Accra, GHANA – On February 18, the U.S. government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), joined the Danish International Development Agency (Danida) and the government of Ghana to commemorate the closing of the Business Sector Advocacy Challenge Fund (BUSAC). The event celebrated 16 years of strengthening the advocacy capacity of private sector business groups and associations in Ghana.
BUSAC was a grant mechanism to support the Ghanaian private sector to advocate at local, regional, and national levels for changes in the legal and regulatory framework. BUSAC grants enhanced the capacity of emerging and established business associations, trade unions, and business media to advocate effectively for improvements in Ghana’s business enabling environment.
U.S. Ambassador to Ghana Stephanie S. Sullivan, Chief Director for the Ministry of Trade and Industry Patrick Nimo, and the Danish Ambassador to Ghana H.E. Tom Nørring delivered remarks at the virtual event. Lauding the accomplishments of BUSAC, Ambassador Sullivan stated: “I would like to commend the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the former Ministry of Business Development for their roles in working with the governments of the United States and Denmark, as well as the Ghanaian business community, to promote important legal and regulatory changes that have positively affected so many businesspeople and entrepreneurs.”
Since 2004, BUSAC has provided over 1,100 business advocacy and business development services grants worth almost $50 million to private sector and farmer-based organizations in all regions of Ghana. As a result of BUSAC’s support, private sector organizations are now able to present evidence-based arguments and dialogue with the public sector to find mutual solutions to enhance the business environment in Ghana. From major changes to laws to streamline tax regulations advocated by the Association of Ghanaian Industries (AGI) to increased access to land advocated by women farmers in Upper West region, the fund has contributed to improving the private sector in Ghana.
USAID is the lead U.S. Government agency that works to end extreme global poverty and enable resilient, democratic societies to realize their potential. USAID’s activities and strategic partnerships support Ghana’s journey to self-reliance and advances an integrated approach to development. It promotes accountability, sustainable systems, and inclusive development.
Business Sector Advisory Challenge Fund Closing Ceremony
As Prepared Remarks for U.S. Ambassador to Ghana Stephanie S. Sullivan
February 18, 2021 | 9:30am
The Chief Director, Ministry of Trade and Industry Patrick Nimo
Ambassador of Denmark to Ghana,
His Excellency Tom Nørring;
Representative from the European Union;
Officials of the Ministry of Trade and Industry;
Development and agencies;
BUSAC III Fund Manager, Steering Committee and staff;
Members of the media;
Ladies and gentlemen;
All protocols observed.
Good morning! Those were great videos. Ayikoo!
Today’s event is very near and dear to my heart. My top priorities as Ambassador include stimulating business development and job growth in Ghana. I’d like to commend the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the former Ministry of Business Development for their roles in working with the governments of the United States and Denmark, as well as with the Ghanaian business community, to promote important legal and regulatory changes that have positively affected so many business people and entrepreneurs.
The Business Sector Advisory Challenge Fund (BUSAC) has worked tirelessly over the last 16 years to bridge the gap between industry and policy makers in Ghana, and to spur greater private sector growth and business development. In the spirit of donor harmonization, the U.S. Government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development, funded the BUSAC Program along with the Danish International Development Agency (Danida) and the European Union.
Since 2004, BUSAC has provided over 1,100 advocacy grants worth almost $50 million to businesses and organizations in all regions and many sectors of the Ghanaian economy. In doing so, BUSAC has created space for dialogue between the public and private sectors to improve the business environment for micro, small, and medium enterprises. Major BUSAC achievements have included the passage of key legislation such as: the Tree Crop Bill; the Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Policy; and the Ghana Enterprises Agency Bill.
At the district level, BUSAC has worked to increase agricultural production through advocacy for better extension services, infrastructure (roads, electricity, and water), access to arable lands, and market access. These achievements have led to more jobs, alternative livelihoods development, and more money in the pockets of farmers and businesspeople to the benefit of their families and communities.
Taking a broader view, BUSAC’s approach is summed up in the Ghanaian proverb, Wamma wo yonko entwa 3nkono a, wontwa edo – “If you do not help your friend to get to nine, you will not get to ten.” Thus, if you don’t help your friend to achieve their target, you will also not achieve your target. It’s clear that the government and businesses want the same thing: a prosperous Ghana, with an empowered citizenry that can work together to apply resources to the most productive sectors.
With this in mind, I’d like to share with you three examples of BUSAC’s work with grantees that influenced the review of policies, regulations, and laws with the government, and ultimately improved the business enabling environment.
First, the BUSAC Fund sponsored capacity building training for members of the Federation of Agricultural Producers in Bono East. This helped the federation with its advocacy for the Government to introduce an aflatoxin management package to control this destructive toxin in maize and improve livelihoods.
Second, BUSAC also helped the Ekumfi Srafa Pineapple Growers Association in the Central Region, whose members were advocating for the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to place more extension agents in their communities to increase pineapple yields and link the harvest with processors.
Third, the BUSAC Fund also helped women in the Tinkarinungu Cooperative Farmers and Marketing Union at Pwalugu in the Upper East Region. The BUSAC Fund empowered the women to dialogue effectively with relevant authorities. The grant helped the Union to undertake research and engage the media to give voice to the advocacy campaign. The women eventually gained access to greater parcels of more arable lands for production.
As a result, the women increased their harvest by as much as 12-fold, earning enough income to pay for school fees, keep some revenue in a reserve, and diversify their farming and trading activities. By strengthening the abilities of local organizations to advocate for the equitable administration of services in their communities, BUSAC has helped to increase jobs and improve livelihoods. The government also benefits from this arrangement by creating conditions for investors to enter those areas and bolster Ghana’s economic growth. After all, investors make decisions based on conditions they see on the ground. Then they vote with their feet. Helping each other arrive at the same destination of self-reliance will build Ghana’s prosperity and cement trust between the government, and its citizens and businesses.
In closing, I’d like to thank the Government of Ghana and our development partner, the Government of Denmark, for their support in successfully implementing the BUSAC program. We have accomplished great things by working with each other, including advancing participatory governance. We look forward to continued collaboration with the Government of Ghana and our development partners.
Ayiko, and thank you.