AngloGold Ashanti Obuasi Mine in collaboration with Absa Bank Ghana and MasterCard Foundation, and in consultation with the Obuasi Municipal and Obuasi East District Assemblies on Thursday, 14th September, 2023 signed a Memorandum of Understanding, to support Small and Medium-sized enterprises development in Obuasi.
The MOU will see AngloGold Ashanti and Absa Bank in particular, team up to undertake four critical projects that will ultimately assist SMEs within AGA's operational area to expand their businesses, bolster employment and wean the economy of Obuasi off the Mine.
Throwing more light on the details of the partnership, the Senior Manager Sustainability of AngloGold Ashanti Emmanuel Baidoo said the partnership to boost businesses in Obuasi was birthed as a result of the commitment AGA has made in its 10-year SEDP which has an overall goal to contribute to building resilient and socio-economically self-sustaining communities in Obuasi.
" About 2 years ago, we established the Obuasi Enterprise and Skills Development Center which has so far trained more than 2000 SMEs in the Obuasi Mine's operational area. We are leaving no stone unturned in our quest to continue to support businesses here."
Mr. Baidoo again stressed that key to the 10-year SEDP was building strong partnerships. He said the partnership with Absa Bank Ghana will see both organizations drawing on their collective strengths to deliver the needed change expected in the economy of Obuasi.
The four projects underlying the MOU include; Business Acceleration and Sustainability Project, Women in E- Commerce Project, Business Supply Chain Development Project and the Artisans to Entrepreneurs Project. The Senior Manager Sustainability said through the projects, Absa Bank and AngloGold Ashanti will proveide SMEs with the necessary resources and support to accelerate the growth of their businesses, including access to finance and markets, knowledge of the digital economy and an upskill of technical and vocational artisan skills.
Audrey Abakah, the Director, SME Agency Banking & Partnerships ,Absa Bank Ghana said the partnership with AngloGold Ashanti presents an opportunity to extend its reach and impact, fostering economic resilience, business sustainability and job creation in Obuasi.
She said as part of Absa Bank's commitment, they will engage the services of a consultant who will train SMEs on business formalization, product standardization and e-commerce.
Again, she revealed that Absa Bank will arrange business exposure tours for a minimum of 150 SMEs and connect them to successful businesses for best practice learning, they will support up to 50 SMEs and more with financing to undertake contracts duly awarded to them by AngloGold Ashanti and its subsidiaries.
On their quest to support women in business, Madam Abakah said a minimum of 20 women Entrepreneurs will be trained and supported to set up e-commerce platforms using IT resources provided by AngloGold Ashanti.
Okofo Kwabena Bonsu I, Dompoasehene who chaired the ocassion and officially launched the project appealed to businesses in Obuasi and within AngloGold Ashanti's operational area to take advantage of the initiative by AngloGold Ashanti and Absa by fully participating in it.
He said the long term survival of Obuasi depends on how the economy will be diversified to wean itself of the Obuasi Mine.
He commended AngloGold Ashanti for rolling out plethora of programs and projects intended to diversify and sustain the economy of Obuasi beyond the Mine.
Business owners who witnessed the launch of the program and the signing of the MOU were upbeat about the prospect of business in Obuasi leveraging on the business related programs introduced by AngloGold Ashanti.