By Lucy Nwachukwu
The African Business Venture and Investment Group ( ABVIG) has called for establishment of a regional fund to support Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the West African region.
Mr Moses Owharo, Chairman Planning Committee of the 2018 West Africa Infrastructure, Energy, Mining, Trade Exhibition and Investment (WAIEMTI) made the call at a media briefing in Abuja on Wednesday.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the briefing was to herald the forthcoming WAIEMTI summit scheduled to hold between Aug. 28 and Aug. 31 in Accra, Ghana.
Owharo said the fund when established would also help to eliminate illegal miners in the region as the miners would be supported to improve on their businesses.
According to Owharo, small scale miners and other small business owners in the region have viable projects but do not have the seed money or fund to standardise their businesses.
“After seeing this challenge, the group through WAIEMTI is looking at establishing a regional fund to ensure SMEs are able to access funds to execute their various projects.
“We have informed the Afrexim Bank, the ECOWAS Bank and some other stakeholders on this matter. I am sure at the summit we should be able to concretise on this.
“A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) will be signed and a committee comprising the financial institutions, technical experts who are fund managers and consultants will collaborate to manage the funds.
“So, we are asking for a seed fund, because if we are able to set up the seed funding then there will be international contributions.’’
Owharo said the fund would also help to resolve the challenge of insecurity and illegal mining businesses on the continent.
He said the Kano State Government would participate and co-sponsor the event and stakeholders would consider the possibility of organising the next summit in Kano.
In his remarks, Dr Fonma Usoroh, Former Head of Economic and Politics, Nigeria High Commission, Ghana, urged Nigerians to ensure full participation at the 2018 WAIEMTI summit in Ghana.
Usoroh said it was important for Nigerians to fully participate at the summit because Nigerian products capture the Ghana market.
According to him, about 80 per cent of products sold in Ghana is from Nigeria and the summit will further encourage trade between both countries.
Also speaking, Mr Olu Omusuyi, the Economic Consultant to ABVIG, said the summit would create an avenue for investors within the African continent to come together and deliberate on the way forward.
Omusuyi said it was important for Nigeria not to be left behind in the discussions on how to create and improve small businesses on the continent.
He said the summit would also create an avenue to discuss the challenge and policy surrounding the recent issue of the Nigerian traders in the Ghana market.
NAN reports that the objective of the summit is to bring relevant stakeholders including key government functionaries, industrial players and investors together.
It aims at providing an avenue for the various stakeholders to deliberate on investment challenges and the way forward for increasing job creation and economic prosperity in the West Africa region.
The summit also provides a platform for public and private sector players to interact, exchange in-depth knowledge, review success stories and explore new targets among others. (NAN)