First Lady Mrs. Rebecca Akufo-Addo has appealed to Ghanaian women to take advantage of the numerous opportunities available under the industrialisation agenda of the government to better their lots.
She said it was important for the women to benefit from the various initiatives, including the Planting for Food and Jobs programme, and become entrepreneurs so they could fend for their children.
Speaking in Accra, at a fundraising gala night aimed at mobilising funds to support physically challenged women in business, Mrs Akufo-Addo also emphasised that vulnerable people should be supported so they could also contribute their quota to the economy.
The event was organised by the Ministry of Business Development as part of efforts towards raising four million cedis over the next two years to support about 1,000 physically challenged women in business across the country.
Mrs Akufo-Addo commended efforts of the Government through the Business Development Ministry, civil society groups and all entities committed to the entrepreneurial advancement of disabled women in business.
She said supporting disabled women in business was key towards the achievement of inclusive and sustainable national economic growth.
“It is also important that the Ghana Association of Women Entrepreneurs and other business associations promoting women entrepreneurship, intensify advocacy activities to improve the lot of our Ghanaian women”, the First Lady stated.
Recounting some interventions by the Ministry of Business Development, already underway to support women entrepreneurs, Mrs. Akufo-Addo said, “I recall the National Conference on Women Entrepreneurs, organised earlier this year; the Capacity Building Seminar, on Financial Inclusion for Women Entrepreneurs and the Health Walk, which took place, during the celebration of the National Entrepreneurship Month”.
“His Excellency the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, is very passionate about creating an entrepreneurial culture in Ghana, which will make Ghana the most business-friendly country in Africa,” she stated.
“I am convinced that the hard-working women of this country, will be playing a very important role in the achievement of this laudable vision, even as we progress towards a “Ghana Beyond Aid,” she said.
Mrs Akufo-Addo said women accounted for more than 50 per cent of Ghana’s population while about 80 per cent of them were engaged in various economic activities, predominantly in the informal micro to medium scale agriculture, manufacturing and services sectors of the economy.
It is also worth noting that, despite the many challenges faced by women, there are more women entrepreneurs and women-run businesses than those managed by men, she said.
She emphasised that women contributed to the global economy, with innovative products and services that were transforming lives and creating jobs and wealth in communities.
She, therefore, indicated her satisfaction that under the Presidential Business Support Programme of the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme, of the Ministry of Business Development, 58 per cent of the 1,350 beneficiaries, who received financial support, were businesses owned by women.
Mrs Akufo-Addo, however, noted that there were situations, which limited the capabilities of women and made it extremely difficult for women’s enterprises to flourish.
She also expressed worry over how women with disabilities, in particular, suffered discrimination and violations of their basic human rights in all facets of life, resulting many having limited access to education, health care, decision-making, and employment opportunities, thus aggravating their conditions of poverty.
“It is for this reason that I consider today’s fundraising event very important, in supporting our disabled women in business, towards the achievement of inclusive and sustainable economic growth in Ghana,” she stated.
Dr Mohammed Ibrahim Awal, Minister of Business Development, said there was the need to involve women in all endeavours of national development and that was so central to the Government.
“We think that our physically challenged women can do it given the opportunity,” Dr Awal said.
He said already some individuals and entities had committed various amount of money towards the Fund, which would be used as development Fund.
A Board to be inaugurated early next year would determine the disbursement criteria.
Ms Cynthia Morrison, Minister of Gender, Children and Social Development, urged society to help support all efforts at bringing hope to people with disabilities, especially women, so they become more productive citizens.