The EXIM Bank has approved GH¢416.5million for the establishment of agro-processing and pharmaceutical industries under government’s ‘One District, One Factory (1D1F)’ programme.
Lawrence Agyinsam, Managing Director of the bank said: “The bank is the major financing institution of government’s flagship ‘One District, One Factory’, and all projects are aimed at creating value addition to raw materials, generating foreign exchange and employment creation”.
Speaking at a seminar for small businesses in the shea-based cosmetics sector, Mr. Agyinsam added that the bank has approved GH¢9.3million for processing shea-nuts into cosmetics for export and local consumption. “This injection is expected to create 300 direct jobs by December 2020,” he said.
The training seminar, organised by the bank in collaboration with the Global Shea Alliance – an organisation that promotes industry sustainability, quality practices and standards, and demand for shea in food and cosmetics – is aimed at equipping participants to gain access into the global shea market.
Mr. Agyinsam added that in recognition of the role shea plays in the livelihoods of several families as well as its significant contribution to the country’s Non Traditional Exports (NTE), the bank has introduced a Shea Empowerment Initiative (SEI) as a special project for economic empowerment of women engaged in the shea value chain.
He explained that the initiative, which is under the bank’s Grass Roots Initiative Development (GRID) is aimed at providing capacity-building and financing sectors which are strategic to development of the rural economy. “Under GRID, rural communities will receive support critical to their development that would ordinarily not be provided by commercial banks,” he said.
He added that the Shea Empowerment Initiative is in line with the bank’s strategic objective of adding value to agricultural produce in the various regions, and increasing the NTE of Ghana to US$5billion by 2022 from the current value of US$2.45billion.
Second Lady, Samira Bawumia who was the guest of honour, noted that the shea tree is a major source of income and important engine of economic growth in the northern part of the country. “Shea trees have always been an important part of life in the north, and produce up to 12 percent of income for women who are usually collectors of the nuts,” she said.
Ms. Bawumia noted that exports have increased by 600 percent over the last two decades and continue to bring stable income to rural West Africa; and in recent years the demand for shea-based cosmetic products has been growing and manufacturers are creating products with African ingredients desirable to global consumers.
“As the world is moving rapidly toward knowledge-based economies, adequate education and access to information can make all the difference in creating a robust industry. Training and seminars provide essential opportunities to expand knowledge and network. As the industry grows, our people must grow with it,” she said.
Aaron Adu, Managing Director of Global Shea Alliance, noted that as part of the Global Shea Alliance promotional strategy to increase markets for shea industry players, the seminar is aimed at training these women-owned small businesses to prepare for and attend international trade shows.
“With support from EXIM Bank today, we are training exhibitors on export strategies, packaging, labelling, preparing for trade shows, and engaging customers. These shows are the Professional Beauty Trade Show in Johannesburg, South Africa, and the Middle East Natural and Organic Trade Show in Dubai. This year, we are supporting 20 exhibitors from Ghana,” he said.
According to COCOBOD, there are about 600,000 women in Ghana who collect shea; and across West Africa, the number is 4 million. Exports of shea reached 350,000 metric tonnes at the end of 2016, and this brought US$200million into West Africa.