A leading Scottish charity has met with Ghana’s High Commissioner in a bid to improve trade between the two countries. Challenges Worldwide, which is based in Edinburgh and runs a business consultancy programme in Ghana, says it is now working with the GHC to further develop business opportunities between Ghana and Scotland.
Delegates from the Ghana High Commission visited the new HQ of Challenges Worldwide in Edinburgh to find out more about the work the charity is doing to support businesses in Ghana. Neil Fleming, Director of Business Development said “It was great to get a chance to talk directly around all of our hard work in Ghana over the last three years and share with them some of our successes supporting businesses at the same time as showing off some of the great Ghanaian products that we have on display here.”
The delegation consisted of: High Commissioner, His Excellency Papa Owusu-Ankomah; George Blankson- Head of Welfare and Consular; William Osafo- Head of Education; Joyce Asamoah- Koranteng- Head of Political & Economic Affairs; Kofi Addo- Head of Trade and Investment; Dr. Charles Ayiku- Honorary Consul for Scotland; and Frazer Lang – Scotland Africa Business Exchange, who had set the visit up.
His Excellency Papa Owusu-Ankomah was thrilled to see the quality of the Ghanaian products (including bamboo bikes, Shea butter and handmade leather shoes) from the businesses Challenges have supported along with stories of the work of young Ghanaians that have taken part in a work placement with us to help the businesses while preparing for the next steps into a career.
Dr. Charles Ayiku- Honorary Consul for Scotland said “Your work, your enthusiasm and your interest in Ghana were all very much appreciated by the whole team. I was especially surprised to see the kind of work that you have been doing and the already set-up links that you have developed with Ghana.”
The development comes after Challenges helped Bamboo Bikes access new distributors in the UK for its pioneering and sustainable bicycles, which attracted worldwide media attention earlier this year after Boris Johnson and Ban Ki Moon were both photographed riding them. The charity said “It was a fantastic morning with all involved, we are very keen to highlight the opportunities that Ghana presents for Scotland and the UK. Challenges will be sourcing more products from Ghana which can then be on display in the High Commission in London.”
On the same day, The Challenges Ghana team were also invited to a reception with the UK High Commissioner in Ghana, Iain Walker, along with a number of delegates. Joining Challenges Ghana staff (Country Manager Simon Turner, Business Development Manager Joshua Amponsem, and ICS Programme Manager for Accra Prince Kelly Anyomitse) ,were two of our volunteer Business Support Associate Team Leaders, Cassie Mackenzie and Ropafadzo Rusere and Volunteer Business Support Associate, Celine Fleming, who were great ambassadors for the event as they shared their experience in working with local MSMEs with some key stakeholders at the reception. The High Commissioner was very enthusiastic about the work Challenges is doing in Ghana. He re-emphasised the value of working with SMEs and also mentioned: “trade between Britain and Ghana is a top priority of the two nation’s relationship.” He was excited to learn of the numerous outstanding SMEs in Ghana that has been part of the Challenges business growth support services.
The commissioner was also impressed to see how young people have been a driving force in the success of Challenges in Ghana. Simon Turner, Country Programme Manager for Challenges Ghana said: “This is a clear demonstration of our commitment to build the capacity of young people, increase their employability, and inspire them to be active citizens in driving change in their communities.” Similarly, Alan Rutt, the Country Director of the British Council was “most keen to discuss the work and to synergize with Challenges in maximizing impact on local businesses and entrepreneurs.”
Joining Challenges Ghana staff were three Volunteer Business Support Associates taking part in the UK Government funded International Citizen Service programme. Ropafadzo Rusere, Team Leader on the programme said “We had a great evening networking with fantastic organisations and spreading the word about what we do! Not only did we meet some inspiring people, but we also got to share our passion for developing young people’s skills, entrepreneurship, and economic empowerment through private sector development!”
In all, one thing that stood out in all conversations was the growing need to strengthen the capacity of local enterprises in Ghana to manage their businesses towards growth, and how Challenges Worldwide is at the forefront of this.