$2.8m allocated by the World Bank to the BDS Fund

This year, funds worth $2.8 million are granted by the World Bank, to the Business Development Service Fund (BDS). The amount will be distributed between the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) that will receive $1.5 million, and the Renewable Energy Sector under the Ghana Energy Development and Access Project (GEDAP), which will receive $1.3 million.

On Tuesday, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to distribute the grant was signed in Accra, in Ghana.

A0World Bank Group funds the MSME Project of the Ministry of Trade and Industry. The BDS Fund aims to support the MSMEs, by providing technical assistance that will improve their business operation.

The primary purpose of the Ghana Energy Development and Access Project (GEDAP) is to help the government make the electricity distribution system more efficient, so that more and more people would have an access to electricity. It also aims to cut-down the level of greenhouse emissions, thereby making Ghana a low-carbon economy. The World Bank will be providing the funds, while Triodos Facet and Ibis-Ghana that are  International NGOs will help in the distribution of funds to appropriate parties.

Mr. Bernard Coes, a Management Consultant, who signed the MoU on behalf of the World Bank, said the fund help provide employment to the citizens, thereby reducing the poverty level in the country. He said that the fund will also support people in the lower income brackets to be part of the social and economic network. He explained that the fund would provide matching grants to MSMEs which will help them increase their efficiency both at the national and the international level, cover a wider market, and get an easier access to loans from banks and other funding agencies.

Mr. Coes said, “Any privately-owned-profit-making enterprise and non-profit-organizations with commercial orientation that operates in the country are eligible to benefit from the BDS fund. Both locally owned and foreign-owned enterprises are equally eligible. Business and industry associations, consultancy organizations and training institutes are also eligible to apply.”

Mr. Eric Agyare, Representative of Association of Ghanaian Industries (AGI) and the Chamber of Commerce, who signed on behalf of the associations, said that the BDS should aim at supporting and promoting the struggling institutions, rather than funding the already well-established ones.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Agyare said, “I will plead with all agents to ensure the funds reach the beneficiaries on time. Grants received after long periods after applying for them are of no significance and would have been better not granted at all.”