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27.05.2006 Business & Finance

Swiss to fuel SME growth in Ghana

By GNA

Accra, May 27, GNA - The Government of Switzerland on Friday affirmed its confidence in the Ghanaian economy by initiating financial package to fuel Small and Medium-scale Enterprises' (SMEs) access to capital and funding.

The two-year packaged includes; capacity building training, facilitating the enhancement and promulgation of strong financial regulatory and legal framework, and the creation of business development opportunities for local and foreign investment in leasing supply as well as encouraging new entrants into the leasing industry in the country.

Mr Philippe Sas, Counsellor and Economic Advisor of the Swiss Embassy in Ghana, told the Ghana News Agency in an interview in Accra that the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) would partner the International Finance Corporation (IFC) under the IFC's Private Enterprise Partnership for Africa (PEP Africa) programme for its implementation. PEP Africa, represents a significant scaling up in the depth of IFC's technical assistance and advisory work in Africa, seeks to provide innovative solutions for the development of Ghana's private sector.

Mr. Sas supported by Ms. Emeafa Hardcastle, Economic and Trade Officer of the Embassy explained that the package, also aimed at reducing poverty and fuel the growth of the private sector to support the Ghanaian government's Growth Pillar under the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS II) programme. He said the package would be officially launched through the Ghana Leasing Programme, on June 5 as part of the 10th African Leasing Convention scheduled for Accra, from June 5 to 9. He said the SECO/IFC PEP Africa project would also be used to promote Ghana as an investment destination and encouraged Swiss business to divert attention towards the country.

Mr Sas said SECO would also enhance Ghanaian SMEs capabilities to compete favourable in the global market. He commended the government on its financial sector reforms which according to him have enhance the reduction in prime rate, promulgation of the Venture Capital Act, the Banking Act and the universal banking licence. The 10th African Leasing Convention is expected to be attended by international leasing experts, and other senior executives in public and private sector institutions from more than 15 African countries. The Convention is being sponsored jointly by IFC through its Private Enterprise Partnership and African Leasing Association (Afrolease), while the Swiss Government through SECO is sponsoring the Ghana Leasing Programme.

The Convention would focus on; Leasing in Emerging Markets, IFC support for Leasing in Africa, the enabling regulatory framework for leasing development, leasing model law for Africa, banking leasing in emerging markets, accounting treatment for leasing transactions, mobilization funding for sustainable development activities and credit risk management for success. The training would focus on the significance of leasing, type of leasing, benefits of leasing, legal and tax practices, equipment acquisition process, lease verse purchase analysis, pricing and structuring, and portfolio management.

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