The African Partner Pool (APP), Ghana’s first cross-sector online business directory that connects larger International and Ghanaian companies (buyers) to local businesses held a business forum on Wednesday, 22nd June 2016. The forum which was based on the theme, ‘The importance of insurance and credit reference reporting for your business’ growth”, took place at the College of Physicians and Surgeons.
APP is a subsidiary of Invest In Africa (IIA) an organization focused on delivering economic development, creating business opportunities and supporting job creation. They do this through the APP portal—www.africanpartnerpool.com—to simplify the local sourcing process by connecting independently validated Ghanaian SMEs with international and domestic companies and providing access to skills, markets, and finance.
In his opening address, Invest In Africa Ghana Manager, Sam Bradful said, “The African Partner Pool is at the core of IIA’s work in Ghana as it assists local suppliers to promote their businesses and increase their ability to tender more competitively.
“Furthermore, through a skills development initiative called the Business Linkage Program and funded by Invest in Africa’s Partners and the African Development Bank, SMEs will be assisted to access training and management support”, he continued.
He revealed that, since their last business and networking forum in November 2015, two more blue chip companies have joined Invest In Africa as local partners namely MODEC Ghana and Canon. “MODEC Ghana will shortly begin to post the tenders on the APP while Canon in conjunction with Invest In Africa is delivering a print excellent program for twenty printing companies on the APP”, he added.
Mr. Appia Kyei, Director of Exploration at Tullow Ghana Limited who stood in for Mr. Charles Darku the MD of Tullow Ghana as the guest of honor mentioned that “the areas of insurance and credit reference reporting have to be of concern to all businesses, especially SMEs”. He further urged the SMEs to take advantage of the products offered by companies in these areas.
He revealed that since the inception of APP, over half a billion dollars’ worth of business and tenders have been posted on APP’s online website. He, therefore, encouraged corporates and SMEs that are not yet members of APP to join. “The APP also offers SMEs the opportunity to participate in a four-million-dollar business linkage program that is funded by the African Development Bank and the Invest in Africa Partners,” Mr. Darku added.
He further revealed that the business linkage program offers one to one mentorship and technical support designed to turn local enterprises into growth-oriented businesses that meet international standards of goods and services delivery, of which sixty SMEs are beneficiaries.
He expressed the hope that the forum will help share with the suppliers and buyers’ critical insights into how SMEs working with larger corporates can benefit from the APP platform to grow their businesses and develop greater local participation.
The manager of African Partner Pool (APP) Ibrahima Aminu gave a presentation on the impact of APP to date. Mr. Aminu outlined some benefits of APP to companies. Some of the benefits he outlined are their ability to promote businesses to a range of International and domestic buyers across sectors and access tenders from multiple buyers across sectors.
Speaking on some of the current APP updates, Mr. Aminu revealed that, 1,335 suppliers are registered on the APP platform mostly SMEs, 212, tenders have been uploaded since they launched in October 2014, 83 tenders have been uploaded so far this year and their current total transactional value of tenders stands at 645 million dollars.
NEW BUYER UPDATES
Mr. Aminu further revealed that MODEC joined as a total partner in April 2016 thus, bringing their total number of partners and buyers to 15 which includes companies, organizations and trade associations such as Tullow oil, MODEC, Guinness Ghana Breweries Ltd, Ecobank, UT Bank, AGI, Newmont, and GIPC amongst others.
IMPACT OF WORK IN GHANA
Speaking on the impact of their work in Ghana, Mr. Aminu revealed that APP has trained 120 SMEs under its business linkage program. This is to provide capacity for local Ghanaian SMEs to improve on their skill set to enable them to take advantage of business opportunities and tenders in the near future.
He further revealed that APP has got about 1,200 suppliers across 20 sectors and 113 buyers transacting on the APP.
BUSINESS LINKAGE PROGRAM
Speaking on the business linkage program which is APP’s flagship capacity building exercise, Mr. Aminu also revealed that 60/120 SMEs have been trained so far in entrepreneurship. They’ve also done diagnostics for 23 SMEs already. He also pointed out that, one of the participants of the Canon Professional Printing Excellence program won a contract to print textbooks for the government of Ghana.
NEW APP DEVELOPMENTS
Buyers will now be able to filter to define the types of companies that can see or respond to their tender, based on years in business, experience, etc. Advertising for all buyers (4 slots available), membership certificate for all active suppliers and the provision of Trace anti-bribery and anti-corruption certification, which is a key component of business transactions with multinational companies.
As part of efforts to add value to SMEs on the APP, a panel discussion on the two business topics of insurance and credit reference reporting was conducted to help the SMEs have a better understanding of these two areas and how they can help business growth.
Report By: Desmond “Pappy” Tawiah, threesixtyGh Writer
Image Source: Clement Edward Kumsah