British International Investment (BII), the UK’s development finance institution and impact investor, has unveiled a new technical assistance programme aimed at supporting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Ghana.
The Ghana Investment Programme seeks to enhance SMEs’ access to finance and technical support and promote inclusive growth by increasing their exposure to markets.
Kwabena Asante-Poku, BII’s Coverage Director for Ghana, expressed the institution’s commitment to Ghana as a market with immense potential despite its recent economic crisis. He added: “SMEs are the lifeblood of many African economies. They account for 92 percent of all enterprises in Ghana, comprise 70 percent of the GDP, and account for 83 percent of all employment across the country. However, despite the significance of SMEs to the Ghanaian economy, the finance and technical support required to unlock their potential remain largely inaccessible”.
To increase investment flows to underserved SMEs in Ghana, BII plans to provide tailored support to financial intermediaries, including private equity funds. The programme seeks to play a catalytic role in the SME financing in Ghana by increasing the number of high-quality, investment-ready companies, and improving investment preparedness and access to post-investment support for ambitious SMEs.
“We believe that the Ghana Investment Support Programme has the potential to be transformational, providing much-needed technical assistance and access to finance for underserved SMEs across the country. We are excited about the programme’s potential to increase job creation, leading to increased productivity, sustainability and inclusivity,” said Asante-Poku.
BII has a track record of investing indirectly through intermediary funds in Ghanaian financial services firms, including First Atlantic Bank, Fidelity Bank, UT Bank, and mLife Insurance, and plans to do more directly. The institution believes that deepening the private sector in Ghana through enabling SMEs is essential to build and bolster economic resilience.
The Ghana Investment Programme will also prioritise investment flowing to underserved SMEs in Ghana, such as women-led and black African-owned and led SMEs. BII plans to invest in broader diversity outcomes over the next five years in its sub-Saharan Africa portfolio, with a target for 25 percent of all new investments to qualify under the 2X Challenge, an initiative co-founded by BII to empower women’s economic development.
The programme also seeks to increase financing to climate-smart businesses across the country, providing practical support and assistance to SMEs exploring strategies that limit their carbon footprint and introduce circular economy-style business models in efforts to reduce waste, cut costs, and create new revenue streams.
To deepen the relationship between Ghana and Britain, BII plans to collaborate with the Ghanaian government and other key stakeholders to identify priority sectors and investment opportunities. The programme will focus on sectors that have the potential to create the most jobs and have the greatest impact on the country’s economic development.
BII has been a strategic partner to African businesses for 75 years and to Ghanaian businesses for 64 years. Its initial investments in Ghana supported the construction of new roads, positively impacting quarry output. Over the years, BII has expanded its investments across multiple job-creating sectors, including infrastructure, energy, agriculture and manufacturing.
BII aims to increase awareness and understanding of private equity and venture capital options among SMEs in Ghana, and transform the SME financing market in the country by increasing the number of high-quality, investment-ready companies, improving investment preparedness and access to post-investment support for ambitious SMEs.