Accra, Ghana – U.S. Ambassador Stephanie S. Sullivan today announced new co-investments by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) totaling $4.2 million with five companies operating in Ghana. These projects, leveraged with private sector funds, will help these companies scale up operations, develop export opportunities, and create jobs. Ambassador Sullivan made the announcement during the U.S. Embassy’s Providing Opportunity for Women’s Economic Rise (POWER) program for women entrepreneurs from Ghana and the North American diaspora.
As part of Women’s History Month, the Embassy, in collaboration with Howard University and the International Trade Centre, is hosting the Women’s Empowerment Lab. The program will help Ghanaian and American women entrepreneurs take advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) to grow their businesses by seizing export opportunities, while facilitating networking opportunities across the Atlantic.
“The West Africa Trade and Investment Hub was created to help entrepreneurs like those participating in the Women’s Empowerment Lab take advantage of export opportunities. Ghanaian companies can export more than 6,500 goods duty-free to the United States today, and the AfCFTA opens up a $3.4 trillion market. These co-investments will help these companies access African and U.S. markets, while creating jobs here in Ghana,” said Ambassador Sullivan.
Co-created at USAID/Ghana, the grants are aimed at deepening the United States’ commercial relationship with Africa in line with the Prosper Africa Initiative, the African Growth and Opportunity Act, and President Biden’s Build Back Better World initiative.
USAID recently awarded $4.2 million in co-investment grants to five companies operating in Ghana under the West Africa Trade & Investment Hub (Trade Hub): AMAATI Company Ltd, DTRT Apparel, FreezeLink, Maphlix Trust, and Nuts 4 Growth. The grants build on USAID/Ghana’s work to drive large-scale development by supporting firms poised for catalytic growth. By leveraging USAID’s co-investments, these companies are expected to generate over $45 million in private investment, increase exports by $166 million, and create more than 2,000 new jobs, mostly for women and youth.
Summaries of the five co-investment grants follow are below:
AMAATI Company Ltd: A woman-owned, Ghanaian social enterprise that pioneered the revival of fonio, a nutritious African grain, AMAATI aims to support 5,800 landless women farmers in northern Ghana. USAID/Ghana’s $742,000 grant, together with private investments of $4.5 million, will help create a new West African global value chain for increased exports of fonio to North America and Europe, while generating income for 8,000 farmers. AMAATI will use American-made John Deere equipment and sell to Century Green and Mayaresa in the American market.
DTRT Apparel: With a USAID/Ghana grant of $760,000, West Africa’s regional market leader in apparel manufacturing will leverage additional private investments to expand its existing garment manufacturing capabilities, with the goal of achieving more than $100 million in exports annually by 2025 and supporting more than 5,000 local workers. At least 2,000 new jobs will be created, mostly for women, as the company scales up its operations and expands its exports to large international clothing brands, including several leading U.S. companies.
FreezeLink: Ghana’s leading third-party provider of temperature-controlled transport, warehousing, and engineering services, FreezeLink will receive a $767,000 USAID/Ghana grant to install affordable cold storage units to boost horticultural exports from Ghana and reduce vaccine spoilage, including for COVID-19 vaccines. USAID’s grant will catalyze $6.7 million in additional investment and boost exports by $11 million. FreezeLink will use refrigeration units for its trucks from American company Carrier and has partnered with Zipline, an American medical product delivery company.
Maphlix Trust: A leading orange-fleshed sweet potato exporter in Ghana, Maphlix will use USAID/Ghana’s grant of $970,000 and private investments of $6 million to support 1,100 farmers and boost sales of value-added purée products addressing Vitamin A deficiency. Maphlix has American investors and will install $1.2 million of food processing technology from Sinnovatek, an American company, to process the purée. By 2024, Maphlix anticipates earning annual revenues of $4.4 million, of which 60 percent will be from exports.
Nuts 4 Growth (N4G): An up-and-coming large-scale shea and soy processor, N4G will leverage a USAID/Ghana grant of $980,000 to catalyze additional private investment and help expand the incomes of 20,000 women soy farmers. Increasing the number of women within its out-grower program, expanding its pool of international buyers, and boosting production capacity through upgraded machinery, N4G expects to achieve $30 million in shea butter exports to the U.S. and E.U. markets by April 2024. N4G supplies American firm Bunge and relies on American lab equipment manufactured by Agilent and BrandTech Scientific. This equipment uses high-performance liquid chromatography and nuclear magnetic resonance to monitor and ensure purity in food, air, and water during factory operation.
Remarks by Ambassador Stephanie Sullivan
Women’s Empowerment Lab
Tuesday, March 15, 1:00 PM GMT
Thank you, Professor Jarpa Dawuni.
