Business entities engaged in productive sectors within Ghana’s economy are qualified for partnerships with investors in the Diaspora, under the Bridge Investment Development (BID) program.
The Bridge Investment Development (BID) program, an initiative of the Inter-regional Bridge Group (IBG), is aimed at supporting growth and development within the country; and actively engaging the African Diaspora in the development of the country. The program promotes entrepreneurship and innovation among Ghanaians by utilizing Diaspora Coalitions, strategic networks and resources, all in a bid to bring about transformational development within various sectors of the nation’s economy. It facilitates the use of fixed capital, information and technical expertise through its pool of members to partner potentially merited Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs).
The World Bank’s recently launched initiative on Mobilizing the African Diapora for Development in support of the African Union (AU) called on the need for the “the Diaspora to build on ongoing efforts via a blended strategy of “virtual” participation; short, medium and long term placements; return and retention; and institutional partnerships and networks”.
The call by the World Bank supports the BID program, which utilizes existing multilateral relationships between African Diapora countries to jumpstart active participation in Ghana’s development.
Ghana has been selected as a Region of Focus (ROF) for this program based on available conditions in the country which are paramount in successful project implementation. These conditions include economic stability, strong potential growth in exports and capital investment, ability to sustain business networks and strategic coalitions. Research conducted by the Inter-regional Bridge Group (IBG) into market opportunities across various sectors of the economy puts
Ghana ahead as a safe investment zone with tremendous opportunities for growth in projects, contracts and procurement.
The BID program also covers individuals with expertise in viable sectors of the economy through collaboration and knowledge sharing with other investors to grow their businesses. IBG exploits innovative and gainful projects; combining research findings and member assessment to initiate projects via the collaborative efforts of Private Sector Development (OPSD) under umbrella banking institutions.
As part of the program, IBG would provide advanced capacity building skills for local businesses within the country. This would enable local businesses acquire the relevant expertise that would ensure successful international partnerships.
Recent research published by the Centre for the Study of Financial Innovation (CSFI) in the Banana Skins report suggests vibrancy in the micro-finance sector with strong fundamentals and a solid, reliable and growing client base, in spite of inherent risks in rising non-performing loans, shortages of liquidity and funding.
“Remaining focused on longer term issues of strong management, governance and asset liability management capacity remains crucial for the future”, says Elizabeth Littlefield, Chief Executive Officer of the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor sponsors of the research.
To meet this future requirement, custom financing solutions that range from basic collateral to sophisticated capital incubator financing would be made available for local businesses as part of the BID program. Drawing from its expertise in contract management services; facilitation of procurement initiatives, business relationship management and project implementation services, IBG seeks to create strategic partnerships with Small to Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) within the productive sectors and Diaspora investors. The combination of these comprehensive management services would play a significant role in meeting the various needs under the program.
This is expected to solve problems of inadequate funding for projects, informational gaps, reduce the high cost and risk associated with doing business as well as meet the growing demand for project implementation capacities. The program seeks to add value to businesses using knowledge, technical expertise,
capital, transparency and accountability as keystones towards sustainable development within the country.
Chief Project Coordinator for IBG, Ato Kwame Bonnie explains that the business model under the SME partnership and funding stake “incorporates a strategy that measures the needs analysis of an SME business to the return expectations of the pool of members. We understand the need to balance risk and opportunity, which is why the BID program identifies itself with the appropriate crop of SMEs”, he adds.
“Our interactive website, www.interregionalbg.com includes standards-based web resources designed to provide information and enhance communication among our stakeholders. It provides an avenue for local businessmen to be a part of the program by exploring a collection of interactive resources”.
Mr. Bonnie believes “the BID program presents a unique platform for Ghanaians to respond to President Obama’s call for a responsibility that can only be met by Africans, one that would solidify Africa-Diaspora partnerships in building Africa’s capacity for transformational change”.
Investment projects under the Bridge Investment Development (BID) program are categorised under the variable tenure series which spans 12 to 36 months and the fixed tenure series which usually runs for 36-60 months.