Anne-Sophie Avé, Ambassador of France to Ghana, says her country has allocated €75 million as investment into Ghana to support Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
The amount forms part of a €3.5 billion investment for African countries under the “Choose Africa Initiative,” aimed at offering a range of assistance and financing tailored to the creation, development and growth of MSMEs.
For Ghana, the initiative will support the structuring of projects to contribute to sustainable development in the area of education, health, manufacturing, agribusiness, and financial technology.
The Ambassador said the support would exclude the extractive sector, including mining and oil and gas, in line with her country’s green energy policy.
“I’ve asked them [investors from France] to look at companies that have the potential to go borders…, invest in the future like education, vocational training and €75 billion has been earmarked to Ghana so far but if there is a well-pitched clear business plan, more money can be invested into it,” she said.
She said this when she interacted with the media on the sidelines of an event to connect MSMES, start-ups, entrepreneurs with Proparco, a French Development Finance Institution.
The event was organised by the French Embassy, Ghana Investment Promotion Center (GIPC) and Innohub, a business incubator that helps small and growing businesses to become sustainable.
On why France was investing in Ghana, she explained that, “Ghana is safe, a peaceful and democratic country, with lots of entrepreneurs, young dynamic people, lots of good ideas, lots of solidarity by loans from family and friends to get them started.
“There are MSMEs that are already existing, experiencing, there are products testing in the market with many opportunities for investment. It’s a basic logic, France invests where investment is really safe and profitable.”
She noted that Ghana was endowed with economic prospects due to its many MSMEs coupled with good skills and competencies, and that France “wants to ensure that Ghanaian companies are able to go the extra mile to create jobs, wealth, add value.”
Regarding returns on investment, she stated that, “if you invest or give a loan and also technical assistance, it will bring you money so you will be eager to help that person or company who brings the wonderful idea to bring it to another level or extra mile and become more national and international brand,” and that was what investors from France would be concerned about.
To that end, she said, each investment fund would look at expertise and specialties and do due diligence because they [the investors and MSMEs] would be working together for five to seven years.
Mr Yofi Grant, the Chief Executive Officer of GIPC, stated that, “the government is very keen to develop the MSME sector and clearly understands that it’s the largest business sector of the economy, therefore, attention needs to be paid to the sector if we seek to improve and grow.”
“At GIPC, we are doing a lot to support MSMEs through programmes such as our Young Entrepreneurs Forum, Business Continuity and our various trade missions,” he added.