAC Steering Committee, said the government was now listening and responding to the challenges facing the private sector.
She said Ghana is a country where the small and medium scale enterprises play the major role in the economy yet they had always been neglected.
Mrs Villars said the announcement that the country is now a middle income economy should not only be in words but must also reflect in private business and other sectors of the economy.