ACCRA, Ghana — The Deputy Minister of Trade and Industries, Robert Ahomka-Lindsay, today launched the Nkosuo program, a partnership between the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI) and the Mastercard Foundation COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Program to support Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
The Nkosuo program, with an initial commitment of GHS 90 million from the Mastercard Foundation, will provide financial assistance, in the form of grants and soft loans, via participating institutions, including banks, fintechs, mobile lenders, NGOs, and Business Development Services. The amount and type of financial support that will be provided to eligible, qualified MSMEs, both in the formal and informal sector, will vary depending on the size of the enterprise, their need, and repayment capacity.
The Nkosuo program will focus on supporting the following MSMEs and start-ups:
- MSMEs who need assistance to survive the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Businesses in growth sectors where the employment of young people, especially young women, are being significantly impacted by business operation disruptions, supply chain challenges, liquidity shortages, declining sales and profits, and business closures.
- Businesses providing services that have the potential to meet the growing demands of communities during and after the pandemic.
- Businesses that will focus on digitization to support MSMEs.
“COVID-19 has challenged the world’s economic system and every country has felt its brute force. In Ghana, the impact has included the closure of businesses, increased cost of production, and reduction of wages, and in some cases, loss of jobs. The biggest casualties are MSMEs, especially those in the informal sector, which constitutes about 80% of the productive sector of the Ghanaian economy,” said Deputy Minister of Trade and Industries, Robert Ahomka-Lindsey. “The government has responded with the introduction of an alleviation program for businesses, which has been hugely beneficial to the sector. The Nkosuo program will complement the government’s intervention and contribute to the collective effort to enable businesses, particularly MSMEs, to recover from the economic shock of the pandemic. We are grateful to the Mastercard Foundation for this timely partnership and program.”
The Nkosuo program complements existing programs targeting the sector and is completely different from the disbursement process of current government programs, including the Government of Ghana Coronavirus Alleviation and Revitalization of Enterprises (Ghana-CARES) Program, which focuses largely on developing sustainable MSMEs as a critical part of Ghana’s post COVID-19 recovery strategy.
“The Nkosuo program will be managed by NBSSI with the assistance of participating institutions, including banks, fintechs, and business development services. Eligible Ghanaian-owned MSMEs can apply for support online or directly from any of our 180 district offices across the country. The application process is free and transparent. Through Nkosuo, the Mastercard Foundation and NBSSI will help to accelerate the recovery process for thousands of MSMEs in Ghana,” said Mrs. Kosi Yankey-Ayeh, Executive Director of the NBSSI.
Mastercard Foundation’s Regional Head for Western, Central and Northern Africa, Nathalie Akon Gabala commented, “Enabling access to soft credit and business advisory services to MSMEs, especially those owned and managed by women and young people, is critical to building resilience and providing a pathway to economic recovery post COVID-19. The Nkosuo program enables us to directly impact the nerve centre of Ghana’s economy – MSMEs.”
The Nkosuo program will have a one-year moratorium and a two-year repayment period and will focus on supporting MSMEs and start-ups in sectors such as Agriculture and Agro-businesses, Water and Sanitation, Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals, Garment and Personal Protective Equipment, the Creative Arts Industry, Manufacturing, Food and Beverage among others.
To ensure accessibility and transparency of the registration and application process, NBSSI has made available an online application portal: www.nbssi.gov.gh/recoveryprogram for applications, starting 16th September, 2020.
Applicants can also call the Call Centre Helpline: 0302747777 or contact the nearest NBSSI Business Advisory Centre (BAC) within their district across the country.
The launch was also attended by representatives from Business and Trade Associations in the MSME sector.
About the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI)
NBSSI is the main governmental body under the Ministry of Trade and Industry, mandated to strengthen, grow and develop micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs)in Ghana. NBSSI has the largest footprint of any agency or organization in Ghana in its work with entrepreneurs and women led MSME development. It has a presence in the 16 regions and operates in 185 districts in Ghana. For more information about NBSSI, please visit our website and other media pages. http://www.nbssi.gov.gh. Follow the Board on Twitter at @NBSSI_Ghana, Facebook and Instagram NBSSI Ghana.
About Mastercard Foundation
The Mastercard Foundation works with visionary organizations to enable young people in Africa and in Indigenous communities in Canada to access dignified and fulfilling work. It is one of the largest, private foundations in the world with a mission to advance learning and promote financial inclusion to create an inclusive and equitable world. The Foundation was created by Mastercard in 2006 as an independent organization with its own Board of Directors and management. For more information on the Foundation, please visit: www.mastercardfdn.org
About the Mastercard Foundation COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Program
The Mastercard Foundation COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Program has two main goals. First, to deliver emergency support for health workers, first responders, and students. Second, to strengthen the diverse institutions that are the first line of defense against the social and economic aftermath of this disease. These include universities, financial services providers, businesses, technology start-ups, incubators, government agencies, youth organizations, and non-governmental organizations.
Mrs. Kosi A. Yankey-Ayeh
National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI)
+233 242 666 795
The Mastercard Foundation