Minister for Employment and Labour Relations, Ignatius Baffour-Awuah, together with a high- level delegation from the EU, the Netherlands and high- level government officials have completed two- day working tour in the Ashanti Region to inspect GrEEn projects progress.
The delegation also engaged with partners, beneficiaries and stakeholders of the Boosting Green Employment and Enterprise Opportunities in Ghana (GrEEn) Project.
The high-level delegation included Deputy Ambassador at the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Ghana, Her Excellency Wendy van Meel, Bram Elmer van Opijnen, First Secretary at the Netherlands Embassy, Timothy Dolan, Team Leader at the Macro Economics and Trade Section of the European Union Delegation to Ghana, Marta Brignone, Programme Officer at the European Union and Barbara White Nkoala, the Country Director of SNV Netherlands Development Organisation.
The tour which started on Tuesday, September 12, 2023 and ended on Wednesday, September 13, 2023, was organized by SNV in Ghana and the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), co-implementing partners of the GrEEn Project, formed part of the collaborative partnership between the government of Ghana and the European Union to promote the growth of Ghana’s circular economy.
The visit was to align with Ghana’s policies such as the National Green Jobs Strategy, which aims to promote green jobs and transition to an environmentally sustainable economy.
The Strategy, developed in 2020 with support from the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the European Union (EU) is being implemented by the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations. The visit also complemented key government policy documents – the Coordinated Programme of Economic and Social Development Policies (CPESDP) (2017-2024) with the theme “An Agenda for Jobs: Creating Prosperity and Equal Opportunity for All, the National Decentralization Development Strategy.”
The two-day visit kicked-off with a courtesy call to the Ashanti Regional Minister, Simon Osei-Mensah at the Regional Coordinating Council. The high-level delegation then headed to the Bekwai Municipality to commission Moreplex Company Limited, a sustainable business that produces cosmetics from organic and locally sourced materials like aloe vera, cocoa potash and other herbs.
The company also offers skills and livelihood training to youth job seekers in the Municipality.
Moreplex, owned by Prince Adjei, is one of the fifteen awardees of SNV Ghana’s GrEEn Innovation Challenge. The company received a matching grant of EUR 10,000 to scale up, construct a small-scale factory and a training centre to train and build the skills of rural women and youth.
The delegation also went to the Adansi South District, where they were hosted by the District Chief Executive and the Assembly, a key partner of UNCDF. The District Assembly has spearheaded various climate-resilient projects under the GrEEn Project, including the construction of two pipe culverts, improved feeder roads and a mechanised borehole in the Danwomanse community which has benefited over 23,000 people with climate resilient public infrastructure.
The delegation later visited Adom Oil Farms, a beneficiary of UNCDF’s Cash for Work training, located in Kwame Adjei in the District.
The business received business advisory support as well as training under SNV’s Opportunities for Youth Employment (OYE) programme. In November 2022, they were part of 51 microbusinesses to be awarded matching grants of various amounts, receiving GHS 36,000 to establish a processing centre for their palm-fruit oil operations under SNV and EU’s GrEEn Business Plan Competition.
On Day 2, the high-level delegation toured Sekyere Kubease to interact with Tahir Taajuddeen Umar, the owner of Tahir Field Recycling- a green business that recycles waste engine oil from heavy-duty machines and vehicles into refined engine oil for reuse.
Tahir Fields Recycling is one of 12 winners of the maiden GrEEn Innovation Challenge in 2021, receiving a matching grant of GHS 100,000 to construct a factory and scale up production from the European Union and SNV.
The visit was concluded at Women’s Haven Africa, a hub partner of the GrEEn Project’s Incubation Programme.
This programme, rolled out by SNV Ghana, provides six-months of business advisory services to green entrepreneurs. Eight (8) GrEEn Project SMEs, including, Ogyampa Ventures, Hakama Company Limited, Specs Foods, Supreme Pod Industries, Eazz Foods, Offnet Farms, Romila Farms and Green Ecoworks, exhibited their products and services and engaged with the high-level delegation.
The Boosting Green Employment and Enterprise Opportunities in Ghana (GrEEn) Project is a four-year project funded by the European Union and the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and implemented by SNV Ghana and UNCDF, in partnership with the Ministry of Local Government, Decentralization and Rural Development.
GrEEn is funded under the European Union Emergency Trust Fund (EUTF) for Africa with a total contribution of EUR 20,600,000. The GrEEn project aims to create green jobs and promote the growth of the green and circular economy in Ghana by improving skills development and increasing access to finance for youth, Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs), women and returning migrants.
It is implemented in the Ashanti and Western Regions of Ghana.
Ignatius Baffour Awuah who doubles as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Sunyani West, after the tour, expressed satisafaction and commended the SNV for supporting young Ghanaians to establish their own businesses.
He indicated that as a minister responsible for the employment related issues, one of the basic challenges were how to employ the teeming young graduates from various institutions yearly.
He also commended the Netherlands government for supporting the Ghanaians through the innovative support offered by giving them employment to sustain their livelihoods.
In her remarks, Deputy Ambassador at the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Ghana, Her Excellency Wendy van Meel, said she was impressed by the results accomplished b under the GrEEn project and the jobs opportunities offered to the young Ghanaian entrepreneurs.
In her succinct remarks, Programme Officer at the European Union and project Manager on the GrEEn Project at the EU Maria Brignone, said it was important to tour the various fields to see the results or the impact of their interventions.
She stated that her outfit has been financing the project implemented by SNV for the last four years and were in partnership with the organization to boost the green businesses.
She appealed to other national organisations in charge of supporting entrepreneurs and the youth to continue with their support and get closer to the young people that have invested their time and energy in developing innovative and green businesses.