Ghana’s Ambassador to the United States Hajia Alima Mahama;
Deputy Assistant U.S. Trade Representative Laurie-Ann Agama;
Howard University Provost Dr. Anthony Wutoh;
ITC Executive Director Ms. Pamela Coke-Hamilton;
Mr. Sebahizi, AfCFTA Chief Technical Advisor
Dr. Asare, CEO of GEPA;
Ms. Ayisha Bedwei, Madam President of AmCham Ghana;
Ms. Asare from Alfie Designs;
Ms. Poku-Diaby of Plot;
Dynamic entrepreneurs and businesswomen from Ghana and the United States;
Other distinguished guests;
All protocols observed:
Welcome to the Women’s Empowerment Lab!
First let me thank Howard University for serving as our virtual host today and the International Trade Centre team for their contributions to this event. And of course, thanks to all of you for joining today. I’m thrilled to take part in the launch of this dynamic effort, supported by the State Department’s POWER initiative – particularly as we celebrate Women’s History Month. Providing Opportunities for Women’s Economic Rise, aptly known as the POWER initiative, promotes women’s empowerment to advance economic prosperity.
Through today’s Women’s Empowerment Lab, the U.S. Embassy in Ghana, in collaboration with the many partners from whom you will hear today, aim to do what we do best – foster connections. We want to connect you to U.S. government and Government of Ghana programs and opportunities that will fuel your businesses in Ghana, in the United States, and throughout the continent. We want to connect you with additional opportunities to broaden your skillset. And we want you to connect with each other to create a transatlantic network of businesswomen who will share challenges and best practices with one another, create new business partnerships, celebrate one another’s successes, and support each other!
As the economies of Ghana and the United States emerge from the effects of the pandemic, the opportunity is ripe for you to explore export opportunities. The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), when fully implemented, will represent the world’s largest free trade area. And Ghana, its businesswomen, and the U.S.-based diaspora community are poised to capitalize on the new economic synergies and opportunities that the AfCFTA can bring.
The U.S. government stands ready to assist both U.S. and Ghanaian companies to take advantage of transatlantic and intra-African trade opportunities through initiatives such as Prosper Africa, the West Africa Trade and Investment Hub, and AGOA, among others. Today I am pleased to announce $4.2 million in new co-investments by the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) West Africa Trade and Investment Hub to five companies operating in Ghana. The grants are aimed at deepening the United States’ commercial relationship with Africa, in line with the Prosper Africa Initiative and the African Growth and Opportunity Act.
By leveraging USAID’s co-investments, these companies will generate over $45 million in private investment, increase exports by $166 million, and create more than 2,000 new jobs, mostly for women and youth. The ripple effects are significant. Let me offer one example.
AMAATI Company Ltd is a woman-owned, Ghanaian social enterprise that pioneered the revival of fonio, a nutritious African grain. With USAID/Ghana’s $742,000 grant, and private investments of $4.5 million, AMAATI will work with 5,800 landless women farmers in northern Ghana and will help create a new West African global value chain for increased exports of fonio. AMAATI will use American-made John Deere equipment and sell to Century Green and Mayaresa in the American market. My team at the Embassy and I are deeply committed to, and involved in, building networks and skills through a variety of programming.
In 2019, I was pleased to participate in the launch of the first of 10 African countries to pilot the Academy of Women Entrepreneurs (AWE). AWE is based on an online course called Dreambuilder that was developed by the Thunderbird School of Management in Arizona to bolster business skills. It includes a mentoring program through which participants are matched with other Ghanaian women entrepreneurs who are alumnae of our other exchange programs.
I want to highlight the success of one AWE graduate. Patience Owusu, owner of Peema Naturals, a shea butter, hair- and skin-care products company, started the company in her home, using a kitchen mixer. Thanks to AWE, she was eligible to compete for and win a grant from the U.S. African Development Foundation, ADF, with which she procured industrial-grade processing equipment, among other items, and funded production safety and quality control training for her new staff.
The 2022 AWE cohort is expected to launch this month. Keep an eye on our website for your opportunity to apply. We also actively recruit annually for the YALI Mandela Washington Fellowship, which focuses on strengthening civil society engagement, public management, and entrepreneurship. We’ve completed our intake cycle this year, but do be ready for the 2023 edition! When you participate in one of our programs, you will join the more than 3,000 exchange program alumni in Ghana, who are working in health care, education, the media, small businesses, government, and civil society organizations. I’ve repeatedly seen the power of women mentoring other women. Earlier this month, I participated in the Vital Voices Global Mentoring Walk here in Accra. It was inspirational to see the relationships that Mentoring Women Ghana has fostered between women.
These relationships, like those we hope to create through today’s program, will foster a network of connected, inspired, and empowered women ready to grow their businesses and help others along the way. There’s a proverb here in Ghana: “If you don’t let your friend cross and reach her destination, you will also not cross and reach yours.”
Let’s help each other cross the road and reach our respective destinations together. I encourage you to seize this amazing opportunity before you today to learn, network, and foster connections.